In Alberta, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are granted the privilege of self-regulation and professional autonomy through the Health Professions Act. As a regulated health professional, it means that
- You have met the educational requirements and have demonstrated the entry-to-practice competencies.
- You are legally responsible and accountable for your work.
- You are directly responsible to the public and your health care colleagues for maintaining your professional competence.
Patients have a right to assume that a healthcare professional’s practice permit is assurance of current professional competence. Healthcare colleagues want assurance that those with whom they practise are current and competent. For these reasons, the Health Professions Act requires that Council establish a Continuing Competence Program to ensure health professionals fulfil their professional responsibility of maintaining competence.
All clinical pharmacists and pharmacy technicians must
- complete at least 15 CEUs during each CE cycle,
- record all learning on one or more learning records.
- implement at least 1.0 CEU worth of learning into your practice and document this on an implementation record, and
- complete any required learning that has been assigned by the competence committee.
A professional portfolio consists of the learning records, the implementation record, and supporting documentation that verify a registrant’s participation and completion of program activities. Your professional portfolio must be submitted annually to ACP for each continuing education (CE) cycle. For help with submitting your professional portfolio, please refer to the Guide to submitting your professional portfolio.
All pharmacists on the clinical register and all pharmacy technicians must complete and submit a professional portfolio to ACP to be eligible to renew their practice permit for the following registration year. Registrants must complete a professional portfolio each CE cycle and must submit to ACP via the CCP portal.
Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians may access the CCP portal at any time during the CE cycle to work on their professional portfolio. When you have completed all the CCP requirements, and the college has enabled the submit button in the CCP portal, you may submit your professional portfolio. The submit button is only active during the online registration renewal period (i.e., end of April for pharmacists and end of October for pharmacy technicians).
The progress indicator on the CCP portal home page lists the three components of the competence program:
- self-assessment/prescribed activities,
- learning records, and
- implementation records.
Once you have met a component’s requirements, a checkmark should appear next to its title. You may need to log out and log back into the portal again in order for the checkmark to appear. Each component’s requirements are
- Self-assessment/prescribed activities.
- Complete the prescribed activity assigned by the competence committee.
- Learning records.
- Complete a minimum of 15 CEUs within the current CE cycle and document your learning on one or more learning records.
- You must answer questions one through seven in the learning record for the record to be marked as complete.
- Implementation records.
- Select one completed implementation record for submission.
- Your implementation record must be directly related to at least 1.0 CEU you completed during the current CE cycle.
- Upload one piece of documentation that provides evidence of your implementation.
- You must answer questions one through eight in the implementation record for the record to be marked as complete.
- Select one completed implementation record for submission.
If you do not complete all requirements by the renewal date, you may not renew your practice permit. You will be directed to call the ACP registration department for further instructions.
Although the self-assessment tools are optional, unless otherwise directed by the competence committee, we encourage all registrants to complete an annual self-assessment.
The self-assessment section of the CCP portal contains many tools that can help you identify your learning needs, relevant implementation objectives, and plan accordingly. ACP does NOT monitor or track your self-assessment results.
Yes, registrants on the associate register will have access to the Continuing Competence Program through the CCP portal. Registrants on the associate register can complete and submit a professional portfolio voluntarily each CE cycle. Completing a professional portfolio annually will prove beneficial if a registrant decides to return to an active status.
No. All pharmacists and pharmacy technicians must complete and submit a professional portfolio to ACP to be eligible to renew their practice permit for the following registration year. The Continuing Competence Program was designed to be applicable to registrants practising in different environments, including registrants who are not in direct patient care.
No. All pharmacists and pharmacy technicians must complete and submit a professional portfolio to ACP to be eligible to renew their practice permit for the following registration year. If you maintain your practice permit, you are responsible for maintaining your competence. Even outside of practice, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians should be able to meet the CCP requirements.
If you feel that you cannot complete the requirements of the Continuing Competence Program and are NOT currently practising in Alberta, you may choose to go to the associate register. Please note that when you move into the associate register, you are NOT permitted to practise as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician and no fees will be refunded. When you are ready to return to practice, you would have to reinstate as a clinical pharmacist or pharmacy technician and complete requirements per the reinstatement policies.
Pharmacists who register for the first time in Alberta between January 1 and June 30 do not have to complete the Continuing Competence Program before renewing their practice permit for the upcoming registration year (July 1 – June 30).
Pharmacy technicians who register for the first time in Alberta between July 1 and December 31 do not have to complete the Continuing Competence Program before renewing their practice permit for the upcoming registration year (January 1 – December 31).
You will have access to the program through the CCP portal prior to your renewal; however, any activities/records completed prior to the start of the next CE cycle will be for your own personal development and may not be used towards the next CE cycle.
When you renew your practice permit in the following registration year, you are required to complete and submit a professional portfolio to ACP. All activities included in this submitted portfolio must be completed during the corresponding CE cycle (i.e., June 1-May 31 for pharmacists; December 1-November 30 for pharmacy technicians).
