Candidate’s Guide

Last Updated on: February 12, 2024

General Information

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 and three public members. 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 Directors, 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 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:

  1. To enhance public/consumer protection by developing effective certification programs for specialty practices in pharmacy.
  2. To grant recognition of appropriate pharmacy practice specialties based on criteria established by the Board of Pharmacy Specialties.
  3. To establish standards for certification and recertification of pharmacist specialists in recognized pharmacy practice specialties.
  4. To grant eligible pharmacists with certification and recertification in recognized pharmacy practice specialties.
  5. 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 pharmacist 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.

Pharmacists certified in a specialty are frequently sought for professional consultations. 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. It is one way to demonstrate advanced knowledge and skills independent of and in addition to a degree program, license, practice experience, or post-graduate training.

Recognition of BPS Certification

BPS-certified pharmacist specialists are recognized for their specialized knowledge and skills by many government and regulatory agencies. BPS certification does not confer the privilege to practice pharmacy in the U.S. or in any other country. The following are examples of specific benefits that may be realized by BPS-certified pharmacist specialists:

  • Accredited by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) under ISO 17024 international standards.
  • 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, District of Colombia, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. Board-certified pharmacists in the following states may receive Continuing Pharmacy Education (CPE) 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.

Disclaimer: The information provided above is accurate as of Q4 2023. State laws and rules are updated occasionally. For the most up-to-date information, please contact the appropriate State Board of Pharmacy.

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).

Overview

This Candidate’s Guide is intended for use by pharmacists who are interested in becoming certified as specialists by BPS in any of the BPS-recognized specialty practice areas. This guide provides information on BPS certification processes: eligibility requirements, application procedures, examination administration, annual certification maintenance, and recertification. This document is ONLY A GUIDE. The information, procedures, and fees detailed in this publication may be amended, revised, or otherwise altered at any time and without advance notice from BPS. The provision of this guide does not confer any rights upon an applicant. The information contained in this guide supersedes information contained in all previous editions of the BPS Candidate’s Guide. All correspondence and requests for information concerning the administration of BPS specialty certification examinations should be directed to:

Board of Pharmacy Specialties
2215 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20037-2985
(202) 946-5026
www.bpsweb.org

Nondiscrimination Policy

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.

Impartiality Statement

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 is committed to protecting confidential or proprietary information related to applicants and certification holders, as well as the examination development, maintenance, and administration process.

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.

Examination Results

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.

Application Status

An applicant’s status is considered confidential. BPS does 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.

NOTE: All dollar amounts expressed in this guide are provided in U.S. dollars (USD).

Credential Verification

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, zip code, certification(s) held, and certification status.

BPS Database

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, zip code, 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, examination administration records, and active applicant data indefinitely. BPS retains submitted paper documentation for one year. After one year, BPS shreds those documents. Applicants/certificants should retain their own copies of all documentation sent to BPS.

BPS Email Communication Guidelines
The email address listed on your MyBPS profile is our primary means of communicating with you. Maintain your current email address, mailing address, and phone number in your profile. Ensure info@bpsweb.org is added as a safe sender to avoid our communications from being filtered to a junk folder located in your email account or server.

As a recipient of BPS emails, you have the option to unsubscribe from our mailing list. If you opt out or unsubscribe from any BPS emails, you are still responsible for adhering to the contents of our communications, including policy changes. BPS sends periodic reminders related to annual certification maintenance fees, recertification requirements, and important news that you may miss out on if you unsubscribe from our communications.

The option to unsubscribe does not apply to, and you will not have the option to opt out from, communications pertaining to (i) our invoices to you and other billing or accounting matters, (ii) your certification, recertification, and the status or maintenance of your certification in good standing, and (iii) the prevention of fraud or other misconduct that may affect your rights or the rights of others.

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.

