Pharmacotherapy

Pharmacotherapy Specialty Certification (BCPS)

Target Population: Pharmacists who ensure the safe, appropriate, and economical use of medications in a variety of practice settings, with emphasis on direct patient care and optimization of medication therapy. 

Program Purpose: To validate that the pharmacist has the advanced knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to optimize the safety and efficacy of healthcare outcomes in diverse patient populations across a variety of practice settings.

Currently there are more than 31,530 BPS Board-Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialists.

Pharmacotherapy Specialty Council Members

The purpose of the BPS Specialty Councils is to develop standards and eligibility requirements for board certification, develop examinations and passing standards for certification, and review and approve professional development programs for recertification of board-certified pharmacists. Specialty council members are at the heart of the peer-reviewed and peer-developed nature of BPS Board Certification.

Jacqueline Olin, Chair PharmD, MS, BCPS, CPP, CDCES, FASHP, FCCP

Olin is currently a clinical pharmacist per diem at Novant Health Matthews Medical Center in Matthews, North Carolina. Previously she was a Professor of Pharmacy at Wingate University School of Pharmacy and clinical practice faculty in adult internal medicine and oncology at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. She received a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and a Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences from Binghamton University and Rutgers University. She earned her PharmD Degree from the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University and completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Jersey.

Bruce M. Jones
Bruce M. Jones, Vice Chair PharmD, BCPS, FIDSA

Dr. Bruce M. Jones is an Infectious Diseases Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System practicing in the Savannah City-Wide Antimicrobial Management Program. He also serves as an Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor for the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy and a Clinical Preceptor for Mercer University, University of Georgia, University of South Carolina, and South University Schools of Pharmacy. He received his Doctor of Pharmacy from East Tennessee State University Gatton College of Pharmacy in Johnson City, Tennessee. He then completed a Postgraduate Year One (PGY1) Pharmacy Practice Residency at St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System. Dr. Jones is a member of IDSA, ASHP, GSHP, ACCP, SIDP, and the Southeastern Research Group Endeavor (SERGE-45). Dr. Jones currently serves on the BPS Pharmacotherapy Specialty Council and is board certified in pharmacotherapy (BCPS).

Lindsay M. Arnold, PharmD, MPH, BCPS

Arnold is the Clinical Manager for Pharmacy Services at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, Massachusetts. She received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts and completed her pharmacy practice residency at the University of Nebraska Medical Center followed by a specialty residency in Adult Internal Medicine with an emphasis in Cardiology at Virginia Commonwealth University. Previous to this position, she served as a clinical specialist in internal medicine, cardiology and anticoagulation.

Jennifer Cole, PharmD, BCPS, BCCCP, FCCP, FCCM

Dr. Jennifer Cole is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at the Veterans Healthcare System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Her practice area includes critical care medicine, internal medicine, and pharmacogenomics. After she received her PharmD from UAMS Little Rock, she went on to complete a PGY1 residency at the VA North Texas Healthcare System in Dallas, Texas. This was followed by a PGY2 residency in critical care at the University of Washington Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. Her research endeavors deal primarily with quality improvement and implementation science.

Shawn Griffin, PharmD, BCOP

Griffin is a Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy Practice at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences. He is also a pharmacist within the Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Program at UCI Health. Prior to joining UCI, Griffin worked as a Hematology/Stem Cell Transplant pharmacist at Indiana University Health for five years. He received his BS from Boston College and his PharmD from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. After graduation, Griffin completed a PGY1 Pharmacy and PGY2 Oncology Pharmacy Residency at the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital.

Erik D. Maki, PharmD, BCPS

Maki is an Associate Professor and Chair of Pharmacy Practice at Drake University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. He has practiced in Internal Medicine and teaches on a variety of topics. He received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Iowa and completed a two-year Specialty Residency in Pharmacotherapy Practice at Texas Tech University.

Mary Mekheil, PharmD, BCPS, BCCP

Mekheil is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at Duly Health and Care in the Western Suburbs of IL. She received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy. She is dual certified in both Pharmacotherapy and Cardiology. Mekheil is a clinical pharmacist in internal medicine clinic with emphasis in medication therapy management, diabetes and anticoagulation.

Helen Moon, PharmD, BCPS

Moon is a Pharmacy Clinical Specialist in acute care internal medicine at Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital in Houston, Texas. She received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Campbell University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Buies Creek, North Carolina. She completed a PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice Residency with the Indian Health Service at Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, NM.

