Last Updated on: July 31, 2023
Thank you for your interest in becoming certified in your chosen field of specialty practice. As the delivery of health care becomes more sophisticated and complex, health care providers and the systems where they work will be asked to become even more accountable for the care they deliver. Most importantly, your pursuit of board certification indicates your commitment to your patients and the care that you provide.
For over 40 years, the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS) has administered board certification examinations for pharmacist specialists. The founding of BPS by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) in 1976 was the result of a five-year effort, during which the entire profession studied and deliberated specialization in pharmacy practice. Ambulatory Care Pharmacy, Cardiology Pharmacy, Compounded Sterile Preparations Pharmacy, Critical Care Pharmacy, Emergency Medicine Pharmacy, Geriatric Pharmacy, Infectious Diseases Pharmacy, Nuclear Pharmacy, Nutrition Support Pharmacy, Oncology Pharmacy, Pediatric Pharmacy, Pharmacotherapy, Psychiatric Pharmacy, and Solid Organ Transplantation, exist today as pharmacy practice specialties as a direct result of BPS’ ongoing collaboration with all segments of the profession.
The Board of Directors, with assistance from several professional organizations and their members, has continued to provide vital leadership and support for the recognition of specialties and certification of pharmacist specialists. As a result, BPS and its Specialty Councils are now the principal entities through which these activities are conducted for the pharmacy profession. Each of the Specialty Councils works diligently with our Examination Development and Psychometrics team to ensure that the process is psychometrically sound and defensible. BPS also collaborates with other national organizations and professional societies to promote specialty recognition and board certification to the profession, other health care professionals, employers, and the public.
Through the rigorous standards mandated by BPS board certification and recertification, the Board-certified, specialized pharmacist stands out as the most qualified individual to meet today’s expanding professional expectations. BPS salutes your commitment to quality patient care.
Board of Pharmacy Specialties
2215 Constitution Ave., NW Washington, DC 20037-2985
BPS Specialty Certification Programs in Ambulatory Care Pharmacy, Cardiology Pharmacy, Compounded Sterile Preparations Pharmacy, Critical Care Pharmacy, Geriatric Pharmacy, Infectious Diseases Pharmacy, Nuclear Pharmacy, Nutrition Support Pharmacy, Oncology Pharmacy, Pediatric Pharmacy, Pharmacotherapy and Psychiatric Pharmacy are recognized as accredited certification programs by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).
The Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS) is an independent, nongovernmental certification body that develops and administers board certification examinations in recognized pharmacy practice specialties. BPS was created on January 5, 1976, by the American Pharmaceutical Association (now the American Pharmacists Association, APhA), and exists today as an autonomous division of APhA.
The BPS Board of Directors (the Board) is composed of 12 voting members, including nine pharmacists, six of whom represent BPS specialty practices and three of whom are not board certified. The board also includes two health care professionals other than pharmacists and one public member. The BPS Executive Director and one member of the APhA Board of Trustees are nonvoting ex officio Board members. For a current list of Board of Director members, click here.
BPS has established a specialty council for each recognized specialty. Specialty councils work with the Board to develop and administer psychometrically-sound and legally defensible certification examinations, consistent with public policy regarding the credentialing of health care professionals. A specialty council is comprised of at least 10 members who are board-certified in that specialty area. Each specialty council may include up to two additional members, each of whom may be either board-certified in that specialty area or a pharmacist not certified in that specialty area but with other qualifications and/or expertise pertinent to the specialty area. For a current list of specialty council members, click here.
The principal responsibilities of BPS include:
- To enhance public / consumer protection by developing effective certification programs for specialty practices in pharmacy.
- To grant recognition of appropriate pharmacy practice specialties based on criteria established by the Board of Pharmacy Specialties.
- To establish standards for certification and recertification of pharmacist specialists in recognized pharmacy practice specialties.
- To grant eligible pharmacists certification and recertification in recognized pharmacy practice specialties.
- To serve as a coordinating agency and informational clearing house for organizations and pharmacists in recognized pharmacy specialties.
Importance of Certification
The primary purpose of specialization in any health care profession is to improve the quality-of-care individual patients receive, to promote positive treatment outcomes, and ultimately, to improve the patient’s quality of life. Specialties evolve in response to the development of new knowledge or technology that can affect patient care. The rapid, dramatic advancement of drug therapy in recent decades has created a clear need for pharmacy practitioners who specialize in specific kinds of treatment and aspects of care. Specialty certification is a responsible, progressive initiative from the profession to try to ensure the best possible patient care.
Board certification has allowed more pharmacists to participate in collaborative drug therapy management, which is a significant value to patients. Pharmacists certified in a specialty are frequently sought for professional consultations. As the contributions of pharmacists become more recognized, BPS anticipates greater recognition from public and private payers. Employers and patients can feel secure in knowing that a board-certified pharmacist has taken the initiative to seek advanced specialized training that sets them apart. Certification can also provide a personal reward for pharmacist specialists. Preparing for the certification examination offers an opportunity to increase advanced, specialized knowledge in a practice area. Specialty certification is a means of informing other professionals of an individual’s educational and practice accomplishments, setting the specialist apart from colleagues. It is one way to demonstrate advanced knowledge and skills independent of and in addition to a degree program, license, or residency.
Recognition of BPS Certification
BPS-certified pharmacist specialists are recognized for their specialized knowledge and skills by many government and regulatory agencies. The following are examples of specific benefits that may be realized by BPS-certified pharmacist specialists:
- U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Specialists may be recognized as Authorized Nuclear Pharmacists.
- U.S. Department of Defense: Specialists may receive bonus pay.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Specialists may serve at a higher pay step.
- U.S. Public Health Service: Specialists may receive bonus pay.
- Board-certified pharmacists in the following states may be eligible for advanced privileges: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, West Virginia. Board certified pharmacists in the following states may receive Continuing Education benefits: Arkansas, Idaho, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Texas, and Utah.
- Compounding Pharmacy: BCSCP specialists in Michigan are recognized by the State Board of Pharmacy as proficient in the practice of compounding. See Michigan Administrative Code R 338.533
- Reciprocity: Specialists in Nebraska may be eligible for reciprocity licensure through their board certification. See Title 172 Chapter 128.003.01(C)
- Increasing numbers of employers are recognizing BPS-certified specialists with monetary rewards, promotions or hiring preferences.
2215 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20037-2985
TEL (202) 946-5026
BPS endorses the principle of equal opportunity and nondiscrimination in all certification specialty programs and prohibits discrimination against its applicants, candidates, certified persons, staff, and volunteers. Certification is offered to all eligible persons regardless of age, gender, religion, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation or disability, or any other category protected by U.S. federal or state law. BPS ensures fair and equitable treatment of all candidates throughout all phases of the certification process. All BPS decisions related to certification (including granting, suspending, and withdrawing) are made impartially and free from nondiscriminatory judgments.
The BPS management and its employees, volunteers, and contractors understand the importance of impartiality and the consideration of any potential conflicts of interest in carrying out its certification activities. BPS shall manage conflicts of interest and ensure the objectivity of its certification activities. BPS shall act impartially in relation to its applicants, candidates, and certified persons. Decisions on certification programs shall be made in accordance with established policies and procedures. Policies and procedures affecting applicants, candidates, and certified persons shall be made public and shall fairly and accurately convey information about the certification program. Certification of individuals is based on objective evidence obtained by BPS through a fair, valid, and reliable assessment process which is not influenced by other interests or parties. BPS is committed to identifying and assessing risks in all related certification activities which may result in a conflict of interest or pose a threat to impartiality.
Statement of Confidentiality
BPS has the responsibility to protect confidential and proprietary information and maintain confidentiality of that information. Personnel associated with BPS certification activities shall keep confidential all information obtained in the process of conducting its certification programs. BPS shall function under a strict confidentiality policy. This policy shall apply to all aspects of confidential information obtained during the execution of BPS certification activities, including information obtained about applicants, candidates, and certified persons; financial information; test scores; the intellectual property associated with the administration of BPS certification programs; and any information associated with vendor support of BPS certification programs. BPS will not disclose any confidential applicant/certificant information outside of the course of BPS business unless authorized in writing by the individual in question or as required by law.