  • 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 Live Remote Proctoring (LRP) available for eligible candidates in the U.S., Australia, or Canada. For more details on this offering, review the Live Remote Proctoring information in this guide.
  • For specialties with windowed test administration, candidates may only apply and sit for the test during established dates. BPS is transitioning some specialties towards continuously available test administration, such that candidates may apply anytime and sit for an examination anytime within their 365-calendar-day eligibility period.
    • In 2023, BPS announced that it would begin transitioning specialty certification examinations to a continuous testing model. The board-certified cardiology pharmacist (BCCP), board-certified nuclear pharmacist (BCNP), board-certified oncology pharmacist (BCOP), and board-certified psychiatric pharmacist (BCPP) certification and recertification examinations are currently available for continuously available exam application and testing appointments.
    • In 2024, BPS will transition eight certification programs to the continuous testing model. The board-certified ambulatory care pharmacist (BCACP), board-certified critical care pharmacist (BCCCP), board-certified geriatric pharmacist (BCGP), board-certified infectious diseases pharmacist (BCIDP), board-certified nutrition support pharmacist (BCNSP), board-certified pediatric pharmacy specialist (BCPPS), board-certified pharmacotherapy specialist (BCPS), and board-certified sterile compounding pharmacist (BCSCP) certification and recertification examinations will be available for continuously available exam application and testing appointments. For more details and information on certification exam registration, review the sections indicating Continuous Testing. For more details and information on certification exam registration, review the sections indicating Continuous Testing.
Examination Dates
  • The April/May 2024 Window
    • The application window is between January 3 – February 23
    • The testing window is between March 25 – April 15
  • The September/October 2024 Window
    • The application window is between July 8 – August 26
    • The testing window is between September 24 – October 15
  • The table below details the testing mode for each BPS Specialty Certification.
2024March/AprilSeptember/October
BCACPWindow TestingContinuous Testing Begins
BCCPContinuous Testing Available
BCCCPContinuous Testing Begins –
BCEMPWindowWindow
BCGPWindowContinuous Testing Begins
BCIDPWindowContinuous Testing Begins
BCNPContinuous Testing Available
BCNSPContinuous Testing Begins
BCOPContinuous Testing Available
BCPPContinuous Testing Available
BCPPSContinuous Testing Begins
BCPSWindowContinuous Testing Begins
BCSCPWindowContinuous Testing Begins
BCTXPWindowWindow

Eligibility Requirements

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).

  1. Create an online MyBPS profile on the BPS website. A unique candidate number (e.g., IND-XXXXXX) is assigned once the profile is created.
  2. Click on the “Apply for New Certification” link found on the MyBPS profile home page. Review the eligibility criteria for the relevant specialty before applying.

At the time of application, candidates will be required to upload a PDF or JPG version of current pharmacist license or registration. Candidates will also be required to upload a letter verifying the practice experience claimed on the 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. Residency completion and practice experience provided for eligibility must have a completion date within the last 7 years. If a PGY1 residency is not accredited by ASHP or CPRB, it may be used to satisfy the practice experience eligibility pathway.

FOR APPLICANTS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES, AUSTRALIA, CANADA, SAUDI ARABIA, or SINGAPORE:
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 Tips for International Candidates Guide before submitting their application.

Applicants licensed or registered outside of the U.S., Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, or Singapore must upload a copy of their transcripts or certificate of graduation with an official seal as part of the application. 

If education was completed outside of the U.S. but are current pharmacist license/registration is held in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, or Singapore, graduation documentation is required. If practice experience was completed outside the U.S., Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, or Singapore, a copy of pharmacist license/registration for that timeframe is required as part of the application. 

  1. The application will be reviewed by BPS. A decision regarding your eligibility to sit for the examination will be communicated within 30 calendar days. The initial eligibility decision may be revised if the candidate is later found to be ineligible; if so, the application fees will be refunded.
  2. Approved candidates receive an approval email and Authorization to Test (ATT) email including a BPS examination ID and link to the Prometric scheduling portal.
  3. Failure to schedule an examination will result in a forfeiture of all fees and will require a re-submission of the examination application.
    1. Candidates for specialties in the windowed testing format must schedule the date, time, and location of their examination within the scheduled test administration window. The windows are March 25 – April 15 and September 24 – October 15.
    2. For specialties in the continuous testing format, candidates have 365 calendar days from the date of application approval to schedule the date, time, and location of their examination.

