Dear PharmacyWeek: Pharmacy Technician wants to know how she can advance her career without going back to school

Posted on January 20, 2011



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Dear PharmacyWeek,

I live in Texas and I am 24. I have been in the pharmacy field since I was a junior in high school, certified and all! I am a part of many pharmacy organizations. I also teach the certification program at a vocational school, which pays more than any pharmacy setting, but my question is where can I go now? I was in college but unable to complete my last three semesters, so I don’t have a degree. Please help!

— Mary, Texas, 24

Well, Mary, the ultimate way for you to advance your career within the pharmacy career field would be for you to go back to school to get your PharmD, but I understand that in different situations this is easier said than done. If it’s a money issue, don’t be afraid to reach out to your college to ask about scholarships or financial aid. However, if you’ve decided going back to school isn’t an option, there are still plenty of options for you as a certified pharmacy technician!

If you’re a people person or willing to move there are several other opportunities available. These positions may not be in your area, but will give you an idea of what else is out there:

  • Have you ever thought about becoming a contract auditorNational Audit is currently seeking pharmacy technicians around the nation on a continual basis to conduct on-site audits of various retail pharmacies.
  • Humana offers several different opportunities for pharmacy technicians, including opportunities for Therapeutic Interchange Technicians. Therapeutic Interchange Technicians research patient concerns, educate patients regarding the benefit of therapeutic alternative medications and facilitate positive service and pharmaceutical outcomes.
  • Larger corporations, like Express Scripts, allow you to choose from a wide range of settings, positions and locations. You could be a Patient Care Advocate, Senior Product Manager for Home Delivery, Senior Pharmacy Technician for Patient Saving, a Co-Pay Specialist, and more!
  • Pharmacy-management service companies, such as Cardinal Health,Inc., and Comprehensive Pharmacy Services (CPS), offer several management, trainer and traveling positions. You could train incoming pharmacy technicians and also pick from a wide variety of locations.
  • Have you ever thought of sales? You may not have to get your PharmD, but if you might want to finish your bachelor’s degree if you want to go into sales. You can use your pharmacy and teaching background along with your people skills to communicate new pharmacy products in a wide range of settings. You could be a pharmaceutical representative or territory manager for a company like Cardinal Health. If you enjoy talking with people, this can be a rewarding position. The pay isn’t so bad either.
  • If you’re also a people person you might want to consider becoming a recruiter. There are several recruiter positions for foreign pharmacies, as well as colleges. You can use your knowledge of pharmacy careers to inform and recruit new employees, interns or students.
  • Pharmacy software companies, such as PharmacyOneSource, are always looking for customer service representatives and sales. Your extensive experience dealing with customer service within the pharmacy will help you excel in this position.
  • You can also always move up within the ranks at the vocational college you are teaching at. Let your human resources department know that you’re interested in advancing your career within the school. Don’t be afraid to reach out to those around you.

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