Heather Nyman
Heather Nyman, PharmD, BCPS

Nyman is an Associate Professor (Clinical) of Pharmacotherapy at the University of Utah College of Pharmacy. She is a clinical pharmacist in acute care internal medicine at the University of Utah Hospital. She received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed her PGY1 residency at the University of Utah.

Breanne Piazik, PharmD, MPH, BCPS, CPPS

Piazik is the Medication Safety Officer at Elliot Health System in Manchester, New Hampshire. She received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Rhode Island and her Master of Public Health degree from Dartmouth College.

Nicole Reardon
Nicole T. Reardon, PharmD, BCPS, FCCM

Reardon is the Clinical Pharmacy Manager for HCA Florida North Florida Hospital. She earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She completed her PGY-1 Pharmacy Residency at Oregon Health & Science University Hospitals and Clinics in Portland, Oregon, and her PGY-2 Critical Care Residency at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Prior to her current position, Reardon served as the Critical Care/Trauma Pharmacist Clinical Coordinator at HCA Florida Ocala Hospital, and as a Medical ICU Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at UF Health Shands Hospital.

Evan Williams, PharmD, MBA, BCPS, BCACP

Evan Williams is Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Roseman University of Health Sciences College of Pharmacy in Henderson, NV. He obtained a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Arizona and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Healthcare Management from Husson University in Bangor, ME. He completed residency training with a focus in ambulatory care at the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ. Board certified in both pharmacotherapy and ambulatory care pharmacy practice, he has practiced in outpatient clinics and inpatient settings. He currently focuses on transitions of care at an urban teaching hospital where he precepts pharmacy students and residents.

Eligibility Requirements

An applicant for board certification in Pharmacotherapy must demonstrate all of the eligibility requirements listed below prior to sitting for the initial certification examination. Once all of the requirements below are met, an applicant will be deemed eligible to sit for the Pharmacotherapy specialty certification examination. If an applicant achieves a passing score on the Pharmacotherapy specialty certification examination, they may use the designation Board-Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist, or BCPS.

  • Graduation from a pharmacy program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) or a program outside the U.S. that qualifies the individual to practice in the jurisdiction.
  • A current, active license/registration to practice pharmacy in the U.S. or another jurisdiction.
  • Demonstration of practice experience in one of two ways:
    • At least three years of Pharmacotherapy practice experience1 within the past seven years, with at least 50% of time spent in the scope defined by the exam content outline; or
    • Successful completion of PGY1 pharmacy residency2 within the past seven years of application date.

1All practice experience must be completed post-licensure/registration as a pharmacist. All applicants intending to demonstrate eligibility for any BPS certification examination utilizing the practice experience pathway must provide an attestation from their employer, on company letterhead, that verifies this experience accurately represents at least 50% of time spent in some or all of the activities defined by the applicable certification content outline. In addition, this practice experience must have occurred within the seven years immediately preceding the application. For more information, click here. A sample employer verification letter is available here.

2American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)-accredited/candidate status PGY1 pharmacy residency, residencies accredited under the ASHP Accreditation Standard for International Pharmacy Practice Residency Programs, or Canadian Pharmacy Residency Board (CPRB)-accredited Year 1 pharmacy residency.

The rationale for the appropriateness of the requirements for BPS certification programs are based upon the following:

  • BPS recognizes individuals who graduate from a recognized school or college of pharmacy within the candidate’s jurisdiction. Those jurisdictions recognize and evaluate programs on the extent to which it accomplishes its stated goals and is consistent with the concept that pharmacy is a unique, personal service profession in the health science field. In the United States, the responsibility for recognizing schools and colleges of pharmacy falls to the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).
  • The rationale for requiring licensure or registration of pharmacists within their jurisdiction is based upon the fact that for public protection, all pharmacists must be licensed or registered. This is considered a baseline requirement to be a pharmacist specialist. In the United States, BPS recognizes the licensure process administered by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) aims to ensure the public’s health and safety through its pharmacist license transfer and pharmacist competence assessment programs. NABP’s member boards of pharmacy are grouped into eight districts that include all 50 United States, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Bahamas, and all 10 Canadian provinces.
  • The experiential component is required to help assure practical application of components of the specialty knowledge being certified. There are multiple pathways to meet the practice experience requirement. The faster eligibility pathways recognize accredited residencies through the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP). The ASHP residency accreditation program identifies and grants public recognition to practice sites having pharmacy residency training programs that have been evaluated and found to meet the qualifications of one of the ASHP’s residency accreditations standards. Thus, accreditation of a pharmacy residency program provides a means of assurance to residency applicants that a program meets certain basic requirements and is, therefore, an acceptable site for postgraduate training in pharmacy practice in organized health care.
  • Passing the BPS pharmacy specialty examination helps assure knowledge consistent with the validated content outline for the BPS specialty.

