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California State Board of Pharmacy

Frequently Asked Questions – Continuing Education (CE)

Can the Board provide/recommend a list of CE course providers?

The Board does not maintain a database of CE providers/courses and can’t make any recommendations.

CE approved under California Code of Regulations (CCR) section 1732.05 and CCR 1732.2 can be accepted for California pharmacist renewal CE credit. The course brochure should clearly state the accreditation/approval (per CCR 1732.1(f)).  (see pharmacy lawbook here: https://pharmacy.ca.gov/laws_regs/lawbook.pdf)

CE accredited by the ACPE or the CPhA is considered acceptable per CCR 1732.05.  Additionally, “… coursework which meets the standard of relevance to pharmacy practice and has been approved for continuing education by the Medical Board of California, California Board of Podiatric Medicine, the Dental Board of California, and the California Board of Registered Nursing shall, upon satisfactory completion, be considered approved continuing education for pharmacists.” (CCR 1732.2(b))

 

What are the CE requirements for a Pharmacy Technician (TCH) to renew their license?

The Board doesn’t currently require CE for TCH renewals. Regulation only requires CE for the renewal of pharmacist (RPH) and advanced practice pharmacist (APH) licenses.

If you hold a CPhT certificate, you should contact the issuing organization (PTCB or NHA) regarding their recertification requirements.

 

What are the CE requirements for a Pharmacist (RPH) to renew their license?

California-registered pharmacists must complete at least 30 hours of CE in the two years preceding their expiration date, including one hour of law CE and one hour of ethics CE taken directly from the Board. No third-party coursework is currently authorized to meet the law and ethics requirement.

Information regarding the law and ethics requirement and links to each webinar can be found here:
https://www.pharmacy.ca.gov/licensees/webinars/law_and_ethics.shtml

Pharmacists must keep a record of the 30 hours (including the two hours of California-Board-issued law and ethics) for at least four years, and must show that documentation if the Board requests it.

The pharmacist renewal CE requirements are found in Business and Professions Code (BPC) sections 4231-4234, and CCR section 1732:
https://www.pharmacy.ca.gov/laws_regs/lawbook.pdf

For reference, there is currently no requirement for pharmacists to complete “live” CE hours.

 

Do I need to submit my CE documents with my renewal?

No. You will only need to provide CE documents with your renewal if you are changing your license status from “inactive” to “active.”  Please note, you must complete the 30 hours of CE prior to submitting your renewal application. If the Board chooses to audit your CE compliance, staff will send a letter to your address of record requesting your documentation.

 

I need to complete 30 hours of CE during my renewal period.  What exactly is my renewal period?

A renewal period is the two years preceding an expiration date.  For example, if your license expiration date is June 30, 2025, your two-year renewal period is July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2025.

 

What can happen to my pharmacist license if I am audited and can’t provide evidence I completed 30 hours of CE?

An audit or investigation which reveals less than 30 hours of CE  completed during a renewal period can result in the issuance of a ciatation with or without a fine, depending on the number of hours actually completed. 

Business and Professions Code section 4231 also provides the Board shall cancel an active pharmacist license and issue an inactive pharmacist license in its place if a pharmacist fails to provide documentation of any CE completed.  Many times this scenario occurs because the pharmacist failed to update their address and did not receive notice of the Board’s CE audit.  A change of address form can be completed here: https://www.dca.ca.gov/webapps/pharmacy/address_change.php.

 

I completed my CE, but the Board’s website says I have inadequate CE. It shows in my CPE Monitor. What’s wrong? Can’t you see it in the system?

Your license was held because you failed to indicate the number of CE hours completed on your renewal application. Please be aware that you may continue to work with that hold in place, up unitil your license’s expiration date.

In order to clear that hold, you must complete a new renewal application indicating the number of CE hours completed (https://www.pharmacy.ca.gov/licensees/personal/personal_lic.shtml), and submit it to the attention of the renewal cashier via mail, fax, or email ( renewalstatus@dca.ca.gov). A new fee is not required.

Once Board staff updates your license, the new information will show online the next day.

Please note that the Board does not  access any electronic reporting systems to verify your CE. If the Board chooses to review your CE compliance, staff will send a letter to your address of record requesting your documentation.

 

Can I carry over “extra” CE in one renewal period to apply to the next renewal period?

No. Any additional hours above the 30 required for renewal cannot be “carried over” to the next renewal period. CE hours earned can only be applied toward the specific two-year renewal period ending on the license’s expiration date. The very next calendar day after an expiration date represents the first day of a new renewal period, and the count of CE earned toward renewal begins again at zero.

 

Do I need to submit my CE documents to the CPE Monitor in order to renew?

You are not required to submit CE to the CPE Monitor. It is not a Board system and its use is not mandated by pharmacy law. Rather, it is a NABP system that hosts ACPE-approved CE coursework. The Board does not access the CPE Monitor to review CE compliance.

Regulation only requires that you maintain valid documentation of your coursework (defined in CCR 1732.1(c)), for at least four years from the date you complete the course (CCR 1732.5).

