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Sterile compounding is the method of preparing custom medications for patients in a sterile environment to prevent contamination and ensure patient safety. Not all pharmacies offer this service, but those that do are called compounding pharmacies. In order to be able to provide sterile compounding as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician, there’s some specialized training needed to get started. Here’s what you should know.
Custom medications are often needed for patients who have allergies, are receiving chemotherapy, or need a specialized dosage of a drug. Like traditional pharmacy work, this involves compounding – or mixing the necessary ingredients – to create needed medication. In sterile compounding, you follow the same processes but in a clean space that is specifically reserved for custom medications. This includes using special equipment, protective gear, and following strict sanitation guidelines.
In order to prepare custom medications, from ointments to oral doses, a doctor will generally consult the pharmacist about the patient’s particular needs. From there, the pharmacist will recommend a compound and, if they work in a compounding pharmacy, direct technicians in fulfilling the medication request. If the pharmacy is a smaller one, the order for custom medication will be sent to a compounding facility in the area to be filled and then either delivered to the requesting pharmacy or sent directly to the patient.
As a specialized skillset, working in sterile compounding requires a little more education than your standard pharmacy technician. The first step is earning your credentials as a certified pharmacy technician. After completing an accredited training program and sitting for an industry recognized certification exam, adding a certificate in sterile compounding can help you prepare to take the next steps toward a career with a compounding pharmacy.
Those with sterile compounding skills can find work in other facilities where compounding is offered, such as hospitals, clinics, and mail pharmacies.
Ready to take your career as a pharmacy technician to the next level? Our in-depth, online Sterile Compounding Career Certificate covers the foundational skills that can help you strengthen your pharmacy knowledge, including common compounding calculations, pediatric preparation, and more. Start learning new skills and strengthen your current ones today! Reach out to an Admissions Advisor to get started at .