Individual examination results are considered confidential. Scores are released only to the individual candidate unless a signed release is provided in advance. Results are not released by phone, fax, or email. All personal information submitted by applicants and certificants with their application is considered confidential.
An applicant’s status is considered confidential. We do not disclose information regarding whether an individual has applied for certification (except when verifying practice experience via employment) or has taken the examination. Current certification status is published and verifiable as noted in the Credential Verification section below.
The names of currently certified pharmacist specialists are not considered confidential and may be published by BPS in accordance with accreditation standards. Published information may include a person’s name, city, state, country, certification(s) held, and certification status.
Personal information retained within the application/certificant database and/applicant/certificant files will be kept confidential. This includes information and any documentation regarding a disability and the need for accommodation in testing. With the applicant’s/certificants’ written permission, BPS shares nonpersonal information with third parties. This information is not considered confidential and may include a person’s name, city, state, country, certification(s) held, and certification status.
Sharing of Certificant Data
If necessary, for BPS’s ordinary course of business, and subject to appropriate contractual confidentiality protections, BPS may share certain personal information about applicants and certificants with third parties who use such personal information to provide core services to BPS or to assist BPS and individuals with the maintenance of those individuals’ certifications.
Record Retention Policy
BPS retains examination results (e.g., scores), summary reports from examination administrations, and active applicant data indefinitely. We retain submitted paper documentation for 1 year. After 1 year, BPS will shred those documents. Applicants/certificants should retain their own copies of all documentation sent to BPS.
Certification Application Process
For questions pertaining to BPS certification visit the Contact Us page of the BPS website or dial (202) 946-5026. BPS office hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm U.S. Eastern Time. The BPS offices are closed on all U.S. federal holidays.
All applicants must submit their applications online via the MyBPS Portal. A valid credit card is required for payment for online applications. The online application process uses a secure server.
Candidates should note the following:
- Candidates can apply for windowed testing during the established application dates, or year-round for specialties using the continuous testing model.
- It is the individual’s responsibility to submit a complete and accurate application. Incomplete applications will not be processed. All complete applications are processed within 30 calendar days of receipt.
- BPS has partnered with its testing vendor, Prometric, to make a Live Remote Proctoring (LRP) available for eligible candidates in the U.S., Australia, or Canada as an extension of a BPS pilot program. For more details on this offering, review the Live Remote Proctoring appendix below.
- Starting in 2023, BPS will transition two to four certification programs to a continuous testing model for certification and recertification examinations. The four credentials subject to this change in 2023 are board-certified cardiology pharmacist (BCCP), board-certified nuclear pharmacist (BCNP), board-certified oncology pharmacist (BCOP), and board-certified psychiatric pharmacist (BCPP).
- Continuously available (“continuous”) testing is the opportunity for a candidate to register throughout the year and to take a certification or recertification examination at any point in the year. This differs from windowed testing, in which exam administration is offered in two windows per year.
- For more details and information on certification exam registration, review the sections indicating Continuous Testing.
April/May 2023 Examination Window
Application window: Wednesday, January 4, 2023–Saturday, March 18, 2023
Testing window: Monday, April 3, 2023–Monday, May 1, 2023
August/September 2023 Examination Window
Application window: Tuesday, May 16, 2023–Monday, August 7, 2023
Testing window: Monday, August 28, 2023–Monday, September 18, 2023
2023 Continuous Testing
Continuous testing registration will be available starting Wednesday, January 4, 2023, for BCCP, BCNP, and BCPP certification. Continuous testing appointments for BCCP, BCNP, and BCPP will be available starting Monday, April 3, 2023.
Continuous Testing registration will be available starting Tuesday, May 16, 2023, for BCOP certification. Continuous testing appointments for BCOP will be available starting Monday, August 28, 2023.
- The April/May 2023 Testing window is between April 3 – May 1
- The August/September 2023 Testing window is between August 28 – September 18
- For continuous testing exam offerings for BCCP, BCNP, BCPP, and BCOP certifications, review the table below for more information.
Complete eligibility requirements for each specialty can be found on the BPS website. All practice experience must be completed post-licensure/registration as a pharmacist. For examinations in the windowed testing format, all practice and educational eligibility requirements must be met prior to the candidate sitting for the examination. For examinations in the continuous testing format, all practice and educational eligibility requirements must be met before submitting the application.
Overview of Steps in Applying for Examination
Five basic steps are required to apply for the BPS Certification Examination (International candidates, refer to the “Tips for Applicants Outside the U.S. Guide” for detailed information on requirements).
- Create an online MyBPS profile on the BPS website. A unique candidate number (e.g., IND-XXXXXX) is assigned once the profile is created.
- Once your profile has been created, click on the “Apply for New Certification” link found on your MyBPS profile home page. Review the eligibility criteria for your specialty before applying.
At the time of application, you will be required to upload a PDF or JPG version of your current pharmacist license or registration. Candidates will also be required to upload a letter verifying the practice experience that you claim on your application, signed by the supervisor and on official letterhead. Applicants intending to confirm eligibility via an American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)–accredited or Canadian Pharmacy Residency Board (CPRB)–accredited Year 1 pharmacy residency are required to upload a PDF or JPG copy of the residency certificate or a letter of completion. Note that all residency programs provided for eligibility must have a completion date within the last 7 years. If a residency is not accredited by ASHP or CPRB it may be counted to satisfy the practice experience eligibility pathway.
FOR APPLICANTS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES, AUSTRALIA, CANADA, SAUDI ARABIA, or SINGAPORE : Be advised that applicants who are licensed or registered outside of the United States, Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, or Singapore must request a hard copy of their transcripts or certificate of graduation with an official seal to be sent directly to BPS from the university, college or school of pharmacy where they received their pharmacy degree an e-transcript provided to the candidate directly from the university including the university staff members name and email address in addition to submitting the online application. (see Information for Candidates Trained/Licensed Outside of the U.S. Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, or Singapore section below for further details)
If you are providing a hard copy of your transcript, submit the Education Document Request Form to your university after completing the application. This form must be returned to BPS along with your transcript.
If you graduated from a university, college or school of pharmacy outside of the United States but are currently licensed in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, or Singapore, and hold a current license from the U.S., Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, or Singapore you will not be required to submit a hard copy official graduation document. However, if you claim practice experience outside the U.S., Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, or Singapore, you will be required to upload a copy of your license for that time frame as a part of your online application. All fees must be paid at the time of application submission.
- Your application will be reviewed by BPS. You will receive a decision regarding your eligibility to sit for the examination within 30 calendar days. Be advised that the initial eligibility decision may be revised if the candidate is later found to be ineligible; if so, the application fees will be refunded.
- All approved candidates will receive an approval email as well as an Authorization to Test (ATT) email including a BPS examination ID and a link to the Prometric scheduling portal.
- Failure to schedule an examination during the approved testing window will result in a forfeiture of all fees and will require a re-submission of the examination application.
- Candidates for specialties in the windowed testing format must schedule the date, time, and location of their examination within the scheduled test administration window. For the 2023 April/May window, the window runs from April 3 – May 1. For the 2023 August/September window, the window runs from August 28 – September 18.
- For specialties in the continuous testing format, candidates will have 365 calendar days from the date of application approval to schedule the date, time, and location of their examination.
BPS certification is oriented primarily toward pharmacists licensed and practicing in the U.S.; however, we encourage international applicants to apply. Pharmacists licensed outside of the U.S., Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, or Singapore must request official graduation documents from the university where they obtained their pharmacy program degree. Pharmacists who obtained their pharmacy degree outside the U.S., Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, or Singapore, but are currently licensed in either of those countries, only need to provide a copy of their current state board of pharmacy license to accompany their application.
Applicants who graduated from a pharmacy program outside the U.S., Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, or Singapore and who are not licensed to practice pharmacy in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, or Singapore should refer to the Helpful Tips for International Candidates Guide before submitting their application.
Non-U.S. candidates must provide BPS with the following at the time of application:
- Electronic documentation of current active legal authorization to practice pharmacy in their country of origin or residence.