Information Sources

The application will not be considered complete until BPS has has processed the received transcript or graduation certificate. For specialties in continuous testing, applications submitted without a transcript will not be reviewed and approved until the transcript has been processed. The 30-day review timeline will not begin until BPS has received the transcript. BPS reserves the right to request a copy or e-transcript of official documents at any time to assist in the application and verification process.

Throughout BPS specialty certification examinations, measurements from laboratory test results are expressed in metric units. A conversion chart is NOT offered as part of the examination. A reference table of normal lab values is NOT provided during examination administration. Candidates should take this into consideration when preparing for the examination.

BPS is aware that examination items dealing with procedures or regulatory issues in the U.S. may not be necessarily pertinent to candidates who practice in other countries. However, all candidates are given the same examination and are held to the same standard regardless of the country in which they practice and the regulations under which they practice.

Processing Applications

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 completed application and fee. Candidates should keep a record of their unique candidate eligibility ID number and use it in all correspondence with BPS, regarding the examination. For the steps following application approval, see the section titled Scheduling.

Incomplete applications requiring further information will be marked as Needs More Info in the MyBPS profile. The applicant is notified by email of the status and is required to supply the requested information within 15 business days.

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 for denials. 

Application Fees

Application fee payment must accompany the completed application . The fee for first-time applicants is $600 USD. Candidates who have failed a certification examination within the past 12 months have the option to apply for a retake examination for a reduced fee of $300 USD.

A candidate is 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, the candidate must wait 12 months to submit a new application, pay the application fee of $600 USD, and begin the process again.

Outstanding dues to BPS (e.g., overdue annual maintenance fees from previously held certifications) must be paid prior to submitting a new certification application.

Payments must be made in USD 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.

Declined Credit Cards

If a credit card transaction is declined, an alternate valid credit card number must be provided.

If receiving an “Error 12” message, this is due to to some or all of the billing information not matching the billing details associated with the card that is being used. Contact the financial institution to confirm the correct billing address before reattempting the payment.

Forfeiture of Fees

Forfeit of examination fees occurs if:

  • Candidate fails to schedule an examination appointment, OR
  • Candidate fails to arrive at the test center at the scheduled date and time with acceptable identification, unless they have an approved withdrawal.

Candidates who forfeit examination fees must submit a new application at the full price if they wish to sit 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 learn how to apply for CA on the Process Overview page. For detailed instructions on completing a CA request using ArmyIgnitED, download the Soldier CA Process Guide located on the Credentialing Assistance page.

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/examination 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-associated certification examination costs. 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.
  • In order to withdraw, soldiers must withdraw within their Army CA program account. BPS cannot withdraw soldiers 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 to 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 the 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 “Pass” or “Fail” status 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.
  • This program may be used to cover the cost of the certification examination, a retake fee (if applicable), the recertification examination, and annual maintenance fees.
  • 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.

Click here to view The Soldier’s Guide to Certification infographic.

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.

More information about BPS ADA Policy can be found on the BPS Website. Candidates 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.

The request for testing accommodations must include the following documentation from a physician:

  • A specific diagnosis of the disability using professionally recognized nomenclature (e.g., American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual)
  • A current evaluation (conducted no more than three years prior to the request for accommodations)
  • Clear description of the specific diagnostic criteria and names of all diagnostic tests used, including dates(s) of evaluation
  • Detailed description of the applicant’s current functional limitations due to the diagnosed disability and an explanation of how the diagnostic test results relate to the identified functional limitations
  • Recommendations of specific accommodations including assistive devices, including a detailed explanation of why these accommodations or devices are needed and how they will reduce the impact of the identified functional limitations on the specific exam for which they are requested.
  • List of any accommodations the applicant currently uses in daily functioning
  • Physician’s contact information and credentials

Accommodation availability cannot be guaranteed if not requested as part of the application.