No, all CEUs must be claimed and documented on learning records for a current CE cycle.
You only need to upload one piece of documentation that provides evidence of your implementation. Select the documentation that you believe best showcases that you’ve achieved your implementation objective. Ensure that the evidence uploaded directly relates to your implementation objective. Depending on your objective, this evidence may be a patient’s record of care (ensure all patient-identifying information is removed), the revised policies or procedures, or the presentation or resource you’ve developed.
Your implementation must
- directly involve the application of at least 1.0 CEU;
- relate to one of the pharmacy domains (pharmacy practice, medical/medication/device knowledge, or systems-based practice);
- result in one of the following outcomes:
- improvement to your practice or organization;
- transfer of knowledge, skill, or ability to others;
- verification of your competence by one of your peers (for pharmacy technicians only);
- affect another individual (e.g., a patient, a coworker, another healthcare professional); and
- produce evidence of implementation.
Although your documents (e.g., certificates of course completion, evidence) are uploaded into the CCP portal, you are still required to keep them for two years in case the college requires hard copies.
For pharmacists, you could
- incorporate a new step/tool into your care process;
- manage drug therapies and complete care plans;
- implement a new/revised policy, procedure, or program; or
- execute a health promotional activity or educational session.
For pharmacy technicians, you could
- collaborate with the pharmacist to support patient care;
- develop, implement, or evaluate a policy, procedure, tool, or program;
- contribute to a health promotional activity and/or educate a patient or another health care professional; or
- perform a new/reinforced skill or technique and demonstrate competence to a peer.
One hour of non-accredited learning is equivalent to 1.0 CEU. You may claim to the nearest quarter of an hour for the time spent on a non-accredited learning activity. Since you may only claim up to 8.0 CEUs of non-accredited learning per learning record, you may need to document your learning on two or more learning records if your non-accredited activity is more than eight hours.
Every year, a percentage of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, as determined by Council, will be selected to have their professional portfolios audited. Your portfolio may be selected for an audit as a result of any of the following:
- random selection,
- a late or incomplete submission, or
- a request of the registrar as a result of concerns received about your practice.
If the deficiency is determined to be minor in nature, you will be placed in Category 2, which means you will receive feedback on how to improve your professional portfolio and you will automatically be audited in the following CE cycle.
If your professional portfolio has significant gaps, errors, or omissions, your case will be referred to the competence committee and they will determine which category you will be placed in for the following CE cycle.
- Category 3 requires you to complete additional mandatory activities.
- Category 4 requires you to complete a competence assessment within the timelines prescribed by the competence committee.
Because you submit all your information when you submit your portfolio, you will not be notified until the audit has been completed. When the audit is complete, you will receive a letter indicating whether your portfolio has met the established standard. If you have achieved the established standard, you are placed in Category 1 which means no further action is required and you are to continue your activities within the current CE cycle.
The CE cycle is when you are required to complete the Continuing Competence Program requirements. The cycle coincides with your registration renewal deadline.
- For pharmacists, the CE cycle starts June 1 of any year and ends May 31 of the following year.
- For pharmacy technicians, the CE cycle starts December 1 of any year and ends November 30 of the following year.
We encourage you to start this annual learning process early and complete a learning record right after you complete an activity.
If selected, your portfolio will go through an administrative audit. Your implementation record will be peer assessed by two pharmacists for pharmacists and two pharmacy technicians for pharmacy technicians. All assessors will be trained in assessment. The peer assessment is a criterion-based assessment (i.e., based on established criteria). This means the assessment will be as objective and fair as possible.
Basically, one hour of learning is equivalent to 1.0 CEU. You may claim to the nearest quarter of an hour for the time spent on a learning activity.
- For an accredited activity, the number of CEUs is determined by the accrediting body.
- For a non-accredited activity, the number of CEUs is equivalent to the amount of time you spend completing the learning activity.
Yes, all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are required to complete the Continuing Competence Program each year. However, registrants who have been randomly selected for an audit and achieved the established standard within the last five years and pharmacists who have been granted additional prescribing authorization within the last five years will not be selected for a random audit. The portfolios for these registrants will only be selected for an audit if there is another reason such as a late or incomplete submission or a request from the registrar.
You may find accredited programs by visiting the CCCEP or ACPE websites. Alternatively, you may find potential accredited programs or events directly on the website of organizations that offer accredited programs, such as the following:
- Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA);
- Alberta Pharmacists’ Association (RxA);
- Pharmacy Technician Society of Alberta (PTSA);
- Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP);
- Canadian Healthcare Network;
- HealtheLearning, Pear Healthcare Solutions Inc.;
- Teva Pharmacy Solutions; and
- Pharmacist’s Letter/Pharmacy Technician’s Letter.
No, there is no minimum requirement for accredited CEUs. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians may complete any combination of accredited or non-accredited learning activities to a minimum of 15 CEUs each CE cycle.