- An electronic copy of an official graduation transcript (e-transcript) and/or an official graduation certificate (translated into English, if that is not the original language) as a part of the online application process indicating that the individual has completed an educational program preparing them for basic pharmacy practice (as part of the online application process). The e-transcript must be provided by the university, college or school of pharmacy and candidates will be required to provide the name and email address of the staff member who provided the e-transcript. Click here for instructions on submitting e-transcripts in the certification application process. BPS may contact the staff member to verify that the e-transcript is an official document that was provided by the educational program or institution.
- A sealed hard copy of transcripts or certificate of graduation with seal sent directly from the college or university where they received their pharmacy degree. It is preferred that the school send the documents in English. Submit a Graduation Documentation Request Form to request education documentation from your university. (Candidates must submit an application online prior to having this documentation sent to BPS). Candidates should instruct their university to send sealed copies of their transcripts or certificate directly to:
Board of Pharmacy Specialties
2215 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20037-2985
The application will not be considered complete until BPS has received this documentation directly from the candidate’s school. For specialties in continuous testing, applications submitted without a transcript will not be reviewed and approved until the transcript has been received directly from the candidate’s school. The 30-day review timeline will not begin until we receive your transcript. BPS reserves the right to request hard copies of official documents in addition to electronic submissions at anytime to assist in the application and verification process.
Throughout all BPS specialty certification examinations, all measurements from laboratory test results are expressed in traditional U.S. units. A conversion chart will NOT be offered as part of the examination. A reference table of normal lab values is NOT provided. Candidates should take this into consideration when preparing for the examination.
BPS is aware that examination questions dealing with procedures or regulatory issues in the U.S. are not necessarily pertinent to candidates who practice in other countries. However, all candidates are given the same examination and are held to the same standard of achievement, regardless of the country in which they practice and the regulations under which they practice.
Note BPS certification does not confer the privilege to practice pharmacy in the U.S. or in any other country.
All applicants will be notified by BPS via email of their eligibility to sit for the examination within 30 calendar days of the receipt of their application and fee. Candidates should keep a record of their unique candidate eligibility ID number and use it in all correspondence with BPS. For the steps following application approval please see the section titled Scheduling.
If an application is denied, the entire fee will be refunded to the credit card on file. Applicants will receive an email with an explanation as to why the application was denied. Applicants will also be notified by email if their application is incomplete.
Payments are made in USD or by credit card (e.g., Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover). Purchase orders will NOT be accepted.
All fees are subject to change at the sole discretion of BPS.
The application fee payment must accompany each completed application. The fee for first-time applicants for specialty certification is $600 USD. Candidates who are taking an examination in the windowed testing format who have failed an initial certification examination within the past year have the option to apply for a retake examination within a year of the previous attempt for a reduced fee of $300 USD.
Candidates who fail a certification examination will have to apply for a retake examination and pay a discounted fee of $300 USD to retake the examination. A candidate pursuing a specialty certification will be allowed two retake examinations, with a minimum of 90 calendar days and a maximum of 200 days between each retake. If a passing score is not achieved after the third attempt, a candidate must wait 12 months to submit a new application, pay the current application fee of $600 USD and begin the process again.
Declined Credit Cards
When a credit card transaction is declined for any reason, an alternate valid credit card number must be provided.
Candidates should note, if they submit a payment and receive an “Error 12” message, this is due to submitting a different billing address from the one the financial institution has on file. Contact your financial institution to confirm the correct billing address before reattempting the payment.
Forfeiture of Fees
Candidates will forfeit their examination fees if they:
- Fail to schedule an examination appointment, OR
- Fail to arrive at the test center at the date and time they are scheduled for examination, unless they have an approved withdrawal
Candidates who forfeit examination fees must apply at the full price if they wish to re-register for a future examination.
ArmyIgnitED/U.S. Army Credentialing Assistance Program
BPS has been approved as a vendor in the U.S. Army Credentialing Assistance (CA) Program. Soldiers can apply for funding support to sit for BPS Board certification through this program. For more assistance on the CA program please go to the Army Credentialing Assistance (CA) Program page and download the Soldier CA Process Guide which will take you step-by-step through the process.
The following U.S. Army Credentialing Assistance (CA) Program rules should be noted:
- Soldiers may only request CA funding for credentials listed in Army Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL). Soldiers will complete a CA Request in ArmyIgnitED. Once submitted, ArmyIgnitED will route the CA Request through to ACCESS, ArmyU CA team.
- Soldiers CANNOT begin courses/exams until they are notified by the Finance team at ACCESS, ArmyU. Please note that soldiers are NOT allowed to start a course/exam before payment, or they will be liable for the total cost of the course.
- Soldiers will not receive reimbursement for any out-of-pocket costs paid.
- Unused funds submitted to BPS for examination costs are NEVER transferred to solders.
- The U.S. Army CA Program covers all BPS certification examination costs to include one (1) retake examination should the candidate be unsuccessful and the annual certification maintenance fees. However, preparation and study materials are not covered because board certification is an independent assessment of knowledge and skills. In addition, BPS does not have any control over whether preparation material providers are part of the U.S. Army CA Program.
- Soldiers can only apply for funding support once a calendar year per Army CA Program policy. Because preparation materials are not covered, preparation time should be considered when planning to apply for BPS Board Certification. BPS estimates that the timeline from filing an application to obtaining exam results and a certificate, if successful, is approximately 9 months. However, BPS does not guarantee this timeline, so plan accordingly.
- Extensions can only be requested by soldier, and the approval must be granted by the U.S. Army CA Program.
- In order to withdraw, soldiers must withdraw within their Army CA program account. BPS cannot withdraw the soldier per U.S. Army CA Program policy.
- Retired personnel must follow the same protocol as civilian personnel and request post access through the Service Now portal located on the ArmyIgnitED portal. There is no exception for this policy.
- Per the memorandum of agreement signed between BPS and the Department of the Army, certificates of completion are a required item to participate in Army CA Program. Score reports are made available approximately 90 calendar days of the final examination date of a windowed examination and within 60 calendar days of the administration of an examination in the continuous testing model. Per Army CA requirements, BPS will upload certificates of completion to the ArmyIgnitED portal for the soldier within 10 calendar days of the score report being made available.
- The Army CA Program is specific to the Army only. To view the other services COOL programs, visit www.cool.osd.mil.
- For those Soldiers who wish to recertify via examination this program covers the cost of the recertification examination administered by BPS. Soldiers who wish to recertify via continuing education are responsible for obtaining and paying for those materials/credits themselves.
- For more information, visit the Army COOL webpage and select Credentialing Assistance. There are related links that are updated monthly that cover process guides, full credential searches, approved vendor list, and other topics.
American With Disabilities Act
BPS complies with the relevant provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for individuals with documented disabilities. Any requests must be submitted to BPS in advance, accompanied by the appropriate forms and uploaded at the time of the online application submission. The request for testing accommodations must include verification of the disabling condition from a professional specializing in the relevant area and a description of the requested accommodation. If accommodation is not requested in advance, its availability cannot be guaranteed.
You may also visit Prometric’s webpage for additional details about available preapproved personal items permitted during testing that do not require a special accommodations request. Preapproved personal items are subject to inspection by test center staff.
Qualified Individual with a Disability
A candidate with a disability is one who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits that person in one or more major life activities (e.g., walking, talking, hearing, performing manual tasks), has a record of such physical or mental impairment, or is regarded as having such a physical or mental impairment.
A “qualified individual with a disability” is one who has a disability and satisfies the requisite skill, experience, education, and other requirements of the service, program, or activity of which he or she is being measured; and, with or without accommodations, can perform the essential functions of the service, program, or activity. An essential function is one that individuals are required to perform, and removing that function would fundamentally change the service, program, or activity.
A person must be a “qualified individual with a disability” to be protected under the ADA.
Reasonable accommodation provides candidates with disabilities a fair and equal opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skill in the essential functions being measured by the examination. Reasonable accommodations are decided based on the individual’s specific request, disability, documentation submitted, and appropriateness of the request. Reasonable accommodations do not include steps that fundamentally alter the purpose or nature of the examination.
