Carolyn Mayer worked as a corporate travel agent for most of her professional career, but after leaving the travel industry to be a stay-at-home mom, she learned about a career in pharmacy. At the age of 53, with a college background in math and science, becoming a pharmacy technician appealed to Mayer, who started working for Kinney Drugs just five years ago.
Today, she’s a certified pharmacy technician (CPhT), who took part in the first national certification program offered by her employer. Over the course of three to four months, Mayer juggled working, parenting, and completing the certification program. Her employer built four hours of study time into her shifts each week to ensure she had adequate time to prepare for NHA’s ExCPT certification exam.
“It was like taking a class. I did extra studying after work, in addition to being a mom and working. It was hard to balance everything. I wanted to succeed. I wanted to make my pharmacy proud,” she says. “I even studied over the course of a family vacation to make sure that I had the knowledge to pass the exam.”
Upon earning national certification, Mayer’s role at the pharmacy evolved, allowing her to have more responsibilities.
“I’m often called on to help because they are confident that I have the knowledge to do the job correctly. I know when to bring in the pharmacist to make sure patients are counseled on their prescriptions.”
Many pharmacies looking for pharmacy technicians view certification as a benefit, providing validation that a person has the foundational knowledge to do the job well. While Mayer’s employer didn’t require her to become certified, it provided her with a supportive environment where certification was encouraged and made possible. Mayer says that of all the aspects of her job, her favorite role is helping people.
“I love helping customers,” she says. “Some of them are very sick and not feeling well…I feel like I am helping people every day.”
Her employer’s certification program was a positive one for Mayer, who is still exploring where else her career in pharmacy can take her.
“I do know that I want to continue to learn. I’m always learning something new and working on something new every day.”
Within a growing field, pharmacy technicians can use their CPhT credentials to stand out in a crowd,
Mayer says. She encourages others to take the exam for certification, “It helps you understand your job better and it will give you more knowledge. You make yourself an asset to the pharmacy and to yourself. You will give yourself a leg up over others…Certification helps you become the best you can be in your job.”