The appropriateness of the BPS program requirements are consistent with the Council on Credentialing in Pharmacy’s Resource Paper titled: Scope of Contemporary Pharmacy Practice: Roles, Responsibilities, and Functions of Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians.

Added Qualifications

What is an Added Qualification?

With the growing complexity in pharmacologic information, there is an increased need for focused areas within established pharmacy specialties. The term, “Added Qualification,” is used to denote an enhanced level of training and experience within one segment of a BPS-recognized specialty that targets specific diseases or patient populations.

Currently, two Added Qualifications have been approved within the Pharmacotherapy specialty: Cardiology and Infectious Diseases. Please note, BPS is no longer accepting new applications for conferral or reconfirmation.  Individuals currently holding Added Qualifications or who earned the credential during the 2017 application window can keep those credentials until they expire (7 years from the date of issue) but will not be able to renew them. BPS requires that individuals with an Added Qualification designation must concurrently hold an active Board-Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS) credential.

 

Use of Added Qualifications Titles

The approved terminology for the Added Qualifications credential is, “Board-Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist with Added Qualifications in Cardiology”, “Board-Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist with Added Qualifications in Infectious Diseases”, or “BCPS with Added Qualifications in Cardiology” or “BCPS with Added Qualifications in Infectious Diseases” Other acceptable terms are BCPS-AQ Cardiology and BCPS-AQ ID.

 

Important Notice about Added Qualifications

The Added Qualifications program for Cardiology and Infectious Diseases have ended as of December 31, 2017. The Board of Pharmacy Specialties began offering board certification examinations in these specialties in Fall 2018. 

Individuals currently holding Added Qualifications or who earned the credential during the 2017 application window can keep those credentials until they expire (7 years from the date of issue) but will not be able to renew them.

In accordance with the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) standards, no person, including those who currently hold Added Qualifications, will be granted board certification in Cardiology or Infectious Diseases unless they apply for and pass the respective examinations. BPS is prohibited from conferring credentials by means of “grandfathering” as a condition of accreditation from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

If you have further questions please feel free to contact BPS Director, Professional Affairs, Ellie LaNou, at elanou@aphanet.org

Upcoming Deadlines

Individuals who meet the eligibility requirements for the BCPS examination can find more information about examination dates and fees for certification examinations here

Candidate's Guide

The 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. To review critical information for BPS Certification Examinations, visit this page.

Content Outline for BCPS

For the Spring 2024 Examination, refer to the Pharmacotherapy Content Outline found here for details.

For the Fall 2024 Examinations and forward, refer to the Pharmacotherapy Content Outline found here for details.

The examination content outline is a product of a job analysis, also known as a role delineation study, that includes discussions with a panel of 15-20 subject matter experts who represent the specialty area. These experts determine the competencies required for safe and effective pharmacy practice in the specialty area and engage board-certified pharmacists through a validation survey for their endorsement of the identified competencies. The job analysis process is conducted every 5 years to help ensure that the competencies in the examination content outline reflect current pharmacy practice in the specialty area.

Click here to review the BCPS Job Analysis Summary.

Important Resources

Preparatory Courses for BCPS Examinations

Certification is a significant differentiator, and the rigorous exam process requires concentrated study. Successful candidates are well prepared, and a number of available resources can assist pre-qualified applicants.

Suggested preparation for the examination might include:

  • The study of journal articles, textbooks or other publications related to the Content Outline.
  • Attendance at continuing education programs and courses in specialized pharmacy practice.
  • Participation in study groups and examination preparation courses.
  • Reviewing the sample examination items provided in order for candidates to familiarize themselves with the various item formats which are presented on the exam. Sample question performance should not be interpreted as an indicator of exam performance.

