Kristal Cortez

Overlook’s Pharmacy Technician School Becomes First to be Accredited in NJ

Atlantic Health System’s pharmacy technician school, based at Overlook Medical Center, has become the first and only technician program in New Jersey to be accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).

The program, which received ASHP/ACPE’s maximum six-year accreditation, is part of a larger effort by Atlantic Health System to offer its team members opportunities to develop their careers through training needed for highly in-demand positions such as pharmacy technicians.

Launched in Fall 2021, the roughly 14-week “pharm tech” program is currently in its 3rd class (cohort) and has had six students complete the program. Following the graduation of the first cohort in January 2022, ASHP and ACPE were able to visit Overlook to observe the program to evaluate it for accreditation.

The program is open to Atlantic Health System team members with high school diplomas or the equivalent, currently serving in other occupations who may be seeking different careers with the potential for growth. The organization is seeking to ultimately open the program to applicants outside of Atlantic Health System.

“As more healthcare workers pursue paths to become pharmacy technicians, this accreditation gives those who graduate our program added credibility as they enter this competitive field,” said Agnieszka Pasternak, PharmD, MBA, manager for pharmacy services at Overlook.

Pharmacy technicians, who work with pharmacists to dispense medication to patients or other clinicians, have become an in-demand field in part due to growing numbers of older people who typically use more prescription medications, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which estimated that demand for the job is projected to grow 5 percent from 2021 to 2031. As pharmacists take on more patient-care activities, pharmacy technicians will be needed to take on a greater role in pharmacy operations that were previously done by pharmacists, according to the government bureau.

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