Reasonable accommodations generally are provided for candidates who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits that person in one or more major life activities (e.g., walking, talking, hearing, and performing manual tasks), have a record of such physical or mental impairment, or are regarded as having a physical or mental impairment.
To apply for reasonable accommodation and ensure appropriate accommodations can be provided, candidates must submit their completed ADA Request Form and all additional documentation as part of the application process.
The information and any documentation regarding the candidate’s disability and need for accommodation during the examination will be considered strictly confidential and will be used solely to determine the candidate’s eligibility for accommodation. Supporting documentation must be supplied as part of the application process. Professionals submitting documentation in support of a candidate’s request for accommodation may be contacted by BPS or Prometric for clarification of any information provided concerning the requested accommodations.
Failure to notify BPS of needed accommodations at the time of application submission or at least 30 days before sitting for the examination may result in the accommodations not being available at the time of the testing appointment.
Managing Your Examination Appointment
Scheduling in Testing Centers
In order to help ensure the greatest probability that candidates receive their preferred test center and date, BPS recommends registering as early as possible.
Once the application is complete, all candidates must schedule their testing appointment at least 7 calendar days prior to their preferred testing date.
Prometric will provide telephone and email support to candidates on matters related to scheduling an examination appointment. Prometric will provide a voicemail inbox to accept candidate inquiries outside of normal U.S. business hours of 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (U.S. Eastern Time).
Once an examination appointment is scheduled, the candidate will receive a confirmation email from Prometric outlining the appointment details.
The candidate must bring a current, government-issued photo identification with a signature to the test center. Acceptable forms of identification include driver’s licenses, passports, and government-issued identification cards.
The candidate’s first and last name as it appears on the confirmation email must match that which appears on the government-issued photo identification. Candidates are responsible for contacting BPS with any name changes that occur after the submission of their application. Candidates can request a name change through their MyBPS profile and will be required to upload a PDF or JPG copy of government-issued identification showing their new name as part of that request. All name change requests must be received no later than 30 calendar days after application submission.
Through an arrangement with Prometric, BPS candidates may schedule their examinations at more than 275 test centers within the United States and more than 275 test centers outside of the U.S. Test center locations can be found on the Prometric website.
Live Remote Proctoring (LRP) is an option for eligible candidates in the U.S., Australia, or Canada as an extension of a BPS pilot program. For more details on this offering, review the Live Remote Proctoring appendix below.
Candidates will be able to begin scheduling examination appointments after receiving an application approval email from BPS including a link to the Prometric scheduling portal.
The Prometric network available to candidates generally has ample seats to meet demand for the BPS examinations. Prometric will employ reasonable efforts to secure the test center and date requested by the candidate; however, BPS cannot guarantee availability of an examination session at a specific location within the designated period. Seats are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, based on test center availability. It is recommended that you schedule your examination as soon as possible.
BPS does not provide information on hotel or travel arrangements. Candidates are encouraged to use their own travel agent or one of the online search engines to locate hotel accommodations near a test center as well as maps and driving directions.
Scheduling with Live Remote Proctoring
BPS has partnered with Prometric to provide live remote proctored (LRP) testing on a limited basis. Live Remote Proctoring (LRP) is an option for eligible candidates in the U.S., Australia, or Canada as an extension of a BPS pilot program. To be eligible, candidates must reside in the U.S., Australia, or Canada.
Prometric will employ reasonable efforts to provide for adequate remote proctors to meet demand for the BPS examinations; however, BPS cannot guarantee availability of an examination session at a specific time.
While LRP testing generally mirrors traditional in-center test processes, there are important disclosures to consider before deciding to schedule an LRP examination:
- Review the ProProctorUser Guide in preparation for your examination.
- Ensure a testing location that is indoors (walled), well-lit, with a closed door and free from background noise and disruptions. Your workstation and surrounding area must be free of pens, paper, electronic devices, etc. No content that could potentially provide an unfair advantage during your examination, including anything posted on walls or within your immediate area, is allowed during your session.
- Ensure that no third party (i.e., person or pet) is present in the room or enters the room for the duration of the examination. If this occurs, your examination will be terminated and/or your results invalidated.
- Computer view: Candidate’s computer must clearly be shown and fully inspected during the check-in process. If this cannot be accomplished with an external web-camera for desktops or mirror for laptops, file a Center Procedural Report (CPR).
Candidates outside of the U.S., Australia, or Canada are not eligible for the LRP testing pilot at this time. Violation of this policy (i.e., candidates outside of the U.S., Australia, or Canada testing using LRP) will be subject to all applicable cancellation/reschedule fees, test result invalidation, or other appropriate action.
Personal Data Collection & Processing
You must consent to the collection and processing of your personal data (including valid photo ID, video images of your person, workspace, and/or room in your home or office), and biometrics (i.e., facial recognition technology), as required by BPS.
You must remove your eyeglasses for close visual inspection (i.e., rotating 360 degrees). These inspections will take a few seconds and will be done at check-in (and again upon return from breaks) before you begin or resume testing to ensure you do not violate any security protocol.
Jewelry outside of wedding and engagement rings is prohibited. Do not wear other jewelry during testing. Hair accessories, ties, and bowties are subject to video inspection. Use of ornate clips, combs, barrettes, headbands, tie clips, cuff links and other accessories are prohibited during testing, and you will be asked to remove these items. Violation(s) of this protocol may result in the termination of your examination and notification to BPS.
Candidates may cancel or reschedule a certification or recertification exam up to five (5) calendar days prior to the scheduled examination appointment. Cancellation/Rescheduling fees will be charged as follows:
- 30 or more days prior to appointment: $35 USD fee collected by Prometric at time of transaction.
- 29-5 days prior to appointment: $60 USD fee collected by Prometric at time of transaction.
- Less than 5 days prior to appointment: no cancelling/rescheduling allowed. Your full test fee will be retained by BPS.
BPS staff will not process change requests. Change requests can be submitted here.
NOTE: All dollar amounts expressed in this Candidate’s Guide are provided in U.S. dollars (USD).
|Examination Date||Appointment Must Be Rescheduled/Cancelled By:|
|Monday||Saturday of the previous week|
|Tuesday||Sunday of the current week|
|Wednesday||Monday of the current week|
|Thursday||Tuesday of the current week|
|Friday||Wednesday of the current week|
|Saturday/Sunday||Thursday of the current week|
|Sunday||Friday of the previous week|
Candidates for specialties in the windowed testing format may withdraw or defer from the April/May or August/September examination application process prior to the close of the application deadline. Candidates for specialties in the continuous testing format have within 365 calendar days to schedule and complete their testing session and will be allowed to withdraw on a case-by-case basis.
Candidates must inform BPS of their intent to withdraw or defer in writing, no later than the close of the application window for specialties in windowed testing format or before the end of their 365 calendar days for specialties in the continuous testing format, at which point they will be able to make an official request through their MyBPS profile.
Candidates who withdraw from the application process will be refunded the fee paid minus an administrative charge of $200 USD ($250 USD if the examination has been scheduled with Prometric).
Refunds will be processed within 14 calendar days of the request.
After the application deadline, BPS will review requests for withdrawals and deferrals with decisions made on a case-by-case basis. Acceptable withdrawal or deferral requests, with appropriate documentation (e.g., physician’s letter, police report, etc.), will be considered under the following situations: serious illness (either of the candidate or an immediate family member), immediate family death, disabling accident, court appearance, jury duty, or unexpected military call-up.
Registration fees for candidates in windowed testing format with an approved emergency deferral request outside of the calendar year, from August/September to April/May of the following year are non-refundable.
Supporting documentation must be submitted to BPS within seven calendar days after the last date in the examination administration window in which they were registered to sit for the examination.
Candidates who receive a denial of their withdrawal request will forfeit all fees. If the withdrawal request is approved, all administrative fees will apply. (Refer to the Rescheduling policy above regarding cancelled (withdrawn/deferred) appointments.)
