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Pharmacist Specialty Certification: Can It Help Your Career?

Pharmacist Specialty Certification: Can It Help Your Career?

Cindy Mehallow / Monster Contributing Writer

Disease-State Specialists

The National Institute for Standards in Pharmacist Credentialing offers disease-specific certification in four areas: diabetes, asthma, dyslipidemia and anticoagulation therapy. Certification documents pharmacists’ ability to provide disease-state management services, which is especially important in community pharmacies where pharmacists can provide services to patients. More than 1,500 pharmacists have earned the certified disease manager (CDM) designation.

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Salary: $67,860 - $119,480
Min. Education: Doctorate
Related Careers: Physician, Dentist

A pharmacist’s education level and patient population will also influence whether he obtains certification, says Ed Staffa, vice president of pharmacy practice and communications for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Participating in patient-care programs, such as administering immunizations and measuring cholesterol (which involve injections or drawing blood), calls for the government’s Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) certification. Some pharmacists who work extensively with diabetics are opting to obtain the rigorous certified diabetes educator (CDE) designation from the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators. And pharmacists who work with geriatric patients can become a certified geriatric pharmacist (CGP) through the Commission for Certification in Geriatric Pharmacy, which was created in 1997.

A Boost from MTM?

As of January 1, 2006, pharmacists became eligible to provide new medication therapy management (MTM) provisions under Medicare Part D. BPS certification advocate Bertin believes this change highlights the value of BPS specialty certification, since certified pharmacists may be perceived as better-qualified to provide MTM therapy.

But Staffa maintains that while specialty certification, even for the purpose of providing MTM, is commendable and can boost a pharmacist’s confidence, the training pharmacists receive to earn their doctorates already qualifies them to provide many services, including MTM. “A pharmacist is a medication therapy manager,” he says.

This article originally appeared on Monster Career Advice.

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