Continuing Education

December 2008

Introduction | Who the Continuing Education Requirement Applies To | Dates and Amounts of Continuing Education | Continuing Education Courses and Sponsors | Recordkeeping and Reporting | Options Available | Contact Information | NYSED Approved Sponsors of Continuing Education for Pharmacists

Introduction

Education Law requires that registered pharmacists complete continuing education. A minimum of 45 contact hours (at least 23 live) is required in each three-year registration period. As of September 1, 2003, the 45 hours required must include at least 3 credits (home study or live) of formal continuing education on strategies and techniques to reduce medication and prescription errors.

Effective August 1, 2007, a section of Education Law was amended in relation to the mandatory continuing education requirement. The amendment eliminated the exemption from the continuing education requirement for newly licensed pharmacists during their first triennial registration period. Therefore, all pharmacists licensed on or after August 1, 2007, must meet the CE requirement during their first and future registration periods.

The laws that apply to the continuing education requirements for pharmacists are found in Article 137 of New York's Education Law.

The New York State Board of Pharmacy does NOT receive notification from sponsors of the continuing education courses that you complete.

Who the Continuing Education Requirement Applies To

  1. Who is required to complete continuing education?

    Every pharmacist wishing to practice in New York State must complete continuing education. The Education Department assumes that you intend to practice if you are registered. Therefore, if you are registered, you must comply with these requirements. Failure to complete the required continuing education prior to the expiration of a registration period may subject you to prosecution for professional misconduct.

  2. I am newly licensed in NY and am in my first three-year registration period. Do I need to begin taking continuing education immediately?

    Yes. Pharmacists licensed on or after August 1, 2007 are required to complete 45 contact hours (23 live) during their first three-year registration period. The 45 credits must include at least 3 credits (home study or live) on techniques to reduce medication and prescription errors. The continuing education must be in appropriate subject areas and offered by approved sponsors.

  3. My initial license as a pharmacist was issued by New York State prior to August 1, 2007 and I am in my first three-year registration period and thought I was exempt from the continuing education requirement for the first three years. Am I now required to complete continuing education credits during my first three-year registration?

    No. If your initial license was issued by New York State prior to August 1, 2007, you are exempt from meeting the continuing education requirement during your first three-year registration.

  4. Prior to August 1, 2007, I was licensed as a pharmacist in New York State by endorsement of my license from another state and I am currently in my first three-year registration period. Do I need to meet the continuing education requirement during my first three-year registration?

    Yes. Pharmacists licensed in New York by endorsement of a pharmacist license from another state, are required to complete 45 contact hours (23 live) during their first three-year registration period and all subsequent registration periods. The 45 credits must include at least 3 credits (home study or live) on techniques to reduce medication and prescription errors. The continuing education must be in appropriate subject areas and offered by approved sponsors.

  5. I was practicing in another jurisdiction and just received my first New York State license and registration. Do I need to begin taking continuing education immediately?

    Yes. You must complete the required continuing education during this and all subsequent registration periods.

  6. I am licensed in New York State but not registered and am practicing in another jurisdiction. Do I need to complete continuing education before I can reactivate my registration in New York?

    Yes. To reactivate your registration in New York, you will need 45 contact hours (at least 23 live) of acceptable continuing education courses. The 45 credits must include at least 3 credits (home study or live) on techniques to reduce medication and prescription errors. The continuing education must be in appropriate subject areas and offered by approved sponsors. Since you are actively practicing, you will be able to count continuing education credits earned up to 36 months prior to the month in which you reactivate your registration.

  7. I am licensed in New York State but not registered and have not been practicing my profession. Do I need to complete continuing education before I can reactivate my registration in New York?

    Yes. To reactivate your registration in New York, you will need 45 contact hours (at least 23 live) of acceptable continuing education courses. The 45 credits must include at least 3 credits (home study or live) on techniques to reduce medication and prescription errors. The continuing education must be in appropriate subject areas and offered by approved sponsors. Since you are not actively practicing, you will only be able to count continuing education credits earned up to 12 months prior to the month in which you reactivate your registration.