- Note: Candidates approved for examinations using the continuous testing modality may request an extension to the 365-day eligibility period if they are unable to test during that period due to an emergency. BPS will review requests for emergency continuance with decisions made on a case-by-case basis. Acceptable requests, with appropriate documentation (e.g., physician’s letter, police report), will be considered under the following situations: serious illness (either of the candidate or an immediate family member), immediate family death, disabling accident, court appearance, jury duty, or unexpected military call-up. Requests for an extension to the 365-day eligibility period will also be subject to any associated reschedule/cancellation fees.
Name and/or Address Change
All applicants are responsible for immediately notifying BPS of any address change (including email) or legal name change. Notification for admission to the examination, communication of test results, maintenance of certified status and renewal of certification depend on BPS having current information.
Any applicant or certificant who legally changes their name should immediately notify BPS. Candidates should be advised that the name they submit with their application must match their current copy of government-issued photo identification with signature (e.g., driver’s license, passport, or government-issued identification card). Failure to provide BPS with a name matching this identification may result in a denial to enter the testing center on their scheduled examination date and forfeiture of all application fees.
Candidates should update their MyBPS profile immediately with changes in information (e.g., mailing address, email address, etc.) to ensure timely communication. Address and name changes made after the mailing of certificates will result in a $50 USD charge for a duplicate certificate. Name changes that occur after submission of the application must be requested and received no later than 30 calendar days after the application submission, in order to be updated in time for your examination appointment.
Preparing for the Examination
Suggested preparation for the examination might include
- Residency or other formal training
- The study of journal articles, textbooks, or other publications related to the content outline
- Continuing education programs and courses in specialized pharmacy practice
- Study groups and examination preparation courses; and/or
- Sample examination items, which are provided on the BPS website for candidates to familiarize themselves with the various item formats that are presented on the examination, and are not to be interpreted as an indicator of examination performance.
Potential applicants may contact the organizations noted here, which offer courses and materials for the specialty or specialties listed. The listing is provided as a convenience for candidates; BPS and its specialty councils neither sponsor nor endorse training or educational opportunities in specialized practice areas or preparatory courses for any of the BPS examinations. BPS does not have any official agents outside of the U.S.
Note, this is not intended to be a comprehensive list of sources and candidates using any preparatory resources agree to abide by all U.S. copyright laws in the use of examination preparation materials.
A BPS specialty certification examination samples the knowledge required to perform the tasks in each of the major areas of responsibility of the specialty as defined through a job analysis. The examination does not attempt to test knowledge at all levels or settings in the specialized practice area. Mastery of the knowledge and skills involved in the defined scope of specialized practice is necessary for board certification regardless of the practice in which an applicant is currently involved.
BPS specialty certification examinations are constructed according to test specifications derived from job analyses. BPS conducts these job analyses with qualified subject matter experts to establish the test specifications used to and construct examinations.
BPS publishes the examination specifications document specific to each examination and strongly encourages candidates to become thoroughly familiar with this document. This document includes the content outline, which defines the scope of the assessment in terms of the knowledge and skills assessed by the examination and notes the number of items allocated to each content area. The examination specifications documents are developed via a job analysis every 5 years and periodically updated to reflect changes in practice. Candidates should ensure that they are referring to the current examination specifications document for their specialty area.
Eligibility Requirements and Examination Content Outlines for each specialty can be found here:
- Ambulatory Care Pharmacy
- Cardiology Pharmacy
- Compounded Sterile Preparations Pharmacy
- Critical Care Pharmacy
- Emergency Medicine Pharmacy
- Geriatric Pharmacy
- Infectious Diseases Pharmacy
- Nuclear Pharmacy
- Nutrition Support Pharmacy
- Oncology Pharmacy
- Pediatric Pharmacy
- Psychiatric Pharmacy
- Solid Organ Transplantation Pharmacy
New regulations, drugs, and therapies are continually incorporated into the examination content. All BPS specialty certification examinations reflect current, best practice guidelines. Examinations are assembled months prior to the administration date, so they may not always reflect all the changes that may have occurred in pharmacy practice during that time. Furthermore, great care is taken to exclude from the examination any content associated with rapidly evolving or emerging practice changes. When in doubt, refer to pharmacy practice guidelines as they were about 6 to 12 months prior to the examination administration date. Official United States Adopted Name (USAN) generic names are used on all BPS examinations for all drug products.
Four-option multiple-choice items constitute most examination items; however, some of the specialty examinations also use alternate item types such as multiple-choice items, multiple-response items, and items supplemented with images.
If a candidate has issues with the computer during the examination session, the candidate should notify the proctor immediately and await further instruction. Most technical issues are resolved quickly with a simple refresh of the screen or by the proctor logging you back into the examination.
BPS specialty certification examinations are delivered via computer. While it is not the norm, technology issues can occasionally occur, as there could be software loading, keyboard, or other workstation issues. These types of issues may require the proctor to log you back into their examination. If this happens, the candidate should inform the proctor that there is a computer issue.
If a technical issue lasts longer than 30 minutes and prevents the candidate from continuing with the examination, they may choose to stop and reschedule to another day, or continue to wait for the resolution. Again, most technical issues are resolved quickly.
Candidates will be provided with a scientific calculator app available on their computer screen for use during the examination. A sample calculator is available on the BPS website.
Candidates will have the option to add comments to each examination item (question). They can specify any issues with an item in the comment section of the item and not at the end of the examination session. The comments will be collected and shared in aggregate for review by BPS staff and the applicable BPS specialty council. Comments will not be used in the scoring of the examination.
Instructions will be provided to candidates on their computer screen. Only answers submitted via computer will be scored. Answers written on whiteboards will not be scored.
BPS certification examinations are administered by Prometric, through its affiliated test centers. Candidates may test through its affiliated test centers. Live Remote Proctoring (LRP) is an option for eligible candidates in the U.S., Australia, or Canada as an extension of a BPS pilot program. For more details on this offering, review the Live Remote Proctoring appendix below.
Sample Examination Items
BPS has provided sample multiple-choice items to provide candidates with an opportunity to review the format of the items used on BPS specialty certification examinations. They are used strictly for the purpose of exam content format and not indicative of actual content on the examinations. BPS may also utilize alternate item types on some examinations including multiple-choice, multiple-response, and items supplemented with images.
Sample Examination Items can be found here.
On The Day of the Examination
Checking-In on Examination Day at Test Center
All candidates should arrive at the test center 30 minutes prior to the scheduled examination appointment. Candidates who arrive 30 minutes after their scheduled appointment may be refused admission. Refunds will not be issued in the event of a forfeited appointment.
The candidate must present a valid government-issued photo identification (ID) with a signature. Candidates will be required to sign-in and will be instructed on where to store personal items and where to keep identification. The candidate’s identity will be verified every time they enter or leave the testing room.
Once the candidate has been checked-in, they will be escorted by examination staff to a workstation. The candidate must remain at the workstation unless authorized to leave by test center staff. Candidates may not leave the room without test center staff permission. If the candidate leaves the room without permission prior to completing their examination, they will forfeit the examination appointment and there will be no refund of applicable fees.
Onsite staff will provide the candidate with an erasable note board and writing utensils which may be replaced as needed during the examination. The candidate may not remove the note boards and candidates are not allowed to use their own scratch paper or writing tools. Additionally, candidates taking the computer-based examination will be provided with a scientific calculator available on their computer screen for use during the examination.
The examination room temperature can be unpredictable; therefore, we suggest that candidates bring appropriate clothing with them (e.g., sweater, sweatshirt without hood) to help them adapt to a cooler or warmer climate in the examination room. Candidates may bring soft earplugs, with no wires or cords attached, if they are sensitive to noise. If a candidate chooses to bring earplugs, they will be subject to inspection by the on-site staff.
Checking-In on Examination Day via LRP
While LRP testing generally mirrors traditional in-center test processes, there are important disclosures to consider. For more details, review the LRP appendix below.
- Prior to launching your examination, you must download and install the ProProctor Application and perform a computer system check. It is highly recommended that you use your personal computer for LRP testing.
- An original, valid (i.e., unexpired), government issued photo and signature-bearing ID is required to take an examination. You will be required to show your workspace and surrounding area using your webcam.
- You will be required to raise your pant legs above your ankles, empty and turn all pockets inside-out and raise shirt sleeves above your wrists prior to every entry into the virtual test center.