Managing Your Examination Appointment

Scheduling: Test Centers

For the greatest probability of obtaining the preferred test center and date, BPS recommends submitting an application as early as possible.

Prometric provides telephone and email support to candidates on matters related to scheduling an examination appointment. Prometric provides a voicemail box for inquiries outside of normal business hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (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. Digital IDs are not accepted.

The candidate must confirm that the first name and last name on the application are exactly as they appear on the photo identification presented at the test center. Candidates will be denied admission to the test center if there is a name mismatch and will forfeit all fees paid to BPS.

Candidates must request a name change through their MyBPS profile and will be required to upload a PDF or JPG copy of a government-issued identification. Name change requests must be received no later than 30 calendar days after application submission.

BPS candidates may schedule their examinations at more than 200 test centers within the U.S. and more than 200 test centers outside of the U.S. Locations can be found on the Prometric Website. 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 examinations be scheduled as soon as possible.

Candidates must schedule an examination appointment after receiving the authorization to test (ATT) email from BPS.

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: Live Remote Proctoring

Live Remote Proctoring (LRP) is an option for eligible candidates in the U.S., Australia, or Canada.

Candidates must schedule an examination appointment after receiving the authorization to test (ATT) email from BPS.

Prometric will employ reasonable efforts to provide adequate remote proctors to meet demand for the BPS examinations; however, BPS cannot guarantee availability of an examination session at a specific time.

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 the examination.
  • Ensure a testing location that is indoors (walled), well-lit, with a closed door and free from background noise and disruptions. The workstation and surrounding area must be free of pens, paper, electronic devices, etc. No content that could potentially provide an unfair advantage during the examination, including anything posted on walls or within the immediate area, is allowed during the 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, the examination will be terminated and/or the 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 a mirror for laptops, file a Center Procedural Report (CPR).

Candidates outside of the U.S., Australia, or Canada are not eligible for LRP testing 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 applicable cancellation/rescheduling fees, test result invalidation, or other appropriate action.

Personal Data Collection & Processing for LRP

Candidates must consent to the collection and processing of personal data (including valid photo ID, video images of the candidate, workspace, and/or room in the home or office), and biometrics (i.e., facial recognition technology), as required by BPS.

Candidates must remove 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 beginning or resuming testing to ensure adherence to 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 is prohibited during testing, and candidates will be asked to remove these items. Violation(s) of this protocol may result in the termination of examination and notification to BPS.

Rescheduling

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.
  • 5-29 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. Full test fee will be retained by BPS.

BPS staff cannot cancel or reschedule examination appointments. To reschedule or cancel, visit the Prometric website here

Examination DateAppointment Must Be Rescheduled/Cancelled By:
MondaySaturday of the previous week
TuesdaySunday of the current week
WednesdayMonday of the current week
ThursdayTuesday of the current week
FridayWednesday of the current week
Saturday/SundayThursday of the current week
SundayFriday of the previous week

Withdrawals

Candidates for specialties in the windowed testing format may withdraw from the March/April or September/October examination prior to the close of the application deadline by submitting a withdrawal request in their MyBPS profile.

After the exam registration deadline, the request is considered an emergency withdrawal and supporting documentation is required seven calendar days after the last date in the examination testing window. BPS will review emergency withdrawals with decisions made on a case-by-case basis. Acceptable emergency withdrawal 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.

For continuous testing examinations, candidates can submit an emergency withdrawal request from the examination through their MyBPS profile 30 calendar days after the original testing appointment.

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 whose withdrawal request is approved will be refunded the examination fee, minus administrative charges. BPS will retain $200 USD for administrative costs and an additional $50 USD will be retained if the examination has been scheduled with Prometric.
Candidates who receive a denial of their withdrawal request will forfeit all fees. If the withdrawal request is approved, all administrative fees will apply.

Refunds will be processed within 14 calendar days of the approved withdrawal request.

