Professional pharmacy organizations educate, support, and unify members. They also help influence and monitor pharmacy-related legislation, promote research in the field and standardization, and strive to improve patient care. Furthermore, members often meet career goals through these organizations by tapping their benefits. The advantages of membership, whether active or passive, are numerous.
Professional benefits of membership in a pharmacy organization include the following:
- Access to research grants and scholarships.
- Discounts on conference fees and priority registration.
- Opportunities to develop leadership skills by attending courses or serving on organization boards and committees.
- Networking, which may lead to advancement and board opportunities, development of best practices, the exchange of ideas, and employment offers.
- Participating in developing best practices and standards in the field through various means. This includes serving on committees and subcommittees and taking surveys.
- Receiving early notification of activities, advancements in the field, events, new or pending pharmacy legislation, and trends.
Personal benefits include the following:
- Building a resume. Membership in a pharmacy organization demonstrates professionalism, improves skill sets, and shows commitment. Active participation in an organization may provide a competitive advantage when applying for advanced roles and new jobs.
- Cultivating friendships. These can be both personal and professional.
- Developing or improving communication and presentation skills. Members can attend and comment at state board of pharmacy meetings, comment at public legislative hearings or listening sessions against or in support of pending legislation, participate as a judge or presenter in poster competitions, speak with national and state representatives, submit articles to blogs and magazines, and teach continuing education topics and professional development workshops.
- Feeding a passion. Membership allows pharmacy technicians to demonstrate their passion for the profession by educating themselves and others, endorsing best practice ideas, mentoring, and supporting expansion of tech roles.
- Increasing job satisfaction and motivation. Members can gain ideas or knowledge that may improve proficiency as well as receive peer support. In addition, some organizations offer access to group discount rates for education, goods, personal and professional resources, and services.
- Serving on a national or state organization’s board. This may meet work requirements for career advancement and possible pay raises.
Not sure where to start or which organization to join? Simply perform an internet search for “professional pharmacy technician organizations.” A list of
web pages with pharmacy organizations that techs can join will show up. Of course, the decision to join an organization is a personal one, and techs should consider how well the organization’s culture and goals align with their own, as well as the ease of travel to events, the time commitment required, whether a local or national organization is preferred, and whether the cost of membership is worth the benefit(s) derived.
Here a few organizations available to techs:
- Tech-specific organizations: American Association of Pharmacy Technicians (pharmacytechnician.com), National Pharmacy Technician Association (pharmacytechnician.org), Society for the Education of Pharmacy Technicians (thesepht.org)
- Organizations that encourage and support tech membership: American Pharmacists Association (pharmacist.com), American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ashp.org/) and its link to state affiliates (ashp.org/State-Affiliates/State-Affiliate-Directory), the PTCB’s links to national pharmacy associations (ptcb.org/resources/pharmacy-organizations/national-pharmacy-associations#.XM8GkmbsZPY)
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB; ptcb.org) encourages PTCB certified pharmacy technicians (CPhTs) to become members of state and national pharmacy associations and to take an active role in these organizations.
Joining a professional pharmacy organization can yield both personal and professional benefits. To gain the most value, techs should actively participate and be open to going outside their comfort zones.
LeAnn Bolster, CPhT, is a pharmacy technician at Boise VA Medical Center in Idaho and the former director and chair of technician affairs for the Idaho Society of Health- System Pharmacists.Edna Bowser, CPhT, is a pharmacy technician at Butler VA Health Care System in Pennsylvania and an instructor for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Course at Butler County Community College.