- If you are wearing eyeglasses, you will be required to remove them for 360-degree visual inspection to ensure they do not contain any recording device(s). Large jewelry items must be removed from your person prior to and throughout the duration of the examination.
- If you have long hair that covers your ears, you will be asked to pull your hair back to ensure nothing is affixed or embedded in your ear(s).
Candidates who arrive at the examination center 30 minutes after the scheduled examination appointment time will be denied admission and forfeit all examination fees. Refunds will not be issued for forfeited appointments. If an appointment is forfeited, there is no refund of the examination fee.
Failure to appear, schedule, or reschedule an examination session in fewer than seven (7) calendar days before a testing appointment (outside of the special circumstances listed above) will count as the candidate’s testing examination. The candidate will be marked as a no-show candidate and all testing fees will be forfeited. No-show candidates will have the option to apply for a future examination at full price.
No-Show for a Retake Examination: If a candidate is marked as a no-show for a retake examination using the reduced retake rate, the candidate will be required to pay the full $600 USD fee.
Inclement Weather and Cancellations
Prometric will attempt to contact candidates in the event of a test center closure due to inclement weather to reschedule their appointment. As test centers close, emails are issued to the candidates impacted notifying them of the closures, and Prometric’s website is also updated with this information.
However, because closures can occur at any time during inclement weather, it is the responsibility of the candidate to contact Prometric to receive the most up-to-date information regarding whether a test center is open or to reschedule the examination appointment. If a test center is officially closed, candidates will not be charged a rescheduling fee. If a test center is open and the candidate does not keep their appointment, the candidate forfeits all fees.
BPS and Prometric follow industry standard examination rules as outlined below.
If a candidate leaves the testing area during the exam at any time without first notifying proctor, the proctor will note the time of departure and terminate the exam immediately.
As a condition of selecting LRP, candidates must have access to reliable high-speed internet service and computer equipment and acknowledge that neither Prometric nor BPS bears responsibility for any candidate’s computer malfunctions, internet service issues, or power outages should any arise. In the unlikely event that an LRP examination is interrupted for more than 10 minutes (including, but not limited to, extended power outage or loss of internet connection), the examination session will be terminated and a report filed with BPS. If the candidate is disconnected or disrupted for whatever reason, after three occurrences, the examination will be terminated. To maintain the security of sensitive examination content, candidates will not be permitted to retest in the current examination window. However, each case will be reviewed, and after review, candidates may be granted an opportunity to register to retake an examination in a future testing window.
Personal Item Exception at Examination Centers
At this time, we are expanding the Personal Item Exception policy to allow medical masks and medical rubber gloves.
Candidates wearing surgical or medical masks should be mindful of the following:
- The candidate should briefly remove the mask so identification can be visually verified
- During this brief removal, the masks should be visually inspected at check-in to look for notes written inside. Test center administrators should not touch or handle the masks during inspection
- Candidates choosing to wear masks during testing need to keep the mask on for the duration of testing. If a candidate decides to remove the mask during their examination, they should be made to store it in their locker
- The mask should be removed for image capturing if it is required for the examination.
Candidates are also permitted to wear medical rubber gloves in the test room. Gloves will be briefly visually inspected per our security policies and checked for any notes concealed or written on them.
Prohibited Items at Test Centers
Prometric staff will provide candidates with instructions regarding items that may be securely stored during the exam and accessed during the scheduled, optional breaktime. Candidates are expressly prohibited from bringing the following items into the exam room:
- Cameras, cell phones or other mobile devices, optical readers, or other electronic devices that include the ability to photograph, photocopy, or otherwise copy test materials
- Notes, books, dictionaries, or language dictionaries
- Book bags or luggage
- iPods, MP3 players, headphones, or pagers
- Computers, PDAs, iPads, or other electronic devices with one or more memory storage banks
- Personal writing utensils (e.g., pencils, pens, and highlighters)
- Food and beverage (in the examination room)
- Hats, hoods, or other headwear unless required for religious purposes
All items are subject to inspection by the proctor. If on-site staff determines that a candidate has brought any prohibited items to the examination center, they may request that candidates surrender them for safekeeping for an indefinite period. BPS and Prometric reserve the right to review the memory of any electronic device that may be in the candidate’s possession at the examination center to determine whether any examination materials have been photographed or otherwise reproduced.
If the review determines that any examination materials are in the memory of any such device, BPS and Prometric reserve the right to delete materials and/or retain them for subsequent disciplinary or legal action. Upon completion of the review and any applicable deletions, BPS and Prometric will return the device to the candidate. BPS and Prometric will not be responsible for the deletion of any materials that may result from the review, whether or not such materials are examination materials.
By bringing any such device into the test center in contravention of BPS and Prometric policies, the candidate expressly waives any confidentiality or other similar rights with respect to the device, BPS and Prometric review of the memory of the device and/or the deletion of any materials. BPS, Prometric, the examination center, and the test center staff are not liable for lost or damaged items brought to the examination center.
Prohibited Items and Examinee Conduct in the Virtual Testing Center
Requests for special accommodations will be reviewed by BPS staff on a case-by-case basis and addressed as per existing BPS policy.
Candidates should note that leaving the camera view while the examination is in progress (see policy on unscheduled breaks), is strictly prohibited. Changing locations while testing, turning off lighting or audio, speaking to or receiving aid from other individuals is also strictly prohibited.
Unauthorized personal items must not be accessible while testing. Such items include, but are not limited to: outerwear, hats, food, drinks, purses, bags or briefcases, notebooks, watches, cell phones, wearable technology, electronic devices, calculators, or mechanical pens and pencils.
Candidates are not permitted to access any personal items or electronic devices at any time during the examination, even while on break. If the candidate is observed with these items, the exam will be terminated and the candidate will not be allowed to reschedule in the same window.
Eating, drinking, smoking, and chewing gum are prohibited during the examination.
Written notes, published materials, or other testing aids are prohibited.
Light clothing items removed for comfort such as sweaters, suit jackets, scarves, etc., must be hung on the examinee’s chair, not placed in laps or on the workstation desktop. Outerwear such as heavy coats, parkas, raincoats, etc., is not permitted in the testing area.
Use of Scratch Paper
The policy on the use of scratch paper (i.e., dry erase board) for in-center testing is described in another section. For LRP candidates, options for the use of two pieces of blank candidate supplied scratch paper (or as an alternative an online digital whiteboard) will be confirmed by Prometric at the time of LRP test administration. If using blank paper, it must be 8″x10″ computer printer paper, and candidates must show the blank paper (front and back) to the proctor during check-in. At the end of the exam, candidates must rip up the scratch paper in front of the camera so that the proctor can observe disposal of the scratch paper. Candidates should note that the testing engine used by Prometric contains an online calculator for use during the testing session. The use of a separate calculator is strictly prohibited. Mechanical pens and pencils are also prohibited.
The policy on the use of scratch paper for LRP candidates is described below:
- Two pieces of blank, candidate-supplied scratch paper (must be 8”x10” sheet of white paper) will be permitted by Prometric at the time of LRP test administration.
- Candidates must show the blank paper (front and back) to the proctor during check-in.
- Candidates are required to show the proctor both sides of scratch paper, then tear sheets into multiple pieces and discard them, before leaving exam.
- Mechanical pens and pencils are prohibited.
Effective May 1, 2023, candidates testing in Prometric test centers and via live remote proctoring will be allowed to bring water into the test room during their exam, as a standard operating procedure.
Details of the policy:
- Only water is allowed, and it must be in a clear or transparent container with a lid or cap.
- All labels must be removed, and the container will be inspected for notes or other test aids.
- The candidate will need to remove the lid/cap for visual inspection by the test center staff.
- Should the container not meet the requirements outlined, the candidate will be required to put it in their locker and will not be allowed to take it into the test room.
Examination Schedule for Windows Testing Specialties
- Certification candidates will be provided timed examination periods, outlined here:
- Examination Part 1 (100 items): 2.5-hour testing period
- Break (optional): Up to 30 minutes
- Examination Part 2 (75 items): 1 hour, 53-minute testing period
- Recertification candidates will be allowed a 2.5-hour examination period to complete the 100-item recertification examination.