Deferrals

Candidates for specialties in the windowed testing format may defer from the March/April or September/October examination prior to the close of the application deadline. If an exam appointment is pending, the candidate must cancel the appointment and pay the cancellation fee before submitting a deferral request.

For windowed examinations, 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. A candidate may only request 2 deferrals. Any additional deferral requests will be denied with no refunds. 

Candidates for specialties in the continuous testing format may request an extension to the 365-day eligibility period if they are unable to test during that period due to an emergency. Requests for an extension to the 365-day eligibility period will also be subject to any associated reschedule/cancellation fees. For continuous examinations, supporting documentation must be submitted to BPS 30 calendar days after the original testing appointment.

BPS will review requests for deferrals submitted after the application deadline with decisions made on a case-by-case basis. Deferral 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.

Name and/or Address Change

The candidate must confirm that the first name and last name on the application are exactly as they appear on the photo identification presented at the test center. Candidates will be denied admission to the test if there is a name mismatch.

Candidates must request a name change through their MyBPS profile and will be required to upload a PDF or JPG copy of a government-issued identification. All name change requests must be received no later than 30 calendar days after application submission.

Address and name changes made after the mailing of certificates will result in a $50 USD charge for a duplicate certificate.

Preparing for the Examination

Suggested preparation for the examination might include the following:

  • Residency or other formal training;
  • Journal articles, textbooks, or other publications related to the content outline;
  • Continuing pharmacy education programs;
  • Study groups;
  • 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

Candidates may contact organizations noted here, which offer materials for the specialty or specialties listed. The listing is provided as a convenience for candidates; BPS does not create, sponsor, nor endorse training or educational opportunities for any BPS examinations. BPS does not have any official agents outside of the U.S.

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.

Examination Content

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 construct examinations.

Examination Specifications

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 percentage of items allocated to each content area. The examination specifications documents are developed via a job analysis approximately 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.

Examination Content Outlines for each specialty can be found here.

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 items 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.

Examination Format 

Four-option multiple-choice items constitute most examination items; however, some of the specialty examinations also use alternate item types such as multiple-response items (i.e., more than one response must be selected), and items supplemented with images.

Candidates will be provided with a scientific calculator 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. Examinees must 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 or scratch paper will not be scored.

Sample Examination Items

BPS has provided sample examination 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. 

Sample Examination Items can be found here.

On The Day of the Examination

Checking-In on Examination Day: Test Center

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 (i.e., unexpired) government-issued photo identification (ID) with a signature. Digital IDs are not accepted. Candidates are 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 will not be refunded any fees paid to BPS or Prometric. 

Onsite staff will provide the candidate with an erasable noteboard 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, which will be subject to inspection. 

Checking-In on Examination Day: Live Remote Proctoring

While Live Remote Proctoring (LRP) testing generally mirrors traditional in-center test processes, there are important disclosures to consider. 

  • Prior to launching the examination, download and install the ProProctor Application and perform a computer system check. It is highly recommended to use a personal computer for LRP testing.
  • An original, valid (i.e., unexpired), government issued photo and signature-bearing ID is required to take an examination. Candidates are required to show their workspace and surrounding area using your webcam.
  • Candidates are required to raise pant legs above the ankles, empty and turn all pockets inside-out and raise shirt sleeves above wrists prior to every entry into the virtual test center.
  • If wearing eyeglasses, candidates are 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 prior to and throughout the duration of the examination.
  • If the candidate has long hair covering the ears, the candidate will be asked to pull hair back to ensure nothing is affixed or embedded in the ear(s).

Late Arrivals

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.

No Shows

  • Failure to appear at a scheduled exam appointment, or failure to appear with appropriate identification, will count as the candidate’s testing session and the candidate will be marked as a no-show.
  • For candidates in a windowed examination, failure to schedule an exam appointment by the end of the examination window will count as the candidate’s testing session and the candidate will be marked as a no-show.
  • For candidates in a continuous testing examination, failure to schedule an exam appointment by the end of the 365-calendar-day eligibility period will count as the candidate’s testing session and the candidate will be marked as a no-show.
  • Failure to reschedule an exam appointment less than 5 days prior to an appointment, without a BPS-approved exemption, will count as the candidate’s testing session and the candidate will be marked as a no-show.