To maintain its strict, independent standards for certification, BPS does NOT provide review information, preparatory courses, or study guides. However, such materials are available from outside organizations, state or local professional associations and colleges of pharmacy. Potential applicants may contact the professional associations noted below for additional study resources.

The Board of Pharmacy Specialties provides the following program listing for informational purposes. This list is not an exhaustive list of options available for examination preparation. BPS does not endorse or provide preparatory courses for Board Certification Examinations.

 
Pharmacotherapy

BPS partners with Prometric to provide the examination. BPS does not have any other partnerships for the certification or recertification application process. BPS partners with professional development program (PDP) providers to provide continuing pharmacy education (CPE) for recertification and the relationship is noted here. Any organization claiming a relationship with BPS for the application process or providing CPE labeled ‘BPS-approved’ outside of the organizations listed should be reported to BPS immediately.

Certification for Applicants Outside the U.S.

BPS would like to offer some helpful tips to candidates outside of the United States in order to make their application experience easier. To learn more about applying for board certification as a pharmacist outside of the U.S., visit this page.

Apply for ADA Accomodations

BPS complies with the relevant provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For applicants looking to request special accommodations in their application process, more instructions can be found on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

After review of the BPS Candidates Guide and specialty certification page, some applicants may still have questions. Visit this page to see frequently asked questions from pharmacists pursuing board certification like you!

Sample Examination Items

Sample Items for BCPS Examinations

The sample examination items for BCPS examinations are made available by BPS for the purposes of familiarizing certification candidates and other stakeholders with the structure and format of BPS Certification Examinations. This is not meant for use as a self-assessment. Performance on any of these items does not correlate with performance on the actual examination.

The content of these examples is meant to be illustrative of actual examination items, but these items do not appear on the certification examination and are not meant to identify the scope of the examination. For a more comprehensive indication of the scope of the certification examination, please refer to the BCPS Exam Content Outline.

Examination items are in multiple-choice format. The great majority of examination items are multiple-choice with a single response from among four options. Some examinations may include a small percentage of items that require selection of multiple (three or four) responses from among a larger set of available (up to eight) options. Examinations items may also be supplemented by an image.

View the examination items down below.

A 56-year-old female patient with type 2 diabetes mellitus is not adequately controlled on the current metformin dose of 1,000 mg twice daily. The patient's A1c was checked one week ago, and it was 7.9%. The patient's body mass index is 32 kg/m2, and she has no other significant medical history.


Which medication should be added to the patient's regimen?

Glipizide
Insulin glargine
Liraglutide
Sitagliptin

Correct!

Incorrect!

Which patient is a candidate for the 12-dose directly observed therapy regimen of isoniazid / rifapentine for latent tuberculosis infection?

6-month-old infant
26-year-old man who is HIV-positive and taking antiretrovirals
36-year-old pregnant woman
40-year-old man with hypertension

Correct!

Incorrect!

Which guidance should be given to a patient receiving amphetamine / dextroamphetamine mixed salts extended release 20 mg orally once daily for a recent diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?

This medication might cause drowsiness. Use caution when driving or operating heavy machinery.
This medication might cause suicidal ideation. Seek help if you have thoughts of hurting yourself.
This medication might cause weight gain. A diet low in fat and carbohydrates is highly recommended.
This medication might increase the likelihood of developing tics.

Correct!

Incorrect!

A 48-year-old female patient receives left-ventricular-assist device placement in the cardiothoracic surgery ICU. Two days later, the patient remains intubated and mechanically ventilated and continues to require hemodynamic support with several vasopressors.


The following laboratory values are observed:































SCr1.9 mg/dL (baseline 0.7 mg/dL)
WBC13,600 cells/mm3
Urine output (past 24 hours)20 mL
Plt248,000 cells/mm3
AST37 units/L
ALT24 units/L
Total bilirubin1 mg/dL

Which medication should be utilized for pain control in this patient?

Acetaminophen 1,000 mg intravenously every 4 hours
Fentanyl 25 mcg/hr continuous intravenous infusion
Meperidine 50 mg intravenously every 4 hours
Morphine 2 mg/hr continuous intravenous infusion

Correct!

Incorrect!

A patient with symptomatic lower extremity peripheral artery disease and chronic heart failure (Class II, ejection fraction 40%) presents to a clinic with increased shortness of breath while walking on flat surfaces.