Examination Schedule for Continuous Testing Specialties
The examination day schedule is provided below for specialties moving to continuous testing.
Certification candidates will be provided timed examination periods, outlined here:
- Certification Examination (150 items): 3 hours, 45 minutes
- Recertification Examination (100 items): 2 hours, 30 minutes
Note: For continuous testing, there are no scheduled breaks offered during certification or recertification examinations. Any breaks a candidate may take will use a candidate’s existing time. One 10-minute optional unscheduled break is permitted, and a proctor should be notified in advance of taking this optional break. Failure to notify the proctor of an unscheduled break may result in the invalidation of the candidate score.
Among the 150 items, the certification examination includes 25 unscored pretest items that are embedded within the test and represent new items that are being trialed before use as a scored item in subsequent forms of the examination.
Recertification candidates will be allowed a 2.5-hour examination period to complete the 100-item recertification examination.
Candidates are required to notify the proctor and wait for the proctor to respond before leaving for a scheduled or unscheduled break. Failure to inform the proctor prior to taking a scheduled or unscheduled break or failure to return on time, will result in an inability to complete the exam. Upon their return, a full security scan will be conducted prior to resuming the exam. In both scheduled and unscheduled breaks, the candidate should notify the proctor and wait for confirmation before leaving the examination area; otherwise, the examination may be terminated. If a candidate takes an unscheduled break during an examination, that time is deducted from their examination period.
Candidates are reminded that they should arrive at the examination center 30 minutes in advance of their scheduled appointment time.
On the day of the examination, all candidates MUST present a valid government-issued photo identification with a signature (e.g., driver’s license, passport) to be admitted to the testing room. Candidates who arrive 30 minutes after their scheduled examination time and candidates without valid photo identification will not be admitted to the examination. If that occurs, their fees will be forfeited.
Candidates will not be permitted to enter the examination room unless proper identification as described above is presented.
Scheduled and Unscheduled Breaks
Candidates are required to notify the proctor and wait for the proctor to respond before leaving for a scheduled or unscheduled break. A candidate is not allowed to leave camera view without first notifying and being acknowledged by the proctor at any time. Failure to inform the proctor prior to taking a scheduled or unscheduled break or failure to return on time, will result in an inability to complete the exam. Upon return, a full security scan will be conducted prior to resuming the exam.
- Only one 10-minute optional unscheduled break is permitted, and a proctor must be notified, and candidate acknowledged beforehand.
- In both scheduled and unscheduled breaks, the candidate should notify the proctor and wait for confirmation before leaving the examination area, otherwise the examination may be terminated.
Exam candidates who take an unscheduled break during a Live Remote Proctored examination are prohibited from revisiting examination items previously viewed. Failure to comply with this policy could result in the cancellation of examination scores. Candidates who take an unscheduled break (duration should not exceed 10 minutes) during an examination will have that time deducted from their examination period.
BPS examinations are the confidential property of BPS and are protected by trade secret law, copyright law, and other applicable state and federal laws and regulations. BPS and its testing agency maintain examination administration and security standards that are designed to assure that all candidates are provided with the same opportunity to demonstrate their abilities.
Before beginning the examination, candidates will be asked to read and sign a Statement of Confidentiality. This statement restricts candidates from sharing any information about the examination with other individuals, including discussions with any colleagues who might be planning to take the examination.
Proctors are authorized by BPS and its examination administrator to maintain a secure and proper examination administration environment.
Candidates will be allowed to leave the testing room during the test administration to use the restroom facilities if they follow the test center procedures. Candidates are required to notify the proctor and wait for the proctor to respond before leaving for a scheduled or unscheduled break. If a candidate takes an unscheduled break outside of the optional break time (between Part 1 and Part 2 of the initial certification examination) or during a recertification examination, that time is deducted from their examination period. Candidates will be inspected for devices such as hand-held scanners, cameras, tape recorders, or other electronic equipment. Areas around the testing room (e.g., hallways, restrooms, telephone stalls) are monitored throughout the examination for security purposes. Be aware that you will be observed at all times while taking the examination. Observation may include direct observation by center staff, as well as video and audio recording of your examination session.
Candidates may not communicate with other candidates during the examination. Anyone who provides or receives assistance during the examination will be dismissed from the examination room. Candidates may not photograph, record, or memorize any examination material. Other causes for dismissal include, but are not limited to, using notes, references, or any test aids; using unauthorized calculators; causing a disruption to the environment; and removing any examination material from the testing center. Candidates who are dismissed from the examination room forfeit all fees.
Personnel authorized and trained by Prometric will proctor the examination. No other individuals are permitted in the room during the examination except for the candidates and persons authorized by BPS and/or the examination administrator.
Statement of Confidentiality for BPS Examinations
- This examination and the test items contained herein are the exclusive property of BPS.
- This examination and the items contained herein are protected by copyright law. No part of this examination may be copied or reproduced in part or whole by any means whatsoever, including memorization.
- The theft or attempted theft of any examination materials is punishable as a felony.
- Participation in any irregularity occurring during this examination such as giving or obtaining unauthorized information or aid, as evidenced by observation or subsequent analysis, may result in termination of participation, invalidation of the examination results or other appropriate action.
- Further discussion or disclosure of the contents of the examination orally, in writing, or by any other means is prohibited.
The electronic signature on a candidate’s application indicates that they have read, understood, and agree to be bound by the statement of confidentiality and that they have read and understood the BPS Candidate’s Guide. Failure to comply can result in termination of the candidate’s participation, invalidation of the results of the examination, or other appropriate action.
Confidentiality of Examination Content Administered Through Live Remote Proctoring
The remote proctoring application, computer-based test delivery system, tutorial, examination content, and surveys are the published, confidential, proprietary materials, and intellectual property of Prometric and/or BPS.
Communicating, publishing, reproducing, or transmitting any part of an examination in any form or by any means (e.g., verbal, electronic, written, etc.) for any purpose is strictly prohibited. ANY reproduction or disclosure will result in immediate notification to BPS and potential filing of administrative, civil, and/or criminal charges against you and anyone directing or conspiring with you.
After the Examination
During the computer-based examinations, candidate responses are stored in real time as candidates progress through an examination. The candidate’s response for each question is recorded and scored against the answer key. It is to the candidate’s advantage to answer every question on the examination. There is no penalty in the scoring formula for guessing.
The individual score report will indicate whether the candidate passed or failed the examination.
- Candidates in the windows testing model can expect to receive their score reports electronically within 90 calendar days following the close of the scheduled examination administration window.
- Candidates in the continuous testing model can expect to receive a score report electronically within 60 calendar days of their testing session.
Candidates can access score reports by logging into their MyBPS account.
For reasons of privacy and confidentiality, examination results are released to the candidate only. Examination results will not be given via email, telephone, or fax. Access to a candidate’s score report is limited to the staff at BPS who are involved in the processing of these reports. BPS will not release personal information (other than the name of certified individuals under established policy) without written authorization.
To protect the security and integrity of the specialty certification examinations, neither BPS nor its examination administrator release examination questions, individual answer strings, or the answer key to any individual or organization. Efforts are made by BPS, its specialty councils, and its examination administrator to produce completely accurate examinations; however, if a candidate believes there is an error in an examination question, the concern should be noted in the candidate’s comments on the examination and the candidate should contact BPS immediately after the examination.
The passing standards, or cut scores, used in BPS examinations were established using criterion-referenced procedures that are widely used in certification. Criterion-referenced passing standards link the score required to pass an examination to the minimum level of knowledge required for specialty certification. Each BPS specialty certification program establishes its own passing standard.
Equating and Scaled Scores
BPS creates new versions, or forms, of all examinations on a regular basis. In assembling the new forms, BPS and its consultants follow best practices in certification testing so that all forms of an examination are comparable.
A statistical procedure called equating is used to consider any differences in relative difficulty of the test forms and to ensure that candidates are measured against an equitable and consistent passing standard. Test scores are then transformed onto a score scale between 200 and 800, with 500 representing the passing point. The process of scaling accommodates score interpretation and ensures that all candidate scores are reported on a common scale.