 

Can I get an extension on my CE if I can’t get it done on time?

No. There is no provision in pharmacy law for a CE extension.  Your options are to complete the CE on time, or to change your license status to “inactive.” You may place your license on inactive status by making a request in writing to the Board’s renewal cashier (renewalstatus@dca.ca.gov).

You can only actively practice if you’ve completed the required CE on time. If you choose to place your license on inactive status, you will not be able to practice pharmacy until you have submitted the required 30 hours of CE, including two hours of Board-provided law and ethics, in the preceding two years along with a renewal fee and form. If you fail to complete 30 hours of CE before your license’s expiration date, and you are actively practicing pharmacy during that timeframe, you may be subject to enforcement action by the Board’s Enforcement Unit, if audited.

 

Are there any specific subjects I need to include when I complete my CE, or can I just complete 30 hours of whatever I want?

California-registered pharmacists must complete one hour of law CE and one hour of ethics CE taken directly from the Board. No third-party coursework is currently authorized to meet the law and ethics requirement.

Information regarding the law and ethics requirement and links to each webinar can be found here:
https://www.pharmacy.ca.gov/licensees/webinars/law_and_ethics.shtml

Otherwise, there is no requirement that CE be completed in any specific field or subject.

 

Will Board-issued CE programs and/or webinars appear in my CPE Monitor?

No.  CE provided directly by the Board for its own CE activities and events will not be uploaded to the CPE Monitor system. The Board does not upload information or otherwise access the CPE Monitor for any reason.  Additionally, the Board is not an ACPE-accredited provider of CE; only ACPE-accredited CE is shown in the CPE Monitor system hosted by NABP.

Please note that use of the CPE Monitor is not mandated by California pharmacy law. Documentation (paper or electronic) directly generated from a course provider that meets the requirements of CCR section 1732.1(c) can be accepted to document completion of CE credit. This generally means documentation that is given by the course provider in the form of a Completion Certificate or Statement of Credit. Please note that you are required, per CCR 1732.5(c), to maintain these records for at least four years from the date you complete the course.

 

Are CME credits from AMA PRA Category 1 Credit accepted for pharmacist license renewal in California?

Yes. AMA PRA Category 1 CME is approved by the Medical Board of California, California Board of Podiatric Medicine, and the California Board of Registered Nursing for CE credit. Per CCR 1732.2(b) and 1732.3(e), CE approved by those Boards, as well as the Dental Board of California, is considered acceptable for pharmacist renewal CE requirements. Licensees must be prepared to provide the Board with documentation that shows the details necessary to verify the courses in case they are selected for a random audit.

 

What do I need to do for my Advanced Practice Pharmacist (APH) CE?

In order to renew your APH license, you must complete an additional 10 CE hours during each renewal period (BPC 4211, BPC 4233). The regulation regarding the content of the APH CE hours requires that the subject matter must be relevant to an APH’s clinical practice, but is not specific about the content beyond that.

For examples of relevant APH CE subject areas, you might want to review the tasks outlined in BPC 4052.6, CCR 1730.2(b), or the examples of areas of practice in BPC 4210(a)(2)(A).  You must be able to differenciate between your 30 CE hours for your RPH renewal and your 10 CE hours for your APH renewal. To help identify APH CE hours, simply make notes to keep with those specific documents in case the Board wants to review them for an audit or investigation. 

Please note that you are not required to complete CE for the first renewal of your APH certification. After that, the CE for your RPH and APH renewals are on the same schedule.

 

Did the Board receive proof of my completion of the Law and/or Ethics Webinar(s)?  Can you send a new completion certificate to me?

The Board receives an internal report with the information you provided at the beginning of the webinar (name, RPH license number and e-mail) and the date and time the webinar was completed; however, due to search constraints for webinars that might have occurred years ago, the Board recommends retaining the completion certificates for your records.

If you have trouble generating a completion certificate or enter incorrect information on it, just make a note of the webinar you completed and the date. In the event of a CE audit, information you provided can be cross-referenced against the Board’s records for verification.

The Board does not issue completion certificates and cannot provide a replacement if yours is lost.

 

CCR Section 1746 protocols: Do I need to be certified to furnish emergency contraception/smoking cessation/naloxone/immunizations/travel meds/etc? What kind of training do I need? Do I need to do CE for that too?

Please note that the Board does not maintain a database of courses that meet the initial training and continuing education requirements of these protocols. CE courses pursuant to the initial training and continuing education requirements of these protocols should provide the specified subject matter and be approved or accredited by the authorities listed in CCR 1732.05 and 1732.2(b).

If you are practicing under one of the protocols listed in CCR section 1746.4 or 1745.5, you are required to keep documentation of your initial training, BLS certification and continuing education coursework requirements on site at your workplace, and available for inspection. If you are practicing under one of the other protocols listed in CCR section 1746, the Board recommends you keep any documentation of initial training and CE on site at your workplace and available for inspection with other protocol-specific records.

