The Top 7 Pharmacy Conferences You Should Attend
Let’s be honest: pharmacy CE can seem like more of a hassle than a help, especially when you’re busy trying to keep your own affairs in order.
Every year, it seems that CE creeps up on you, and at the last minute, you have to scramble to get all of the credits you need. Maybe you take an online course, maybe you drag yourself to a local meeting.
You sit through class and take some notes, but in the back of your mind, you’re worrying about lunch breaks and wondering when you’ll get to leave.
After all, it doesn’t feel fair that you have to keep taking classes, earning credits, and proving you’re worthy of practicing. Wasn’t your degree enough?
Turns out, CE isn’t that simple — but it doesn’t have to be that dull.
Continuing education was designed with a nobler focus in mind: making sure that community pharmacists can continue to meet the needs of their patients and practice at the top of their licenses. CE is a way to show pharmacists’ commitment to lifelong learning, growing, and accelerating their practices.
And if you love what you do, a few classes, a few credits, and a few opportunities to become a better pharmacist should excite you. For a moment, you can drop your responsibilities, listen in, and pick up real, actionable insights to improve your pharmacy.
One of the best ways to get CE credits is to attend local, state, and national pharmacy conferences. Not only will it help fulfill your state’s CE requirements, but it will help you to become a better pharmacist all around.
Not convinced yet? Among other things, attending pharmacy conferences can help you to:
But not all conferences are created equal. Some are for certain specialties, some are limited to certain areas, and some may just get your attention more than others. If you’re trying to get more out of your CE credits, though, and you’re looking to embrace the opportunity to learn, check out our top 7 conference picks.
Over the years, we’ve been to dozens of them, but we agree these are the very best:
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) is the largest network of independent pharmacists in the country, representing nearly 20,000 pharmacies.
NCPA educates, advocates, and works to improve community pharmacy as a whole. NCPA supports this mission by hosting several events every year, including the NCPA Annual Convention & Expo.
NCPA’s Annual Meeting is the prime time for pharmacy professionals to come together, share their knowledge, earn CE, and walk away feeling ready to do more for their pharmacy. The Annual Meeting is one of the biggest — if not the biggest — events of the year, so it’s one you won’t want to skip out on.
NCPA’s meetings typically take place in October, so make sure you save your spot before the leaves start falling. Future meeting spots include Kansas City, MO; Orlando, FL; Columbus, OH; and New Orleans, LA.
Pharmacy Development Services (PDS) is a consulting company that helps pharmacists develop “the critical enterprise, leadership, and financial skills to run a thriving business in a rapidly changing environment.”
PDS offers several opportunities to help pharmacists improve their business skills, but one of the best is to attend the PDS Super-Conference.
The PDS Super-Conference is a three-day immersive learning experience, composed of over 1,600 pharmacists and 150 exhibitors, who are all working towards the common goal of bettering their businesses.
The PDS Super-Conference typically takes a place in mid-February, so it’s a great way to get away from the winter blues and learn something new, too.
PioneerRx’s very own show, Connect, is one that all customers should get in on.
Connect is designed to help PioneerRx pharmacies better understand their technology, their practice, and their place in the world of pharmacy. Connect is a 4-day event led by dozens of industry leaders, including Amina Abubakar, Rannon Ching, Benjamin Jolley, and more.
While at Connect, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with these leaders and others, while at the same time learning how to improve your practice.
And when you’re not in class, you’ll have the opportunity to stay in some of the nation’s must-see cities and make plenty of memories on your own. Connect typically takes place in early summer, so it’s the best time to beat the heat and go for a little getaway.
American Associated Pharmacies (AAP) is a member-owned buying cooperative that provides independent pharmacies with the right supplies, at the right price. AAP members get access to brand, generic, and OTC products at discounted volume prices.
AAP doesn’t only offer supplies, though: it offers CE for all of its members at the AAP Annual Conference.
The Annual Conference is a three-day experience, usually in the spring, designed to help you recognize your pharmacy’s strengths and run with them. It features a lineup of “nationally renowned” speakers and a “thrilling” agenda.
Compared to other conferences, AAP is smaller in size, meaning that you’ll get a more one-on-one approach to learning and have an opportunity to make more connections. And if you don’t take something away from the conference, AAP offers a money-back guarantee.
Sounds like a risk worth taking.
The Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) is a national quality organization “dedicated to improving medication safety, adherence, and appropriate use.”
PQA represents more than 250 diverse member organizations, including pharmacies, health care providers, pharmacy benefit managers, government agencies, associations, academia, and more. PQA members can access and leverage PQA’s performance measure expertise in order to improve the quality of their practice and ensure they reap the benefits.
Every year, in the spring, PQA hosts its Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting attracts over 500 healthcare executives and quality professionals with a variety of education sessions about medication quality, measure development and implementation, care transformation, and technology.
By attending PQA’s Annual Meeting, you can gain actionable insights on how to improve your medication programs, develop best practices in quality measure implementation, and of course, earn the CE credits you need.
The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) is the largest association of pharmacists in the United States, representing independents, chains, and everyone in between.
APhA’s mission is to “inspire, innovate, and create opportunities for members and pharmacists worldwide to optimize medication use and health for all.” Even though APhA doesn’t just serve independents, it works to provide better opportunities for all pharmacists: so it’s worth supporting.
One of the opportunities to get involved with APhA is to attend the APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition, which usually takes place in early spring. The Annual Meeting is composed of educational sessions, symposiums, and forums designed to expose you to new people and new ideas.
While at the Annual Meeting, you can discover new opportunities and learn how you can further the profession.
The last, and perhaps most important, CE opportunity is within your state pharmacy association.
Unlike national trade shows, state meetings and expos can give you specific tips, tricks, and guidelines on how you should practice — depending on the pharmacy legislation in your state.
Not only that, but your state pharmacy association’s show can help you to network with other pharmacists in your area and work together to make changes on the state-wide level. Check in with your local association to find out when the next event is, and make sure that you mark it on your calendar.
The world of pharmacy is full of opportunities, many of them educational.
That’s why continuing education credits exist. CE can be a chore, but it doesn’t have to be a bore — just find an exciting pharmacy conference, convention, or trade show that sparks your interest, and go from there.
Make sure you have everything you need to make it through the week, and get prepared for a learning opportunity of a lifetime.
We’ll see you out on the trade show floor!