Dates and Amounts of Continuing Education

  1. How many hours are required?

    A minimum of 45 hours is required for every three-year registration period. The majority (at least 23) of the hours must be from live courses. As part of the 45 hours, pharmacists are required to complete at least 3 hours (home study or live) of formal continuing education on strategies and techniques to reduce medication and prescription errors.

    If your registration period is for less than 3 years (36 months), your continuing education requirement is calculated at 1.25 hours for every month of the registration period. In all cases, more than half of the hours must be live credits. The 3 credits (home study or live) on techniques to reduce medication and prescription errors are required for every registration period.

  2. If I complete more hours than required during the registration period, can I use them toward the hours required in my next registration period?

    No. Credits cannot be carried over from one registration period to the next. Continuing education hours required in a registration period must be completed between the beginning and ending dates of that registration period. You can take additional courses beyond those required; however, the additional hours cannot be stored, carried forward or applied to a future registration period.

  3. Am I required to complete a certain amount of continuing education each year?

    No. There is no minimum annual requirement. You can complete the continuing education hours any time during the registration period as long as you have completed the required amount prior to the expiration date of your registration. We recommend, however, that you complete courses on a regular basis to avoid finding yourself deficient in the hours needed at the end of your registration period.

  4. Must I spread continuing education courses evenly over my registration period?

    No. You may complete the entire amount of continuing education at any time during your registration period. There is no minimum annual requirement.

  5. What is an hour of continuing education?

    An hour is one contact hour of at least 50 minutes duration. Some course providers may express continuing education hours in different units of measurement: One continuing education unit (CEU) equals 10 contact hours. To convert CEU's to contact hours, multiply the CEU's by 10. To convert contact hours to CEU's, divide the contact hours by ten.

    One semester hour of college-level course work equals 15 contact hours; one quarter hour of college-level course work equals 10 contact hours.


Continuing Education Courses and Sponsors

  1. What types of continuing education are acceptable?

    Formal courses in appropriate subjects offered by approved sponsors (providers). Both formal self-study courses and formal courses in which you interact with an instructor are acceptable. Self-study courses must constitute less than one-half of the total hours (a maximum of 22 contact hours out of 45).

  2. What are "appropriate subjects" for continuing education?

    Courses must contribute to the professional practice of pharmacy. Acceptable subjects include:

    • techniques to reduce medication and prescription errors (mandatory 3 credits)
    • pharmacology of new or developing drugs,
    • drug interactions,
    • public health issues,
    • infection control,
    • child abuse reporting,
    • sterile procedures,
    • legal and regulatory issues,
    • patient counseling,
    • other topics that contribute to the professional practice of pharmacy, and
    • other matters of health care, law, and ethics that contribute to the public's health and welfare.

    The key is the subject matter's relationship to professional practice. Therefore, courses in such subjects as HIV/AIDS management are acceptable. Practice management and business management courses, (e.g., supervision, increasing profits, accounting, statistics, etc.) are NOT acceptable.

  3. Are Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits from courses approved by the American Medical Association (AMA) acceptable toward my continuing education requirement as a pharmacist?

    Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses relevant to the professional practice of pharmacy, such as courses in the pharmacology of new drugs, are acceptable; courses not related to pharmacy practice (e.g., surgery) are not acceptable. The CME certificate issued for completing an AMA program would serve as proof for recordkeeping purposes. We suggest that you also keep a copy of the program outline and objectives as documentation that the course was relevant pharmacy practice.

  4. Are Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) courses acceptable continuing education?

    Continuing education credit for completing ONE of these courses per registration period is allowed. The CPR, BLS, ACLS or EMT course must be sponsored by the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, American Safety and Health Institute or the National Safety Council to be acceptable toward the continuing education requirement for pharmacists. (Note: Similar courses offered online are NOT acceptable; First Aid courses are NOT acceptable as credit.)