While the coursework completed for initial training and continuing education for these protocols is not specifically required as a condition of renewal, you must complete it on schedule as specified in the requirements of each of the protocols under which you practice.

 

Emergency Contraception

BPC 4052.3(b)(2), CCR 1746(b)(10)

Initial training (before you begin): (b)(10) minimum 1 hr of approved CE (provider accredited/approved under CCR 1732.05 or 1732.2(b)) specific to emergency contraception drug therapy

Continuing education: N/A

 

Furnishing Self-Administered Hormonal Contraception

CCR 1746.1(b)(12)

Initial training (before you begin): -1 hr of approved CE program (provider accredited/approved under CCR 1732.05 or 1732.2(b)) specific to self-administered hormonal contraception, application of the USMEC, and other CDC guidance on contractption
OR
-Equivalent curriculum-based training program completed on or after the year 2014, in an accredited California school of pharmacy.

Continuing education: N/A

 

Smoking Cessation/Nicotine Replacement

BPC 4052.9(a)(3) and (4), CCR Section 1746.2(b)(8)

Initial training (before you begin):
-2 hrs of approved CE (provider accredited/approved under CCR 1732.05 or 1732.2(b)) specific to smoking cessation therapy and nicotine replacement therapy
OR
-Equivalent curriculum-based training program completed within the last two years in an accredited California school of pharmacy.

**Continuing education (every two years):
Under BPC 4052.9(a(4), 1 hour of CE is required biennially.
Be sure that documentation for the course can show the following:

  1. The regulation requires that the course content is specific to “smoking cessation therapy.”
  2. The regulation also requires that it’s from an approved provider (accredited/approved under CCR 1732.05 or 1732.2(b))

 

Immunization

BPC 4052.8(b), CCR 1746.4(b) and (c)

Initial training (before you begin):
**(b) maintain all initial training documentation on site and available for inspection by the Board
(b)(1) completion of immunization training program endorsed by the CDC or ACPE that, at a minimum, includes hands-on injection technique, clinical evaluation of indications and contraindications of vaccines, and the recognition and treatment of emergency reactions to vaccines
(b)(2) BLS certification

**Continuing education (complete every two years, maintain records for at least four years from the date of completion):
(c) 1 hr CE focused on immunizations and vaccines, and maintain current BLS certification as in 1746.4(b), from an approved provider (accredited/approved under CCR 1732.05 or 1732.2(b)) every two years

 

Naloxone

BPC 4052.01(c), CCR 1746.3(b)

Initial training (before you begin):
(b) 1 hr approved CE program (providers as specified in CCR 1732.05 and CCR 1732.2(b)), or equivalent curriculum-based training program, from a Board-recognized school of pharmacy.

Continuing education: N/A

 

Travel Medications

CCR 1746.5(c) and (d)

Initial training (before you begin):
**(c) maintain all initial training documentation on site and available for inspection by the Board
(c)(1) Immunization program (BPC 4052.8(b), CCR 1746.4(b))
(c)(2) Travel medicine training program consisting of at least 10 hours of training and cover each element of the International Society of Travel Medicine's Body of Knowledge for the Practice of Travel Medicine
(c)(3) CDC Yellow Fever Vaccine Course
(c)(4) current BLS certification

**Continuing education (complete every two years, maintain records for at least four years from the date of completion):
(d) 2 hrs CE in travel meds, separate from immunization CE, and Maintain BLS certification as in 1746.5(c)(4), from an approved provider (accredited/approved under CCR 1732.05 or 1732.2(b)) every two years

 

If you plan to practice under the travel medications protocol, you must complete the initial training requirements. If you completed those requirements in a previous renewal period, you must complete the continuing education requirements every two years as a condition of continuing to practice under that protocol, and you must have records of meeting both the initial training and continuing education requirements, available for inspection in your workplace.

If you have completed any initial training and continuing education requirements to practice under a CCR 1746-1746.5 protocol, and that coursework meets the requirements in CCR 1732.05 or 1732.2, you may also count those hours toward your CE requirement for the renewal period within which the coursework was completed.

Please note that the number of hours of CE you’ve already completed toward your renewal requirements (per CCR section 1732.5) has no bearing on whether you are subject to the initial training and continuing education requirements in CCR 1746-1746.5. If you are practicing under that protocol, you must complete the initial training and continuing education requirements as applicable, even if it provides more CE hours than required for your renewal.

For reference, additional hours above the 30 required for renewal by CCR section 1732.5 cannot be counted toward a later renewal period as though they were “unused.” CE hours earned can only be applied toward a specific two-year renewal period ending on the license’s expiration date. The very next calendar day after an expiration date represents the first day of a new renewal period, and the count of CE earned toward renewal begins at zero again.

 

For reference, the Board provides a table of the initial training and continuing education requirements for the protocols in CCR sections 1746.1-1746.4, here:
https://www.pharmacy.ca.gov/licensees/personal/training_required.pdf

Please direct questions related to practicing under the pharmacist protocols in CCR 1746 to the following email address for follow-up with an inspector: Ask.Inspector@dca.ca.gov.