The patient's medications include the following:


Aspirin 81 mg daily
Furosemide 40 mg once daily
Potassium chloride 10 mEq once daily
Metoprolol succinate 100 mg once daily
Lisinopril 20 mg once daily
Cilostazol 100 mg twice daily

 

Which change should be made in the patient's medication regimen?

Add spironolactone 25 mg once daily.
Increase aspirin to 325 mg once daily.
Increase furosemide to 60 mg once daily.
Discontinue cilostazol 100 mg twice daily.

Correct!

Incorrect!

A 55-year-old woman calls a clinic and asks if she should stop her hormone replacement therapy after hearing a program on the news. She is currently taking conjugated equine estrogen 0.625 mg orally daily, medroxyprogesterone 5 mg orally daily, and calcium 500 mg orally twice daily. Which is an accurate statement regarding this patient's hormone replacement therapy is correct?
It decreases the risk of stroke.
It decreases the risk of non-vertebral fracture.
It decreases the incidence of cardiovascular disease.
It increases the risk of colon cancer.

Correct!

Incorrect!

Which is an accurate statement regarding the use of the HPV vaccine?

Need for the vaccination must be established beforehand by an HPV or Pap test.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the HPV vaccine for girls and women 9 to 26 years of age.
The HPV vaccine has no demonstrated benefit in girls and women who already have acquired at least one of the HPV types covered by the vaccine.
The HPV vaccine protects against all causes of cervical cancer and genital warts.

Correct!

Incorrect!

A patient received the first dose of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine 7 days ago and presents to a clinic with numerous bruises and small red spots on the lower legs. The patient is diagnosed with thrombocytopenia purpura, which is suspected to be vaccine-induced. Where should the pharmacotherapy specialist report this adverse effect?

CDC/FDA Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System
FDA Adverse Event Reporting System
FDA MedWatch
ISMP National Vaccine Errors Reporting Program

Correct!

Incorrect!

While reviewing the patient's home medications, a pharmacist discovers that a patient has been taking St. John's wort in addition to prescribed sertraline without consultation with a primary care provider. The pharmacist educates the patient on potential drug interactions between St. John's wort and sertraline, and then recommends that the patient take sertraline only.


How should the pharmacotherapy specialist document the interaction with this patient?
Communicate the interaction to the patient's prescriber, and request for the prescriber to document it in the patient's medical record.
Enter a note in the patient's medical record describing the interaction and the recommendation.
Place a patient-signed statement verifying the interaction in the patient's medical record.
Send a note to the patient's outpatient pharmacy regarding the duplicate therapy.

Correct!

Incorrect!

Which intervention is recommended for an 82-year-old patient with documented pneumococcal pneumonia and gram-positive diplococci who is unresponsive to 3 days of ceftriaxone?

Increase the dose of ceftriaxone.
Initiate ampicillin / sulbactam.
Initiate cefazolin.
Initiate vancomycin therapy.

Correct!

Incorrect!

A 54-year-old patient with type 2 diabetes mellitus is taking pravastatin 40 mg daily for coronary artery disease after having a myocardial infarction 10 months ago.


The following laboratory values were observed:


























Total cholesterol265 mg/dL
HDL cholesterol30 mg/dL
LDL cholesterol143 mg/dL
Triglycerides370 mg/dL
A1c7.1%

Which intervention is recommended?

Add niacin.
Change from pravastatin to atorvastatin.
Change from pravastatin to gemfibrozil.
Increase pravastatin.

Correct!

Incorrect!

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Recertification Requirements for BCPS

Pharmacists who earn the designation Board-Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist® (BCPS) are required to maintain their certification over a seven-year period by completing one of the following recertification pathways: 

Option One: Recertification Examination

  • For BCPS with certification beginning January 1, 2023 or earlier: Achieve a passing score on the recertification examination administered by BPS.
  • For BCPS with certification beginning January 1, 2024 or later: Achieve a passing score on the recertification examination administered by BPS and self-report 20 completed units of continuing professional development (CPD) in MyBPS. For more information on CPD, review the FAQ. To maintain an active certification in good standing, a minimum of two units of assessed CPE from BPS-approved professional development programs or self-reported CPD must be reported each year.

