Advancing a Pharmacy Career | N M PharmD | RxEconsult

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5 Ways to Advance your Pharmacy Career Category: Pharmacy by - June 25, 2012 | Views: 19540 | Likes: 2 | Comment: 0  

Career Growth

With increased competition and saturation of the job market, there has never been a better time for pharmacists to equip themselves with additional experience in order to land the career of their dreams. Fortunately career options have been growing and encompass a wider spectrum than before. Many options are available for experienced pharmacists or recent pharmacy graduates. Pharmacy students should be aware of these opportunities as they plan their pharmacy careers. Below are five main avenues to look into based on your interest and needs.

1. Residency

This may be an option if you wish to pursue education beyond your pharmacy license. The first year of residency is considered post-graduate year 1 (PGY1). A second year of specialized residency(PGY2)is also available to applicants after completion of the first year.

There are three areas of PGY1 recognized by the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists. The areas consist of pharmacy practice residency, community pharmacy residency, and managed care pharmacy residency. General qualifications for acceptance include recent graduation from an ACPE accredited college of pharmacy, eligibility for licensure in the state of desired residency, and good academic standing.

ASHP recognizes several specialties for PGY2. The specialties consist of managed care pharmacy systems, health administration pharmacy, ambulatory, cardiology, critical Care, drug information, emergency medicine, geriatric, HIV, infectious disease, internal medicine, medication use safety, nephrology, nuclear, nutrition support, oncology, and pain management.

Any applicant interested in obtaining a PGY1 or PGY2 pharmacy residency position that is offered through the matching process must register and participate in the Matching Program. Please also refer to the Online Residency Directory.

2. Fellowship

When applying for jobs, a fellowship might be just what you need to give you an edge over other applicants and expand your options. In some cases a fellowship will enable you to surpass the requirement of having years of on-job experience. Fellowships are comparable to residencies; they both enable you to develop your professional skills while also obtaining more specialty-based training.

Fellowship types typically include but are not limited to clinical pharmacology, global pharmaceutical sciences, pharmaceutical development, medical affairs, clinical research, and medical communications. Many fellowships are made available through industry partnerships (for example with Allergan or Bristol Myers Squib).

A comprehensive list of available fellowships across the nation is available through the American College of Clinical Pharmacy.

3. Board Certification

Board certification is yet another way to enhance your PharmD. Obtaining board certification is an additional way to advance in a specific area of practice. If criteria is met, certification will also include an exam of the specific area of interest. Here is a non-comprehensive list of board certifications.

  • Certified Diabetic Educator (CDE)

A Certified Diabetes Educator is a healthcare professional with experience in diabetes management who helps manage patients with diabetes. The certification exam for CDEs is intended solely for healthcare professionals that have responsibilities which include direct provision of diabetes self management education (DSME). Please refer to National Certification Board for Diabetic Educators for more information.

  • Certified Asthma Educator (CAE)

The National Asthma Educator Certification Board promotes optimal asthma management and support for individuals with asthma. The NAECB exam is voluntary and is used to assess the healthcare professional’s knowledge in asthma.

  • Certified Anticoagulation Care Provider (CACP)

National Certification Board for Anticoagulation Providers supports optimal care for patients receiving anticoagulant therapy. The required examination for certification is a means of evaluating the healthcare provider’s knowledge in managing anticoagulation therapy.

  • Board of Pharmacy Specialty (BPS)

Board of Pharmacy Specialty Certification includes: nutrition support (BCNSP), nuclear pharmacy (BCNP), oncology (BCOP), pharmacotherapy (BCPS), and psychiatry (BCPP)

The Board of Pharmacy Specialties enables pharmacists to obtain a form of standard identification and recognition of their pharmacy specialty. Board Certification is based upon evaluation and examination of skills.

  • Certification in Geriatric Pharmacy (CGP)

The Certified Geriatric Pharmacist credential is ideal for pharmacists interested in providing consulting pharmacy services or MTM services, particularly to the elderly. The CGP provides recognition to pharmacists who have expertise in drug therapy for older adults. Please refer to the Commission for Certification in Geriatric Pharmacy for more information.

4. Master's Degrees

The most common dual degrees for pharmacists are Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Public Health (MPH), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD), and Master of Science (MS).

University of California, University of Southern California, University of Arizona, University of Maryland, University of Florida, and Howard University are a few of the many schools across the nation that offer dual degrees. For current pharmacy students whose schools do not offer dual degrees, online masters programs may also be viable options. Dual degrees enable pharmacists to combine clinical training and experience with research, business, policy, or legal training.

5. Other

Additional opportunities are available to those interested in education and leadership.


  • AACP Academic Leadership Fellows Program:

Academic Leadership Fellows Program (ALFP) is a year long experience consisting of four sessions spread throughout the year. The program includes leadership development, team building legislative/public policy, and peer assessment.

  • ACCP Academy of Leadership and Management:

This is an educational program that focuses on leadership and management abilities. The goal of this program is to integrate leadership strategies into pharmacy practice. Please refer to Academy of Leadership and Management for additional information.

  • APhA Foundation’s Advanced Practice Institute (API)

APhA's API is a multi-day program for healthcare professionals to excel in leadership/communication and drug therapy management skills.

Teaching and Learning

  • AACP Education Scholar Program

If interested in teaching, the Education Scholar Program offers an online curriculum focused on active learning strategies, learning in the experiential setting, and assessment of instructional effectiveness. Please refer to the AACP Education Scholar Program.

  • ACCP Academy of Teaching and Learning

This interactive teaching and certification program consists of 18 hours of required modules and 10 hours of curricular track electives which focus on strategic teaching, assessing, and implementing teaching/learning strategies. Please refer to ACCP Academy of Teaching and Learning.

View Pharamcist Jobs and Career Resources


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