Ambulatory Care Pharmacy

Ambulatory Care Pharmacy addresses the provision of integrated, accessible healthcare services for ambulatory patients in a wide variety of settings, including community pharmacies, clinics and physician offices. Currently there are more than 4,000 BPS Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacists.

The BPS Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist (BCACP) Program is a credential for pharmacists who have met the eligibility criteria below and provide integrated, accessible healthcare services for ambulatory patients in a wide variety of settings, including community pharmacies, clinics and physician offices. The BCACP provides patient care, develops sustained partnerships with ambulatory patients and other healthcare providers in the context of family and community; and integrates care of both acute illnesses and chronic conditions.

The purpose of the BPS Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist (BCACP) program is to validate that the pharmacist has the advanced knowledge and experience to optimize patient outcomes by:

  • Focusing on the special needs of patients who may have concurrent illnesses taking multiple medications, and who often administer these drugs themselves or with the assistance of a caregiver at home;
  • Managing patients in between provider visits through treatment assessment, monitoring compliance, refilling prescriptions and patient education and
  • Educating and engaging patients in health promotion and wellness.

Effective January 1, 2019: 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 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.

(All practice eligibility requirements must be met prior to the candidate sitting for the examination)

The minimum requirements for the Ambulatory Care Pharmacy specialty certification are:

  • 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 three ways:

Four (4) years of practice experience** (i.e., four years of experience after licensure/registration as a pharmacist) including 50% or more of that time spent practicing in the domains described in the Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Content Outline

OR

Completion of a PGY-1 residency * plus one (1) additional year of practice experience** (i.e., one year of experience after licensure/registration as a pharmacist) including 50% or more of that time spent practicing in the domains described in the Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Content Outline

OR

Completion of a specialty (PGY-2) residency* in ambulatory care pharmacy; and

  • Achieving a passing score on the Ambulatory Care Specialty Certification Examination.

*Effective January 1, 2013, only residency programs accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and completed by the applicant within the past 7 years, or new residency programs granted Candidate Status for accreditation by ASHP are creditable for this purpose.

**Practice experience should be from within the past seven years prior to the application date.

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 responsibility 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, Australia, 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.

For the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 Examinations, please refer to the Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Content Outline for details.

  • Domain 1: Patient-Centered Care: Ambulatory Care Pharmacotherapy (37% of the examination)
  • Domain 2: Patient-Centered Care: Collaboration and Patient Advocacy (29% of the examination)
  • Domain 3: Translation of Evidence into Practice (14% the examination)
  • Domain 4: Practice Models and Policy (14% of the examination)
  • Domain 5: Population and Public Health (6% of the examination)

For the Fall 2020 Examination and forward, please refer to the Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Content Outline for details.

  • Domain 1: Patient-Centered Care: Ambulatory Care (75% of the examination)
  • Domain 2: Transition of Evidence into Ambulatory Care (15% of the examination)
  • Domain 3: Ambulatory Care Practice Advancement (10% the examination)

Pharmacists who earn the designation Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist® (BCACP) will be required to maintain their certification over a seven year period by completing one of the following professional development activities:

  • Option One: Recertification Examination
    Achieving a passing score on the 100-item recertification examination (administered by BPS), based on the content outline for the Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Specialty in their seventh year following initial certification;

OR

  • Option Two: Continuing Education
    Earning 100 hours of continuing education credit provided by the professional development programs offered by the joint program offered by the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) in conjunction with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and/or the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). Please note, the Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Preparatory Review and Recertification Courses offered by either of the approved providers may only be completed for recertification credit up to two times, in nonconsecutive years, during the 7-year recertification cycle.

**To achieve the 100 hour requirement, the BCACP may participate in recertification offerings from both BPS-approved ambulatory care pharmacy providers.

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

Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacists® are also required to pay the BPS Annual Certification Maintenance fee of $125 each year for years one through six and a $400 recertification fee in year seven. Individuals with more than one BPS certification will only be assessed one BPS Annual Certification Maintenance Fee each year.

Download PDF Fact Sheet

 

Ambulatory Care Pharmacy addresses the provision of integrated, accessible healthcare services of ambulatory patients transitioning from the hospital to home or another care facility. Currently there are more than 4,000 BPS Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacists.

The BPS Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist® (BCACP):

  • Has the advanced knowledge and expertise to focus on the special needs of patients who may have concurrent illnesses taking multiple medications, and who often administer these drugs themselves or with the assistance of a caregiver at home.
  • Provides long term direct patient care, developing sustained partnerships with ambulatory patients and practicing in the context of family and community
  • Integrates care of acute illnesses and exacerbations in the context of chronic conditions
  • Educates and engages patients in health promotion and wellness
  • Helps to manage patients in between provider visits, checking vitals, monitoring compliance, refilling prescriptions and educating patients on the importance of taking their medications as directed

To become a BPS Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist®, a pharmacist must:

  • Graduate 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 that jurisdiction; and
  • Maintain an active license to practice pharmacy in the U.S. or another jurisdiction; and
  • Complete four (4) years of post-licensure practice experience with at least fifty percent (50%) of time spent in ambulatory care pharmacy activities as defined in the BPS Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Specialty Content Outline; or
  • Complete a PGY1 residency accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) or new residency programs granted Candidate Status for accreditation by ASHP plus one additional year of post-licensure practice with at least fifty percent (50%) of time spent in ambulatory care pharmacy activities as defined in the BPS Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Specialty Content Outline; or
  • Complete an ASHP-accredited PGY2 residency in Ambulatory Care Pharmacy; and
  • Achieve a passing score on the BPS Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Certification Examination.

Recertification is required every seven (7) years and can be accomplished by:

Becoming BPS board certified enables pharmacists to:

  • Provide more comprehensive and complex patient care
  • Be prepared to step into pharmacy’s evolving position on the multidisciplinary treatment team
  • Experience increased recognition by other healthcare professionals, employers, patients and insurers
  • Improve their standing in a competitive employment market

Board certification through the Board of Pharmacy Specialties® is the gold standard for determining which pharmacists are qualified to contribute at advanced practice levels. Through the rigorous examination standards mandated by the Board of Pharmacy Specialties®, the BPS board certified pharmacist is uniquely trained and educated to meet the continually expanding expectations of other healthcare team members and the specialized needs of the patients they serve.