OR

Option Two: Professional Development Program

  • For BCPS with certification beginning January 1, 2023 or earlier: Earn 120 units of BPS-approved, assessed continuing education provided by the professional development programs offered by:
  • For BCPS with certification beginning January 1, 2024 or later: Earn 100 units, comprised of 80 units of assessed CPE from BPS-approved professional development programs offered by:
    • The American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP), and/or
    • The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).
    • Additionally, 20 units of continuing professional development (CPD) must be completed and self-reported in MyBPS. For more information on CPD, review the FAQ. To maintain an active certification in good standing, a minimum of two units of assessed CPE from BPS-approved professional development programs or self-reported CPD must be reported each year.
    • BCPS may participate in recertification from any BPS-approved BCPS programs. 

 

Year certified/recertified

New cycle start

(begin earning recert units)

Cycle expiration

(deadline to meet recert reqs)

Units required 

(PDP = professional development program)

20161/1/201712/31/2023120 units assessed CPE via BPS-approved PDP
20171/1/201812/31/2024120 units assessed CPE via BPS-approved PDP
20181/1/201912/31/2025120 units assessed CPE via BPS-approved PDP
20191/1/202012/31/2026120 units assessed CPE via BPS-approved PDP
20201/1/202112/31/2027120 units assessed CPE via BPS-approved PDP
20211/1/202212/31/2028120 units assessed CPE via BPS-approved PDP
20221/1/202312/31/2029120 units assessed CPE via BPS-approved PDP
20231/1/202412/31/2030100 units (80 units assessed CPE via BPS-approved PDP + 20 units CPD)
2024 onward1/1/2025 onward12/31/2031 onward100 units (80 units assessed CPE via BPS-approved PDP + 20 units CPD)

For full details regarding recertification, please refer to the BPS Recertification Guide.

Board-Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialists® are required to pay the BPS Annual Certification Maintenance fee of $125 each year for years one through six and the $400 recertification fee in year seven. Individuals with more than one BPS certification are assessed one BPS Annual Certification Maintenance Fee each year. 

Added Qualifications

What is an Added Qualification?

With the growing complexity in pharmacologic information, there is an increased need for focused areas within established pharmacy specialties. The term, “Added Qualification,” is used to denote an enhanced level of training and experience within one segment of a BPS-recognized specialty that targets specific diseases or patient populations.

Currently, two Added Qualifications have been approved within the Pharmacotherapy specialty: Cardiology and Infectious Diseases. Please note, BPS is no longer accepting new applications for conferral or reconfirmation.  Individuals currently holding Added Qualifications or who earned the credential during the 2017 application window can keep those credentials until they expire (7 years from the date of issue) but will not be able to renew them. BPS requires that individuals with an Added Qualification designation must concurrently hold an active Board-Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS) credential.

 

Use of Added Qualifications Titles

The approved terminology for the Added Qualifications credential is, “Board-Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist with Added Qualifications in Cardiology”, “Board-Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist with Added Qualifications in Infectious Diseases”, or “BCPS with Added Qualifications in Cardiology” or “BCPS with Added Qualifications in Infectious Diseases” Other acceptable terms are BCPS-AQ Cardiology and BCPS-AQ ID.

 

Important Notice about Added Qualifications

The Added Qualifications program for Cardiology and Infectious Diseases have ended as of December 31, 2017. The Board of Pharmacy Specialties began offering board certification examinations in these specialties in Fall 2018. 

Individuals currently holding Added Qualifications or who earned the credential during the 2017 application window can keep those credentials until they expire (7 years from the date of issue) but will not be able to renew them.

In accordance with the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) standards, no person, including those who currently hold Added Qualifications, will be granted board certification in Cardiology or Infectious Diseases unless they apply for and pass the respective examinations. BPS is prohibited from conferring credentials by means of “grandfathering” as a condition of accreditation from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

If you have further questions please feel free to contact BPS Director, Professional Affairs, Ellie LaNou, at elanou@aphanet.org

Upcoming Deadlines

Candidates are required to recertify every 7 years. Certificants must submit their recertification application no later than the deadline of August 4. BPS encourages candidates to submit their recertification application as early as January 1 of their recertification year.

Candidates who intend to recertify via examination should note the availability of the recertification examination and related application deadlines. Candidates recertifying their BCPS credential by examination can find more information about examination dates and fees here

Candidates who intend to recertify via continuing pharmacy education (CPE) MUST submit their recertification application by the deadline date of August 4 even if they have not completed their CPE requirements.