The college will determine if the discrepancy is simply incorrect recording or a lack of understanding of the Continuing Competence Program. If it is, we will help you correct the problems.
However, under the Health Professions Act, "the competence committee, registration committee or registrar must make a referral to the complaints director if, on the basis of information obtained from a practice visit or continuing competence program, the competence committee, registration committee or registrar is of the opinion that a regulated member has intentionally provided false or misleading information." (s. 51.1(1))
After completing a learning activity, you are required to reflect and document your completed learning activity on a learning record. You must complete a learning record for each learning activity, regardless of whether it is accredited or non-accredited.
By reflecting on what you’ve learned, it should help reinforce your learning. The learning record was designed to be easy to complete and we recommend that you fill out a record soon after completing a learning activity.
For non-accredited learning activities, you may only claim up to 8.0 CEUs per learning record. If you’ve spent more than eight hours completing a non-accredited activity, you may document your activity over multiple learning records.
Accredited learning includes any learning activity that has been accredited for pharmacists and/or pharmacy technicians by a recognized accrediting body. These programs or learning activities have gone through an accreditation review process to ensure that it
- has current, evidence-based, and unbiased content;
- Is relevant to pharmacists and/or pharmacy technicians; and
- provides a quality learning experience.
ACP recognizes the following accrediting bodies:
- the Canadian Council on Continuing Education in Pharmacy (CCCEP), and
- the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).*
* ACPE’s “0.1 CEU” is equivalent to “1.0 CEU” in the Continuing Competence Program.
Every CE cycle, the competence committee may prescribe additional learning activities that you must complete in order to submit your professional portfolio. The prescribed learning is available in the CCP portal under the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activity section. You may complete a learning record for completing the prescribed activity; however, it is not required unless directed otherwise. The portal will keep track of whether you have completed the prescribed activity. We recommend that you read communications from ACP to stay up-to-date on the program’s requirements.
Non-accredited learning includes any learning activity related to pharmacy practice that has NOT been accredited by CCCEP or ACPE, or the accreditation has expired. Some examples are
- online programs, courses (e.g., PharmD course), or presentations that have not gone through the accreditation process or the accreditation has expired;
- structured learning activities accredited for another health professional (e.g., programs that have been accredited for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and physicians); and
- informal, independent learning activities such as reading, research, or discussing practice issues with colleagues (e.g., journal club, in-services).
No, you may only add and complete records that correspond to your current CE cycle. If you wish to prepare for a future implementation, consider using the implementation objective planning tool available in the self-assessment section of the portal.
First Aid and CPR can be claimed as non-accredited learning. You can maximize your CEUs by completing more than one learning record. For example, you might do one learning record for the First Aid portion and another for the CPR portion, allowing you to claim up to 16 non-accredited CEUs.
Yes, you may claim learning activities from any country if they are relevant to your pharmacy practice.
Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can access all program materials through the CCP portal. You will fill out all forms, upload documents, and compile a portfolio of your learning in your own secure online repository.
The Continuing Competence Program was designed to be applicable to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians practising in different environments, including those who are not in direct patient care. Registrants should be able to meet the requirements of the program even outside of clinical practice or during a maternity leave. What you choose to learn and implement should be based on your personal and professional learning and practice needs.
For registrants who are not in direct patient care, possible outcomes from your implementation may be
- a transfer of knowledge, skill, or ability to others (e.g., execute a health promotional activity or educational session); or
- an improvement to your organization and/or the way care is delivered (e.g., implement or propose a new or revised policy, procedure, program, or tool).
To determine what you can implement, it may help to consider the following:
- What are your learning and practice needs?
- Who can you transfer knowledge to?
- How can you affect changes in practice?
If you do not have access to patients, potential audiences for your implementation may be the people you work with, other healthcare professionals, or perhaps the general public.
No. For an accredited course, you may combine all the learning activities represented on the course certificate and document on one learning record. For non-accredited courses, you must document each learning activity individually. You may document a maximum of eight non-accredited CEUs on one learning record. If a non-accredited course is more than eight CEUs, you must document your learning over two or more learning records.
No, what you choose to implement does not have to be directly related to your current practice. In the Continuing Competence Program, the term “practice” refers to the overall practice of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. What you choose to implement could be related to your current practice, your future practice, or your overall professional practice. We recommend that you implement something that is meaningful, relevant, and beneficial to you and/or the people around you.
Learning records are designed to help you reflect on your learning activity. To facilitate more meaningful reflection of a non-accredited learning activity, ACP has set a limit of eight hours of non-accredited learning per learning record. Since the learning record requires you to identify the competencies, results, key elements, and impact associated with a learning activity, it may be easiest to record separate topics on separate learning records.
This is a continuing competence program and we encourage you to continuously build upon your knowledge and skills. You may implement learning that was completed in a previous CE cycle; however, your implementation still needs to be tied to one CEU worth of learning completed during the current CE cycle. Therefore, if you choose to implement learning that was completed in a previous CE cycle, you just need to complete one more CEU in the current CE cycle that is related to your objective.