Oncology Pharmacy

Oncology Pharmacy provides evidence-based, patient-centered medication therapy management and direct patient care for individuals with cancer, including treatment assessment and monitoring for potential adverse drug reactions and interactions. Currently there are more than 3,100 BPS Board Certified Oncology Pharmacists.

The BPS Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist (BCOP) program is a credential for pharmacists who have met the eligibility criteria below and who in their unique practice, involving an increasing number and complexity of drug therapies for treating and preventing cancer, manage cancer-related and drug-related adverse events or clinical situations not encountered in other disease states.

The purpose of the BCOP program is to validate that the pharmacist has the advanced knowledge and experience to optimize outcomes for patients with malignant diseases by:

  • Recommending, designing, implementing, monitoring, and modifying pharmacotherapeutic plans.
  • Reducing medication errors.
  • Recognizing and responding to adverse physical and emotional issues that may arise during treatment and when providing education and counseling.

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 Oncology 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 Oncology Pharmacy Content Outline

OR

Completion of a PGY-1 residency* plus two (2) additional years of practice experience** (i.e., two years of experience after licensure/registration as a pharmacist) including 50% or more of that time spent practicing in the domains described in the Oncology Pharmacy Content Outline

OR

Completion of a specialty residency* in oncology pharmacy; and

  • Achieving a passing score on the Oncology Pharmacy 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.

Refer to the Oncology Pharmacy Content Outline for details.

  • Domain 1: Pathophysiology and Molecular Biology of Cancer (20% percent of examination)
  • Domain 2: Therapeutics, Patient Management, and Education (38% percent of examination)
  • Domain 3: Clinical Trials and Research (14% percent of examination)
  • Domain 4: Practice Management (22% percent of examination)
  • Domain 5: Public Health (6% percent of examination)

Pharmacists who earn the designation Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist® (BCOP) 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 for the Oncology 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 Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA). Please note, Board Certified Oncology Pharmacists must complete the Oncology Pharmacy Preparatory Review Course offered by ACCP/ASHP at least once, but no more than three times, in nonconsecutive years, during the 7-year recertification cycle.

A current, active license to practice pharmacy is required for recertification.

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

Board Certified Oncology 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.

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Pharmacists Group Shot

Oncology Pharmacy provides evidence-based, patient-centered medication therapy management and direct patient care for individuals with cancer, including treatment assessment and monitoring for potential adverse drug reactions and interactions. Currently there are more than 3,100 BPS Board Certified Oncology Pharmacists.

The BPS Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist® (BCOP):

  • Has the advanced knowledge and experience to manage cancer-related and drug-related adverse events or clinical situations not encountered in other disease states due to the increasing number and complexity of drug therapies to treat and prevent cancer
  • Is specially trained to recommend, design, implement, monitor and modify pharmacotherapeutic plans to optimize outcomes in patients with malignant diseases and reduce medication errors
  • Recognizes and responds to adverse physical and emotional issues that may arise during treatment, including pain, nausea and hair loss
  • Works in hospital settings as part of a multidisciplinary team; and in ambulatory clinics, arranging for patients to receive their chemotherapy in a care facility or at home
  • Serves as a resource for community pharmacists whose patients are being treated outside the hospital

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

  • Maintain a current, active license to practice pharmacy in the U.S. or another jurisdiction; and
  • Complete four (4) years of post-licensure experience with at least fifty percent (50%) of time spent in oncology pharmacy activities; or
  • Complete an ASHP-approved PGY1 residency plus two (2) additional years of practice post-pharmacist licensure with at least 50% of time spent in oncology pharmacy activities; or
  • Complete an ASHP-approved PGY2 residency in Oncology Pharmacy; and
  • Achieve a passing score on the BPS Oncology Pharmacy Certification Examination

Recertification is required every seven 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
  • Improve their standing in a competitive employment market
  • Be recognized for their expertise by other healthcare professionals, employers, patients and insurers

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.