For initial examinations: If a candidate is marked as a no-show, they will forfeit their fees and will have the option to apply for a future examination and pay the full $600 USD application fee.

For retake examinations: If a candidate is marked as a no-show for a retake examination using the reduced retake rate, the candidate will have the option to apply for a future examination and will be required to pay the full $600 USD application fee.

Inclement Weather and Cancellations If a test center closes due to inclement weather, Prometric will email impacted candidates to notify them of the closure. Prometric’s website is also updated with this information. 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.

Internet Issues During the Examination: Test Center

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 the candidate back into their examination. If this happens, 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 back into the examination.

If a technical issue lasts longer than 30 minutes and prevents the candidate from continuing with the examination, the candidate may choose to stop and reschedule to another day or continue to wait for the resolution.

Examination Rules

BPS and Prometric follow industry standard examination rules as outlined below.

Unscheduled Departure from Camera View/Testing Area

If a candidate leaves the view of the camera at any time during an LRP exam without first receiving the proctor’s permission, the proctor will note the time of departure and terminate the exam immediately and the candidate will not be refunded.

Candidates at a test center 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 will not be refunded.

Internet Outages and Interruptions of LRP Examinations

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. In the 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 Prometric will file a report 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 for windowed examinations, or within 90 days for continuous testing if they are disconnected for any reason. Upon review of each case, candidates may be granted an opportunity to retake their examination.

Prohibited Items: Test Centers

Prometric staff will provide candidates with instructions regarding items that may be securely stored during the exam and accessed during the optional, unscheduled break time. 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)
  • Watches
  • Food and beverage (in the examination room)
  • Hats, hoods, or other headwear unless required for religious purposes
  • Calculators

 

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 at check-in for security purposes. 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 entire testing session. If the mask is removed, it should be stored in the candidate’s 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.

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: Live Remote Proctoring

Unauthorized personal items must not be accessible while testing. Such items include, but are not limited to the following: 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 current examination window for windowed examinations, or within 90 days for continuous testing.

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.

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, or speaking to or receiving aid from other individuals is also strictly prohibited and will result in the testing session being terminated and all fees will be forfeited.

Requests for special accommodations will be reviewed by BPS staff on a case-by-case basis and addressed as per existing BPS policy.

Use of Scratch Paper

Candidates sitting for an examination in a test center are not permitted to bring their own scratch paper or writing utensils. Erasable boards, scratch paper, and writing utensils are provided at the test center.

The policy on the use of scratch paper for LRP candidates is described below:

  • Two pieces of blank scratch paper (must be 8”x10” sheet of white paper) will be permitted by Prometric at the time of LRP test administration. The candidate must supply the paper.
  • Candidates must show the blank paper (front and back) to the proctor during check-in.
  • At the end of the examination, candidates are required to show the proctor both sides of the scratch paper, then tear the paper into multiple pieces and discard it.
  • Mechanical pens and pencils are prohibited.

Water Policy

Effective May 1, 2023, candidates testing in Prometric test centers and via LRP will be allowed to bring water into the test room during their examination, 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 Duration Format

Certification and Recertification Examinations (150 items): 3 hours, 45 minutes

Among the 150 items, the 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.

Scheduled and Unscheduled Breaks 

Scheduled breaks are not offered during certification or recertification examinations. One 10-minute optional unscheduled break is permitted and will be deducted from the candidate’s existing time. A proctor must be notified and approve this optional break. Failure to notify the proctor of an unscheduled break may result in the invalidation of the candidate’s score and forfeiture of all fees. Upon their return, a full security scan will be conducted prior to resuming the exam.

Exam candidates who take an unscheduled break during an LRP 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.

