5 Ways Pharmacists Can Learn New Skills Without Changing Jobs


Here are 5 ways to add diversity to your job title without changing companies.

Many pharmacists land a good job right out of pharmacy school and quickly become comfortable in the workplace and atmosphere of their first employer.

Although this situation isn’t uncommon, it lends itself to several risks that you should carefully consider as you settle into your current job. Most significantly, it may limit the amount of exposure you have to other workplace settings or positions. Although you may get better at doing the same job over the years, you also become exclusively skillful in only 1 area.

Someone who has worked in only 1 job for many years might believe this shows a high level of commitment and loyalty to an employer. That may be true, but to a new employer, it raises many questions about your ability to adapt to new job settings and manage changes.

Maybe you don’t want to change jobs right now. Maybe you like your hours, location, or co-workers. Can you still add some diversity to your career while staying with the same employer? The answer is: yes!

Through active involvement in your career development, you can generate an attractive list of qualifications that will make you a stronger candidate for a greater variety of jobs. Most workers find that a diversified skillset translates to a more satisfying career, as well.

Here are 5 ways to add diversity to your job title without changing companies:

1. Read

This may sound simple, but the truth is many professionals simply don’t take the time to teach themselves something new by reading about it.

The billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban got his start in the technology field not by obtaining a fancy degree in systems engineering, but by reading computer manuals. Learning something new through reading has an important impact on your skillset diversity. Obviously, reading things related to the pharmacy profession is best, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be clinical.

2. Take a Course

Although switching to a new job may force you to learn new things, taking the initiative by enrolling in a course might actually show greater strength of character and discipline.

There are many online courses that can be taken inexpensively. As with reading, it doesn’t necessarily have to be clinical. How about beginning to learn a new language or word processing skill? An online course or night class at a local college can add some rich diversity to your competencies as a pharmacist.

3. Complete Strategic Continuing Education (CE)

Many pharmacists look at their annual CE requirements and just take whatever courses they can get cheaply and conveniently. Even though most of us have done this at one point or another, it might be worthwhile to focus all of your CE credits for the year on a single subject matter related to an area of interest, like hepatitis C or contraceptives.

When you become an expert in any given area, it typically opens up opportunities. In other words, subject matter expertise leads to career diversity. Gaining knowledge will improve your job satisfaction and help you grow professionally.

4. Get Certifications

If you want a more structured and focused method for gaining greater career diversity, pursuing one of the many professional certifications available is a great idea. The Board of Pharmacy Specialties offers a variety of certifications that pharmacists can obtain. A certification will require a lot of studying and a little money, but the advantage is that it becomes part of your degree, and most employers understand the effort needed to obtain it.

5. Seek a Promotion or New Responsibilities

Are there opportunities to do other jobs within your company? Maybe you want to take a step up the career ladder and move into management, or maybe you’re willing to take on a new responsibility while maintaining your current job. Most companies want to develop their talent and are willing to give you a chance to try something new if you ask.

Bonus: Volunteer

Is there a local charity that you can support with an hour or 2 of your time each week? Volunteering will expose you to a new group of individuals and allow you to learn new things about the organization. Plus, you can add it to your areas of interest on your résumé or LinkedIn profile.

Job diversification has many benefits for pharmacists. It’s a way to strengthen your value to your current employer, enrich your job satisfaction, and improve your attractiveness to new employers when you feel it’s time to move on.

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