Upskilling and Reskilling in Pharmacy

September 24, 2021 •
Portrait of a happy African American pharmacist writing prescription at workplace in modern pharmacy.

You might be a pharmacy technician, an assistant, or a pharmacist. Perhaps you work in a hospital or retail environment. Depending on your role and area of practice, you’ve probably already completed training and some level of education as a requirement for your job. You might even take regular continuing education courses to maintain your license.

But wherever you find yourself, your career can benefit from upskilling or reskilling.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, to “upskill” is to “learn new skills”, while “reskilling” is described as “learn[ing] new skills so that you can do a different job”.

If this sounds interesting, let’s explore some possibilities.

Why Upskill or Reskill?

First, let’s figure out why you want to pursue further education.

Career Change

Many skills in the pharmacy field transfer to other medical professions. Your existing knowledge, combined with further education, will put you at the top of the candidate list when you apply for jobs.

If you decide to go this route, find out if you can transfer any previously acquired training to required classes for your new role. Your existing credits might save you time.

Career Advancement

Want to stick with the pharmacy field? Consider applying for a leadership position. A pharmacy technician can become a pharmacy technician supervisor, or a pharmacist may want to advance to the position of pharmacy manager.

Upskilling prepares your resume and your reputation for advancing your career, whether you remain with your current employer or move to a different job environment.

Career Improvement

You might not be ready to make a career change. But upskilling and reskilling aren’t just about looking good on paper; they benefit your patients.

Consider your reasons for choosing the field of pharmacy. You wanted to help people navigate a complicated part of their healthcare: medication. You set out to meet this need with expert knowledge and compassion. Expanding your skillset increases your ability to help patients—and they are the reason you joined pharmacy.

What to Upskill or Reskill

Brooke Griffin, PharmD and writer for Pharmacist Moms Group, encourages readers to ask these questions when considering further training: “What additional skills interest you? What additional training have you been thinking about for a while?”

Griffin’s suggestions for pharmacists include “completing a pharmacogenomics course, MTM training, joining a new professional organization, and studying for board certification” (Griffin, Brooke, PharmD. Pharmacy Moms Group, Upskill and Reskill”, 2/25/2019)

Pharmacy technicians who are not yet certified may want to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) or the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technician (ExCPT).

How to Upskill or Reskill

How do you pursue upskilling? What resources exist for the pharmacy field? Here are some ideas for both informal and formal training.

Informal Training

If you’re looking to informally advance your knowledge and skills, you might look into some of these options:

Formal Training

Technology Training: As pharmacy services evolve, pharmacy workers need to stay on top of new technologies.  These may involve e-verification systems, pill counters, data analytics for opioid use, telepharmacy, Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems, and more. Make sure you know the latest programs and practices as the field changes.

Certification: If you’re a technician, your state may not require you to be certified, but taking an accredited class and passing an exam is a surefire way to increase your skills. As a pharmacist, you’re licensed, but you may not have completed the requirements for board certification. Go the extra mile and expand your knowledge, and you’ll set yourself up for success.

Continuing Education: Depending on your state’s requirements, you may already pursue regular continuing education (CE) credits to maintain your license. That’s the minimum; but there’s no reason not to upskill or reskill by taking an extra course. Pharmacists may want to look into to find a plethora of CE classes.


In his Forbes article “Why Employee Upskilling and Reskilling Is So Important Right Now”, George Elfond urges business owners to provide employees with upskilling and reskilling opportunities. Employers can’t always afford to hire new workers during economic crisis, which means employees who upskill become invaluable to businesses and are more likely to receive opportunities for career advancement. There is no better time to upskill and reskill.

As you give yourself the tools to excel, don’t forget to protect yourself with professional liability insurance. At NOW Insurance, we cover healthcare practitioners, including pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. If an error or perceived error occurs, you need a support team to mitigate litigation costs, help you find a lawyer, and navigate the process.

You can’t afford to be without professional liability insurance. Get a quick and easy quote with our online application today.