Scores will range from a minimum of 200 to a maximum of 800. The minimum passing score on BPS examinations is 500. Pass/fail decisions are based on the total score indicated on the score report, not on the performance in the domains.
Interpreting The Score Report
The score report is designed to inform examinees of their performance on the examination and serves as a record of their testing session. Each score report will identify the name of the examinee, the examination, and the date of examination administration.
- For examinees who are successful in achieving a passing score, the score report will notify them of their passing outcome and identify next steps for the maintenance of their certification. The examinations are designed to differentiate those who meet the minimum requirements of knowledge, skills, and experience. As such, no score or any other feedback is provided to successful certification and recertification candidates, in order to avoid any unfair comparison among successful certification and recertification candidates.
- For examinees who are unsuccessful in achieving a passing score, the score report will notify them of their total score, include a description of their performance by content domain, and identify next steps should they choose to retake the examination. The range used to report total scores is uniform across all BPS examinations, with 200 representing the minimum possible score, 500 representing the minimum score required to pass the examination, and 800 representing the maximum possible score. This reporting scale is an arithmetic re-scaling of the total number of items answered correctly. The total score is provided to help unsuccessful candidates determine how their performance compares to the minimum passing score. Domain-level performance feedback is also provided to unsuccessful candidates to give candidates a sense of their performance in each major area of the examination content outline, but candidates are advised to exercise caution in interpreting this information. The qualitative domain-level performance feedback of high, moderate, and low correspond to the number of examination items answered correctly in the respective content domains, but the difficulty of content within each domain may differ from one another. Unsuccessful certification candidates are advised to review all areas of the examination content outline before a subsequent attempt, regardless of domain-level performance on previous attempts.
Comparative Review and Hand Scoring
A comparative review verifies that the candidate’s answers were scored against the correct examination answer key to confirm the candidate’s examination was scored properly. Candidates should note that the computer-based examination scoring process is accurate, and that the BPS scoring process already includes several quality assurance steps.
To request a comparative review/hand scoring of a BPS examination, a candidate must complete and submit the request form on their MyBPS profile, along with submission of a $50 USD fee. Requests must be received within 30 calendar days of the candidate receiving the score report. Candidates should allow 30 calendar days to process requests.
An appeals process is available to any individual who has applied for or received a BPS certification and wishes to contest any adverse decision or proposed action affecting their application for certification or recertification status other than a failed examination score.
BPS provides a two-step appeals process for resolution of any questions or complaints concerning an action or decision by the BPS Board of Directors. The first step of the process includes a reconsideration review procedure which is handled by BPS. The second step of the process is an appeals procedure which is handled by a specially appointed appeals committee. The individual must first file the request for reconsideration before filing an appeal.
Requests for reconsideration or appeal can be submitted electronically using the required, Request for Reconsideration or Appeal form, via the BPS website using the link: “Appeals Policy and Procedures”.
If you experience an examination administration issue and wish to file a complaint, the complaint must be received by BPS within five (5) calendar days of your examination date by using the link: Examination Appointment Issues.
Retaking the Examination
If a candidate fails to achieve a passing score on the examination, retaking the examination is permitted. The fee for retaking the examination is $300 USD. If the candidate does not retake the examination within a one-year period, re-submission of the complete application will be required, along with re-payment of the full fee in effect at that time.
Candidates who fail a certification examination will have to apply for a retake examination and pay a discounted fee of $300 USD to retake the examination. Candidates pursuing a specialty certification will be allowed two retake examinations, with a minimum of 90 calendar days and a maximum of 200 days between each attempt. If a passing score is not achieved after their third attempt, a candidate must wait 12 months to submit a new application, pay the current application fee of $600 USD and begin the process again.
An individual who fails one specialty examination may NOT apply for another specialty examination as a retake candidate.
Retake candidates who withdraw from taking the examination are processed as described in the Withdrawals section.
Annual Certification Maintenance
All BPS-certified pharmacists are required to register annually with BPS and pay a $125 USD annual certification maintenance fee. An invoice will be sent to each certificant via email in May of every year of the certification cycle including the first year. The $125 USD annual fee is not required in the last year of a certification cycle. Payment is due within 45 calendar days of that email notification. Pharmacists holding more than 1 BPS certification are assessed only one annual fee but are required to submit the $400 recertification fee with their recertification application for each specialty.
Failure to pay the annual fee results in removal of the individual’s name from BPS’ official list of certified pharmacists. This list of BPS-certified specialists “in good standing” is published on the BPS website. Upon applying for recertification, all outstanding annual fees and a $5 USD penalty fee for each late payment will be due. Failure to pay the annual certification maintenance fees may result in suspension of the certification.
For more information regarding the Maintenance of Certification click here.
To maintain “active” board certification status, recertification is required every 7 years.
Certificants are expected to keep their certification current. If requirements are not completed at the end of the 7-year cycle, the certification lapses. Reinstatement can be achieved only by the successful completion of the entire certification process. See Recertification Guide for more information.
Suspension and Withdrawal of Certification
Policy on Suspension of Certification
BPS shall be responsible for suspending, withdrawing, or changing the scope of certification. The certification of an individual may be suspended for:
- Failure to complete or fulfill requirements for certification or recertification;
- Failure to maintain professional licensure;
- Determination that certification or recertification was improperly granted;
- Misrepresentation or misstatement of facts submitted upon application for certification or recertification;
- Violation of Conflict of Interest and/or confidentiality/ non-disclosure attestations to BPS; and/or
- Violation of the Ethics and Professionalism Policy.
Policy on Withdrawal of Certification
If a complaint is received by BPS which upon investigation is related to certificant licensure and the practice of pharmacy governed by various regulatory bodies BPS will refer this complaint to the State Board of Pharmacy serving the certificants official mailing address in BPS files. BPS will closely monitor the action of the state board, and if the certificant’s license is revoked or suspended, BPS may withdraw the certificant’ s certification. Additionally, failure to meet requirements for the ethics and professionalism policy may also result in a withdrawal of a certificant’s certification.
In the event of a withdrawal, the certificant must discontinue the use of any reference to BPS certification. Withdrawal for failure to maintain licensure or to recertify in accordance with BPS recertification policy is automatic and non-discretionary. All other grounds for withdrawal of certification are discretionary on the part of the Board of Pharmacy Specialties.
Certificates, Digital Badges, and Lapel Pins
All successful examinees receive a complimentary certificate suitable for framing, a BPS digital badge, and a BPS lapel pin are automatically sent to newly certified specialists approximately 90 calendar days after receiving their score report. Note: Candidates will not need to request the certificate through the online portal. Certificants have 1-year to claim their complimentary certificate.
BPS is the only authorized agency that issues BPS certificates. These certificates are exclusively provided through our approved vendor, The Award Group (TAG). It’s crucial to be cautious of any groups claiming to represent BPS. To avoid any confusion or scams, we recommend verifying your purchases by directly contacting BPS if you have any questions or concerns.
Use of the BPS Mark and Logo
The BPS certification mark and logo are the property of Board of Pharmacy Specialties®. Permission to use the certification logo or mark is granted to certified persons at the discretion of BPS for permissible uses only. A candidate who passes the examination will receive a certificate with a raised seal suitable for framing and will have the right to claim the mark of a BPS Board-Certified Pharmacy Specialist.
Use of the BPS logos or mark is limited to those persons who have been granted BPS designation and who satisfy all maintenance and recertification requirements established by BPS. Use of the certification mark or logo by individuals who have not been granted and have not maintained the BPS certification is expressly prohibited.
Use of the Designation
To use letters in one’s title, individuals must: (1) meet and continue to meet BPS certification and recertification standards; and (2) demonstrate the requisite experience requirements. Successful individuals are authorized to use the following certification marks or designations in communications and marketing materials, once they have earned the specific designation: BCACP®, BCCP®, BCSCP®, BCCCP™, BCEMP®, BCGP®, BCIDP®, BCNP®, BCNSP®, BCOP®, BCPPS®, BCPS®, BCPP®, and BCTXP®.