The deadline to complete the required CPE for recertification is December 31 for all specialties. The board-certified pharmacist is responsible for submitting an application that is completely and accurately filled out. Incomplete and/or unpaid applications will not be processed.

Recertification Guide

The recertification guide is intended to provide BPS-certified pharmacists with information on the recertification process. To review recertification information, visit this page.

CPE Providers

BCPS with certification beginning January 1, 2023 or earlier: recertification via professional development program requires 120 units of assessed CPE from BPS-approved professional development programs offered by:

BCPS may participate in recertification from any BPS-approved BCPS programs. 

 

BCPS with certification beginning January 1, 2024 or later: recertification via professional development program requires 100 units, comprised of 80 units of assessed CPE from BPS-approved professional development programs offered by:

Additionally, 20 units of continuing professional development (CPD) must be completed and self-reported in MyBPS. For more information on CPD, review the FAQ. To maintain an active certification in good standing, a minimum of two units of assessed CPE from BPS-approved professional development programs or self-reported CPD must be reported each year.

BCPS may participate in recertification from any BPS-approved BCPS programs. 

Content Outline for BCPS

For the Spring 2024 Examination, refer to the Pharmacotherapy Content Outline found here for details.

For the Fall 2024 Examinations and forward, refer to the Pharmacotherapy Content Outline found here for details.

The examination content outline is a product of a job analysis, also known as a role delineation study, that includes discussions with a panel of 15-20 subject matter experts who represent the specialty area. These experts determine the competencies required for safe and effective pharmacy practice in the specialty area and engage board-certified pharmacists through a validation survey for their endorsement of the identified competencies. The job analysis process is conducted every 5 years to help ensure that the competencies in the examination content outline reflect current pharmacy practice in the specialty area.

Click here to review the BCPS Job Analysis Summary.

Important Resources

Apply for ADA Accomodations

BPS complies with the relevant provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For applicants looking to request special accommodations in their application process, more instructions can be found on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

After review of the BPS Recertification Guide and specialty page, some applicants may still have questions. Visit this page to see frequently asked questions from pharmacists renewing their board certification like you!

Sample Examination Items

Sample Items for BCPS Examinations

The sample examination items for BCPS examinations are made available by BPS for the purposes of familiarizing certification candidates and other stakeholders with the structure and format of BPS certification examinations. This is not meant for use as a self-assessment. Performance on any of these items does not correlate with performance on the actual examination.

The content of these examples is meant to be illustrative of actual examination items, but these items do not appear on the certification examination and are not meant to identify the scope of the examination. For a more comprehensive indication of the scope of the certification examination, please refer to the BCPS Exam Content Outline.

Examination items are in multiple-choice format. The great majority of examination items are multiple-choice with a single response from among four options. Some examinations may include a small percentage of items that require selection of multiple (three or four) responses from among a larger set of available (up to eight) options. Examinations items may also be supplemented by an image.

View the examination items down below.

A 56-year-old female patient with type 2 diabetes mellitus is not adequately controlled on the current metformin dose of 1,000 mg twice daily. The patient's A1c was checked one week ago, and it was 7.9%. The patient's body mass index is 32 kg/m2, and she has no other significant medical history.


Which medication should be added to the patient's regimen?

Glipizide
Insulin glargine
Liraglutide
Sitagliptin

Correct!

Incorrect!

Which patient is a candidate for the 12-dose directly observed therapy regimen of isoniazid / rifapentine for latent tuberculosis infection?

6-month-old infant
26-year-old man who is HIV-positive and taking antiretrovirals
36-year-old pregnant woman
40-year-old man with hypertension

Correct!

Incorrect!

Which guidance should be given to a patient receiving amphetamine / dextroamphetamine mixed salts extended release 20 mg orally once daily for a recent diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?

This medication might cause drowsiness. Use caution when driving or operating heavy machinery.
This medication might cause suicidal ideation. Seek help if you have thoughts of hurting yourself.
This medication might cause weight gain. A diet low in fat and carbohydrates is highly recommended.
This medication might increase the likelihood of developing tics.

Correct!

Incorrect!

A 48-year-old female patient receives left-ventricular-assist device placement in the cardiothoracic surgery ICU. Two days later, the patient remains intubated and mechanically ventilated and continues to require hemodynamic support with several vasopressors.


