The cumulative price of membership to be in pharmacy organizations can become substantial over time. In this article a pharmacist with a decade of experience discusses the topic.
Authored By: Timothy P. Gauthier, Pharm.D., BCPS-AQ ID
[Last updated: 16 March 2018]
As a student pharmacist the value of membership within major pharmacy organizations is practically immeasurable. Within the various groups there are peers to introduce you to the profession, mentors to assist with networking, and leadership opportunities to help foster professional growth.
In the transition years going from a student to a licensed pharmacist, professional pharmacy organizations continue to provide a variety of opportunities that can be critical to professional advancement. Leveraging networking for finding employment, getting involved with committee work to gain experience or recognition, and participating in advanced training opportunities are some of the great activities to engage in during this period of time.
As pharmacists move out of the first half-decade or so of their careers, the value of maintaining membership within pharmacy organizations begins to shift again. Two contributing reasons for this are that: (1) by now many pharmacists find themselves having achieved stable employment and (2) personal activities (e.g., family responsibilities, non-pharmacy interests) can start to become more of a priority, leaving less time for professional service activities.
A third factor for the more seasoned pharmacist is cost. In particular during tax season as pharmacists review their annual expenses and look for ways to be more fiscally responsible at home, they may consider if it is worth letting go of a pharmacy organization membership or two for the time being. I composed the following table out of a general interest in answering the question of: What is the cost of membership in the various professional pharmacy organizations?
This table was created by searching the web pages of each of the organizations and recording the price for a 1-year membership. A few state societies were added in for general comparison. It is likely some groups are not represented here, but most of the major organizations are listed.
Cost of basic 1-year membership for United States pharmacists1,2
|College of Psychiatric & Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP)||
|National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA)||
|American Society of Health-System Pharmacy (ASHP)||
|Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP)||
|American Pharmacists Association (APhA)||
|American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP)||
|American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP)||
|American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP)||
|Florida Pharmacy Association (FPA)||
|National Pharmaceutical Association (NPhA)||
|Florida Society of Health-System Pharmacy (FSHP)||
|American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS)||
|Minnesota Society of Health-System Pharmacists (MSHP)||
|International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP)||
|Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists (SIDP)||
1Special rates for trainees, retirees, groups, institutions, or others not listed
2May require an application process
Interesting data, no? You can visit the sites for each of these organizations to learn the direct cost and requirements if you are interested in more precise information.
As for the topic that is the title of this article, the answer will of course vary from person to person depending on your personal and professional priorities. I would however like to take this opportunity to advocate for maintaining membership within at least one pharmacy organization. As you consider what is best for you, here are some reasons to continue your membership in pharmacy organizations…
1. To support a cause you are passionate about. As an example, being an infectious diseases pharmacist it gives me great pride to support the Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacist (SIDP) through my membership. Organizations need our support to succeed and being a dues-paying member can be an easy way to show you care.
2. To give back. If you benefitted from activities organized by a pharmacy group, a great way to say ‘thank you’ is to help others receive the same benefits.
3. For networking. Networking is something that can pay off when you least expect it. Whether it is forming new relationships or just keeping in touch with old acquaintances, networking is an important activity for pharmacists at all levels.
4. For the reading content. Many organizations send out newsletters or publish journals to keep their members updated on the latest and greatest happenings relevant to their mission. If you are reading what the group is publishing, maybe continue your membership to keep the good information coming. Also of note, many groups offer free CE or reduced-cost CE opportunities through this method.
5. For the list-serves. Content shared and topics discussed on pharmacy organization list-serves can be extremely helpful for being alert on new and developing issues related to your work.
6. To be a mentor. As increasing numbers of doctor of pharmacy degrees are conferred, it is important experienced pharmacists engage their more junior peers to assist in cultivating professional growth. Being a mentor can be extremely rewarding and most pharmacy organizations provide opportunities to connect with others. As they say, it’s better to give than to receive!
Over time the cumulative cost of membership within pharmacy organizations can become substantial and the value that a pharmacy organization has to a pharmacist is likely to change over time. As pharmacists consider what is best for their unique scenario, it is important to also consider the important role they play in the development of others within our profession.
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