    • You may count an initial CPR course for up to five hours of continuing education; a CPR recertification course is worth up to three hours.
    • An initial BLS course can be used for up to five hours of continuing education; BLS recertification is worth up to three hours.
    • An initial ACLS course is eligible for up to twelve hours and ACLS recertification is worth up to six hours.
    • An initial EMT Basic course can count for up to ten hours and EMT Basic recertification for up to five hours of continuing education.
    • The card that is issued upon completion of an approved CPR, BLS, ACLS or EMT course should be retained as proof for continuing education credit.

  5. May I count toward my requirement the 20-credit continuing education course I completed to become a certified pharmacist to administer certain immunization agents?

    Yes. Pharmacists who complete the American Pharmacists Association's (APhA) Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery 20-credit Certificate Program may use those credits toward their continuing education requirement.

  6. May I count toward my requirement a continuing education course that I teach?

    Yes. You may count once during a registration period the hours in a continuing education course you teach that an approved sponsor offers in an acceptable subject area.

  7. Who are approved providers?

    There are three types of approved sponsors (providers):

    1. Sponsors approved by the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE) or by an equivalent organization that the State Board of Pharmacy determines to have equivalent standards (e.g., sponsors of continuing medical education). ACPE publishes an annual directory of "Approved Providers of Continuing Pharmaceutical Education." It is available from the Council at 311 West Superior Street, Suite 512, Chicago, IL 60610; telephone 312-664-3575; fax 312-664-4652; web listing: www.acpe-accredit.org External Link Icon, click on "Provider Approval Program," then "Accredited Providers."
    2. Colleges, universities, and other degree-granting institutions offering degree (e.g., A.A.S., B.S., M.S., Pharm.D., Ph.D.) and certificate and diploma programs bearing degree credit that are registered by the Education Department or that are accredited by an equivalent accrediting agency, for courses in those registered or accredited programs. The State Education Department has an "Institutional Directory" listing all degree-granting institutions in the State. Contact the Office of Higher Education, State Education Department, Education Building, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234; phone 518-474-5851, or find it on SED's Web site at www.highered.nysed.gov/Quality_Assurance/directory/index.html.
    3. Sponsors approved directly by the Department. For information on sponsors approved directly by the Department, call 518-474-3817, ext. 130 or fax 518-473-6995, or see the list below.

  8. May I simply study on my own rather than take a formal live or self-study course?

    No. Only formal courses offered by approved sponsors may be counted toward the continuing education requirement. Informal group "study clubs" of pharmacists that are not approved sponsors are NOT acceptable. Formal courses from approved sponsors assure course content, effective evaluation, and recordkeeping by the provider.

  9. Am I required to take self-study courses?

    No. All of the courses may be "live" courses in which you interact with an instructor, if you wish.

  10. Are "live" courses limited to those in which I'm in the same room with the instructor?

    No. We consider a telecourse or teleconference in which you and the instructor can speak directly with each other to be a "live" course. Similarly, a course in which you and other practitioners discuss a taped presentation with a facilitator's assistance is a live course. A course offered by computer in which you interact directly with the instructor in "real time" is a "live" course. On the other hand, a televised lecture with no means of direct interaction would not be acceptable as a "live" course, even if it is a live telecast.


Recordkeeping and Reporting

  1. Who is responsible for maintaining records of my CE credits?

    Pharmacists are required to maintain, or ensure access by the Department to, their own continuing education records for a period of six years from the program date. The New York State Board of Pharmacy is NOT notified by the sponsors of the continuing education courses that you complete.

  2. What records will I have to keep?

    You need to keep the following five items of information on each course for six years from the date you completed it: (1) title of the course or program and any identification number assigned to it by the sponsor, (2) number of hours completed, (3) the sponsor's name and any identifying number, (4) verification by the sponsor of your attendance, and (5) the date and location of the program or course. All five elements are likely to be provided on a certificate of completion from the sponsor.

