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Sanford Health Pharmacy Technician University

If you are interested in helping people through a career in healthcare but are unsure about the years of higher education often required to attain one, you might want to consider becoming a pharmacy technician. In this role, you’ll assist pharmacists by dispensing prescriptions, managing inventory and completing other administrative tasks. Skilled pharmacy technicians are critical for the economic and efficient function of a pharmacy. However, training requirements for pharmacy technicians frequently change and are becoming more complex, creating a shortage of qualified pharmacy technicians.

Program Description (ASHP Accreditation: Candidate)

Sanford Health Pharmacy Technician University (PTU) is a program available at Sanford Medical Center Fargo that adheres to the pharmacy laws and regulations unique to the state of North Dakota. Sanford Health PTU is a formal sponsored program to prepare current and aspiring pharmacy technicians with standardized training that meets state requirements to practice as a pharmacy technician. The program is designed to train pharmacy technicians to better support pharmacists, to improve patient safety, reduce medication errors, and improve efficiency in the pharmacy, as well as helping pharmacies meet regulatory and training requirements. Sanford Health PTU graduates are well trained to meet high quality performance standards and are prepared to pass state and national certification exams.

Program Objectives

  • Differentiate between duties allowed and not allowed of a pharmacy technician
  • Communicate effectively with patients and other healthcare professionals
  • Practice within the scope of practice of a pharmacy technician
  • Translate medical terminology and sig codes
  • Calculate drug dosages, concentrations, quantities, and days’ supply
  • Prepare prescriptions and medication orders
  • Practice billing procedures for medications and supplies
  • Demonstrate inventory policies and procedures
  • Identify basic structure and function for various body systems
  • Classify different pharmacologic classes of medications
  • Assist the pharmacist in medication therapy management and health and wellness programs
  • Perform point-of-care tests
  • Practice medication reconciliation
  • Prepare unit-dose orders and products for med carts
  • Prepare sterile and non-sterile compounding procedures
  • Explain compounding procedures for chemotherapy agents

Program Cost

Tuition for Sanford Health PTU is provided at no cost to Sanford employees. State licensing fees and national exam fees are not covered by Sanford Health.

Prospects for Employment and Salary Expectations

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for pharmacy technicians is expected to grow by 4% from 2019 to 2029, as fast as the average for all occupations. This rapid growth rate is driven largely by major advances in pharmaceutical research to develop more prescription medications, along with the growing population of elderly patients needing more prescription drugs. Pharmacy technician roles have also expanded in recent years in daily pharmacy operations as pharmacists continue to perform more patient care activities, thus raising the demand for qualified pharmacy technicians. Job prospects should be excellent for pharmacy technicians, particularly those with formal training and those with experience in retail and inpatient settings.

Summary Facts: Pharmacy Technician
2019 Median Pay $33,950 per year ($16.32 per hour)
Typical Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Moderate-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2019 422,300
Job Outlook, 2019-29 4% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2019-2029 15,200
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Pharmacy Technicians, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm (accessed September 20, 2020).

Pre-Enrollment Program Requirements

All applicants are required to successfully complete and pass the pre-enrollment program before they may be considered for enrollment in the Sanford Health PTU technician training program.

  • Statement of Attestation for the following policy and information documents
    • Admissions Policy
    • Dismissal Policy
    • Leave of Absence Policy
    • Information Regarding National and State Licensure and Registration
    • Purpose of Training, Prospects for Employment, and Salary Expectations
  • Mathematics Proficiency Exam (must score a minimum of 70% or better in 3 attempts or less)
  • English Language Proficiency Exam (must score a minimum of 70% or better in 3 attempts or less)

Qualifications to Enroll in Sanford Health PTU

It is our goal for each student to succeed throughout the training program and into their career. To ensure the success of our students, they must meet the following minimum qualifications to enroll in the program:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Possess a high school diploma or the equivalent
  • Become registered as a pharmacy technician in training with the North Dakota Board of Pharmacy before beginning training and employment in the pharmacy
  • Have English language and math proficiency sufficient to fulfill the requirements of the pharmacy technician job responsibilities, demonstrated by passing the reading comprehension and math assessments in three attempts or less.
    • A virtual or onsite interview of the candidate must take place in order to complete enrollment
  • Pass a screening pertaining to any illicit drug use and a criminal record background check
  • Comply with immunization requirements of experiential sites and employers
  • Meet state-specific age requirements for employment of pharmacy technicians
  • Meet state-specific requirements as regulated by the State Board of Pharmacy
  • Successful completion of a health assessment demonstrating that you are capable of performing the essential functions of your employment, with or without a reasonable accommodation
  • A registered pharmacy technician in training in North Dakota will have 2 years to complete Sanford provided (or equivalent) education and obtain national certification known as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). Failure to obtain national certification within 2 years of registering as a technician in training will result in termination of position.

Dismissal Policy

  • Failure to maintain licensure
  • Failure to follow Sanford employee relation policies including, but not limited to, attendance and work performance
  • Student Code of Conduct: Subject to the severity of the violation or repeated/multiple occurrences, the program director maintains the right to discipline a student in violation of Sanford Health PTU policies up to and including dismissal from the training program.
  • Student Academic Integrity: The value of academic integrity is priceless and the training program sets the highest standards for students to maintain the value of education. The goal is to prepare students to become productive pharmacy technicians in the workforce and professionals in the community. Subject to the severity of the violation or repeated/multiple occurrences, academic dishonesty may result in a written warning or the dismissal from the training program.
  • Academic Progress: Each student must complete the full training program (didactic, laboratory, and experiential) within the time frame allowed by the North Dakota Board of Pharmacy. The Program Director will review the student’s progress to determine which skills or areas of learning should be remediated and if the student will remain in the training program.

Graduate Performance on National Exams

Sanford Health PTU graduates have a 75% pass rate on PTCE, which is above the national average pass rate of 72% in 2020.

About Sanford

  • Sanford is an EEO/AA Employer M/F/Disability/Vet
  • If you are an individual with a disability and would like to request an accommodation for help with your online application, please call 1-877-673-0854 or send an email to talent@sanfordhealth.org
  • Sanford Health has a Drug Free Workplace Policy. An accepted offer will require a drug screen and pre-employment background screening as a condition of employment

Questions about the technician training program? Contact Dacotah Yokom, PharmD, at Dacotah.Yokom@sanfordhealth.org