About BPS

About the Board of Pharmacy Specialties

The Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS) was established in 1976 as an autonomous division of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). The mission of the Board of Pharmacy Specialties is to improve patient care and increase awareness of the need for BPS Board Certified Pharmacists as integral members of multidisciplinary healthcare teams through recognition and promotion of specialized training, knowledge, and skills in pharmacy and specialty board certification and recertification of pharmacists throughout the world.

Board Certification through BPS has become recognized as the gold standard for determining which pharmacists are qualified to contribute at advanced practice levels. Through the rigorous standards mandated by BPS board certification and recertification, the BPS board certified pharmacist stands out as the most qualified to accept today’s expanding professional expectations. BPS currently recognizes more than 60,800 pharmacist certifications across 15 specialties worldwide.


In 1971, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) House of Delegates adopted a policy statement which contained in part the following provision: “that an organizational mechanism be established with the structure of the Association for the recognition of specialties and certification of specialists.” Following adoption of this statement and further deliberations and discussions, the APhA Board of Trustees created the Taskforce on Specialties in Pharmacy in 1973 with four charges:

  1. To identify existing or potential areas of specialization in pharmacy practice and/or conclude that the practice of pharmacy does not lend itself to specialization.
  2. To propose a means by which such specialties should be identified if specialties do exist.
  3. To develop the means by which individuals should be identified as having met the predetermined criteria for such specialties, including recommendations for continuing education or re-certification.
  4. To consider other matters of immediate concern identified by the Task Force.


The report of the Task Force concluded that “an official board with independent decision-making authority should now be established and charged with the responsibility of formally recognizing specialties in pharmacy once they are judged to have met approved criteria. Furthermore, the board should be empowered with the final responsibility of granting certification to individuals who have met the qualifications for certification as specialists in an officially recognized field of specialty.”

In 1976, BPS was established as an autonomous division of APhA in the APhA Bylaws by the APhA House of Delegates. Nuclear Pharmacy was then approved as the first specialty in 1978.

BPS Specialties by Date

Today, BPS recognizes 15 distinct specialties and more than 60,800 active pharmacist certifications – nationally and internationally. As part of its ongoing mission, BPS continues to monitor and evaluate emerging practice areas to meet the needs of patients, providers, and the health care delivery enterprise.

BPS Growth Chart


The Board of Pharmacy Specialties, the premier post-licensure certification agency, will ensure that BPS Board Certified Pharmacists are recognized within healthcare delivery systems while serving the needs of the public and the pharmacy profession.


The Mission of the Board of Pharmacy Specialties is to improve patient care by promoting the recognition and value of specialized training, knowledge, and skills in pharmacy and specialty board certification of pharmacists. We accomplish this mission by:

  • Providing leadership for the profession of pharmacy in the discussion, evolution, direction and recognition of specialty board certification of pharmacists.
  • Establishing and promoting, in collaboration with stakeholders, the value of pharmacy specialization and board certification.
  • Establishing the standards for identification and recognition of pharmacy specialties.
  • Establishing standards of eligibility, knowledge and skills for pharmacists as the basis for board certification.
  • Developing and administering a valid process to evaluate the knowledge and skills for recognition of board-certified pharmacists.
  • Assessing and recognizing the continued eligibility, knowledge, and skills of board-certified pharmacist specialists through a valid re-certification process.

What We Do

BPS is the premier post-licensure pharmacist certification agency worldwide that operates across the pharmacy profession to provide specialty certification of pharmacists. Most importantly, BPS is above partisan interests and establishes independent, objective standards that are applied in a psychometrically sound, legally defensible process.

BPS has an established commitment to quality and our quality policy states that “BPS is committed to not only meeting the standards to which we are accredited, but to exceed them through a continual process of monitoring all activities and introducing improvements wherever possible”.

The principal responsibilities of BPS include:

  • To grant recognition of appropriate pharmacy practice specialties based on criteria established by BPS.
  • To establish standards for certification and recertification of pharmacists in recognized pharmacy practice specialties.
  • To grant qualified pharmacists certification and recertification in recognized pharmacy practice specialties.
  • To serve as a coordinating agency and information clearinghouse for organizations and pharmacists in recognized pharmacy practice specialties.
  • To enhance public/consumer protection by developing effective certification programs for specialty practices in pharmacy.

Understanding the Different Types of Credentials

The distinction between certification and certificate training is remarkable. Some certificates may indicate participation in a targeted educational program but do not assess a practitioner’s competence. BPS certification is a voluntary process by which a pharmacist’s education, experience, knowledge and skills in a particular practice area are confirmed as well beyond what is required for licensure.

Credentialing terminology may get lost in translation as there are three types of credentials that are often confused. 

Click here to better understand the differences between:

  • Certificates of participation
  • Assessment-based certificate programs
  • Board certification (e.g., BPS)