  3. What will I have to file?

    You will report your compliance with the continuing education requirements when you renew your registration. You will certify, under penalty of perjury, the completion of the required hours within the registration period, and submit your required fee (the renewal fee includes the continuing education fee of $45 as set forth in Education Law).

  4. Do I have to file copies of my records of continuing education?

    Only if you are instructed to do so. You are required to make your continuing education records available for inspection by the Education Department upon request. Random audits of such records are conducted to assure compliance with the continuing education requirement.

  5. What will I have to provide in an audit of my continuing education records?

    You will have to provide to the Department copies of your original records of completion for each continuing education course. An official list/summary of your courses provided by a professional association such as PSSNY may be submitted in lieu of the certificates.

  6. What will happen if a continuing education audit reveals discrepancies?

    You may be subject to disciplinary proceedings for professional misconduct. According to Section 29.1 of the Rules of the Board of Regents, willfully making or filing a false report is unprofessional conduct. Penalties may include censure and reprimand, fine, and/or suspension or revocation of your license to practice in New York State.


Options Available

  1. Are there any exceptions to the continuing education requirement?

    The Department may grant an adjustment (not an exemption) to the requirement for poor health, certified by a physician; a specific physical or mental disability, certified by an appropriate health care professional; extended duty with the armed forces; or for extreme hardship which, in the Department's judgment, makes it impossible for the licensee to comply. To make such a request, complete and submit the Registration Remittance Addendum ( PDF 23 KB).

  2. What if I fail to complete the required number of hours during a registration period?

    A licensee who admits to noncompliance with the continuing education requirements when registering may request and may be granted a one-year conditional registration by the Education Department. Conditional registrations are not automatic and cannot be renewed or extended. Conditional registrations have specific requirements including your agreement to: (1) complete the hours required of your previous registration, (2) complete the regular continuing education requirement at a rate of 1.25 contact hours per month during the conditional registration period, (3) complete additional continuing education which the Department may require to ensure the proper delivery of pharmaceutical care consistent with your practice of pharmacy, (4) pay the regular registration fee indicated on your registration form, (5) complete and submit the Registration Remittance Addendum ( PDF 23 KB), and (6) at the end of the conditional registration, provide proof of course completion and pay an additional registration fee equal to the fee paid when the conditional was requested.

  3. What if I do not meet the continuing education requirement and simply do not renew my registration?

    This is acceptable as long as you are not practicing your profession in New York State. Your status will remain "not registered" until you meet the continuing education requirement and submit a registration renewal application with the appropriate fee. If you practice your profession while unregistered or after the Department has denied renewal of your registration for failure to report completion of the required contact hours of continuing education, you are subject to disciplinary proceedings for professional misconduct.


Contact Information

  1. Who should I contact if I have questions on the continuing education requirement?

    Contact the Office of the State Board of Pharmacy, New York State Education Department, 89 Washington Avenue, 2nd floor West Wing, Albany, NY 12234-1000, phone 518-474-3817, ext. 130, fax 518-473-6995, or email pharmbd@nysed.gov.

    For current information on continuing education and any changes in the continuing education requirements, check this site.


NYSED Approved Sponsors of Continuing Education for Pharmacists

North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System
1979 Marcus Ave. Suite E-124
Lake Success, NY 11042
Approved through 2/15

Pharmacy Education Unlimited
PO Box 383
Columbus, OH 43216
Telephone 937-309-5066
www.pharmacyeducationunlimited.com
Approved through 1/15

Rochester General Health System
Pharmacy Department
1425 Portland Avenue
Rochester, NY 14621
Telephone 585-922-5728
Approved through 10/16

Westchester Medical Center
100 Woods Rd. LLG 09
Valhalla, NY 100334
Approved through 11/14

Last Updated: April 9, 2014