Security

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 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. Candidates are observed at all times while taking the examination. Observation may include direct observation by center staff, as well as video and audio recordings of the 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 test 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

  1. This examination and the test items contained herein are the exclusive property of BPS.
  2. 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.
  3. The theft or attempted theft of any examination materials is punishable as a felony.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 LRP

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) for any purpose is strictly prohibited. ANY reproduction or disclosure will result in immediate notification to BPS and the potential filing of administrative, civil, and/or criminal charges against the candidate and anyone directing or conspiring with the candidate.

After the Examination

Examination Scoring

During the computer-based examinations, candidate responses are stored in real-time as candidates progress through an examination. The candidate’s response to each examination item is recorded and scored against the answer key. It is to the candidate’s advantage to answer every item 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 windowed 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 by the examinee.

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.

Passing Standard

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 follows 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 allows for a consistent means of score reporting and interpretation for all candidate.

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 exclusively on the total score indicated on the score report.

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 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 corresponds 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. The computer-based examination scoring process is accurate and 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.

Appeals Process

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 the candidate experiences an examination administration issue and wishes to file a complaint, the complaint must be received by BPS within five (5) calendar days of the 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 a certification 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 payment of the full fee in effect at that time.

Candidates who fail a certification examination must apply for a retake examination and pay the discounted retake fee. 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 Withdrawal section.

Annual Certification Maintenance Fee

All BPS-certified pharmacists are required to pay a $125 USD annual certification maintenance fee. An invoice will be sent to each certificant via email annually in May including the first year. Payment is due by July 1. Pharmacists holding more than one BPS certification pay only one annual certification maintenance fee. The annual certification maintenance fee is not required in the seventh (final) year of a certification cycle. Certificants (including those holding more than one certification) are required to submit the $400 recertification fee with their recertification application in their seventh (final) year for each specialty.

Effective January 1, 2025, multi-certified pharmacists in a recertification year who don’t complete recertification requirements for a specialty they decide not to renew are required to pay the annual certification maintenance fee for the remaining active credential(s).

Failure to pay the annual fee by July 1 results in a change from “active” to “activity pending” certification status, which will display on the public directory, Find a Board Certified Pharmacist. Remittance of the annual maintenance fee will result in return to active status.

A $5 USD late fee will be applied each year the fee remains unpaid. Failure to pay the fees may result in suspension of the certification.

Upon applying for recertification or new specialty certification, all outstanding fees must be paid.

The annual certification maintenance fee supports the BPS mission by funding the ongoing work of BPS on behalf of its certified specialists: maintenance of current, credible certification examinations, maintenance of recertification examinations and related processes, research on the impact and value of certification, and exploring new specialty certifications. All fees are subject to change at the sole discretion of the Board.

For more information regarding the Maintenance of Certification click here.

Recertification

To maintain “active” certification status, the certificant is required to hold an active license/registration, pay all pending fees, complete recertification requirements, and submit a recertification application in year seven.

For certificants with a cycle starting January 1, 2024 or after, 2 units of assessed continuing pharmacy education (CPE) via BPS-approved professional development program (PDP) provider or 2 units of self-selected, self-reported continuing professional development (CPD) must be reported annually. Failure to earn the 2-unit annual minimum will result in a change from active status to “activity pending” certification status. Documentation of the 2-unit annual minimum will result in return to active status.

If recertification requirements are not completed at the end of the 7-year cycle, the certification will lapse. Reinstatement can be achieved only by the successful completion of the entire certification process. See the 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 that 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 or relevant governing body serving the certificants official mailing address in BPS files. BPS will closely monitor the action of the state board or governing body, 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 from Credly, a BPS-authorized  vendor, and a BPS lapel pin. These items are automatically sent to newly certified pharmacists approximately 90 calendar days after receiving their score report.

Certificants will not need to request the certificate through the online portal. 

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 purchases by directly contacting BPS with any questions or concerns.

Use of the BPS Mark and Logo

The BPS certification mark and logo are the property of the 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 the BPS pharmacy certification 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®.