The following laboratory values are observed:































SCr1.9 mg/dL (baseline 0.7 mg/dL)
WBC13,600 cells/mm3
Urine output (past 24 hours)20 mL
Plt248,000 cells/mm3
AST37 units/L
ALT24 units/L
Total bilirubin1 mg/dL

Which medication should be utilized for pain control in this patient?

Acetaminophen 1,000 mg intravenously every 4 hours
Fentanyl 25 mcg/hr continuous intravenous infusion
Meperidine 50 mg intravenously every 4 hours
Morphine 2 mg/hr continuous intravenous infusion

Correct!

Incorrect!

A patient with symptomatic lower extremity peripheral artery disease and chronic heart failure (Class II, ejection fraction 40%) presents to a clinic with increased shortness of breath while walking on flat surfaces.


The patient's medications include the following:


Aspirin 81 mg daily
Furosemide 40 mg once daily
Potassium chloride 10 mEq once daily
Metoprolol succinate 100 mg once daily
Lisinopril 20 mg once daily
Cilostazol 100 mg twice daily

 

Which change should be made in the patient's medication regimen?

Add spironolactone 25 mg once daily.
Increase aspirin to 325 mg once daily.
Increase furosemide to 60 mg once daily.
Discontinue cilostazol 100 mg twice daily.

Correct!

Incorrect!

A 55-year-old woman calls a clinic and asks if she should stop her hormone replacement therapy after hearing a program on the news. She is currently taking conjugated equine estrogen 0.625 mg orally daily, medroxyprogesterone 5 mg orally daily, and calcium 500 mg orally twice daily. Which is an accurate statement regarding this patient's hormone replacement therapy is correct?
It decreases the risk of stroke.
It decreases the risk of non-vertebral fracture.
It decreases the incidence of cardiovascular disease.
It increases the risk of colon cancer.

Correct!

Incorrect!

Which is an accurate statement regarding the use of the HPV vaccine?

Need for the vaccination must be established beforehand by an HPV or Pap test.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the HPV vaccine for girls and women 9 to 26 years of age.
The HPV vaccine has no demonstrated benefit in girls and women who already have acquired at least one of the HPV types covered by the vaccine.
The HPV vaccine protects against all causes of cervical cancer and genital warts.

Correct!

Incorrect!

A patient received the first dose of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine 7 days ago and presents to a clinic with numerous bruises and small red spots on the lower legs. The patient is diagnosed with thrombocytopenia purpura, which is suspected to be vaccine-induced. Where should the pharmacotherapy specialist report this adverse effect?

CDC/FDA Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System
FDA Adverse Event Reporting System
FDA MedWatch
ISMP National Vaccine Errors Reporting Program

Correct!

Incorrect!

While reviewing the patient's home medications, a pharmacist discovers that a patient has been taking St. John's wort in addition to prescribed sertraline without consultation with a primary care provider. The pharmacist educates the patient on potential drug interactions between St. John's wort and sertraline, and then recommends that the patient take sertraline only.


How should the pharmacotherapy specialist document the interaction with this patient?
Communicate the interaction to the patient's prescriber, and request for the prescriber to document it in the patient's medical record.
Enter a note in the patient's medical record describing the interaction and the recommendation.
Place a patient-signed statement verifying the interaction in the patient's medical record.
Send a note to the patient's outpatient pharmacy regarding the duplicate therapy.

Correct!

Incorrect!

Which intervention is recommended for an 82-year-old patient with documented pneumococcal pneumonia and gram-positive diplococci who is unresponsive to 3 days of ceftriaxone?

Increase the dose of ceftriaxone.
Initiate ampicillin / sulbactam.
Initiate cefazolin.
Initiate vancomycin therapy.

Correct!

Incorrect!

A 54-year-old patient with type 2 diabetes mellitus is taking pravastatin 40 mg daily for coronary artery disease after having a myocardial infarction 10 months ago.


The following laboratory values were observed:


























Total cholesterol265 mg/dL
HDL cholesterol30 mg/dL
LDL cholesterol143 mg/dL
Triglycerides370 mg/dL
A1c7.1%

Which intervention is recommended?

Add niacin.
Change from pravastatin to atorvastatin.
Change from pravastatin to gemfibrozil.
Increase pravastatin.

Correct!

Incorrect!

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