Pharmacotherapy is the area of patient-centered pharmacy practice that is responsible for ensuring the safe, appropriate, evidence-based, and cost-effective use of medications in patient care. The pharmacotherapy specialist typically has responsibility for direct patient care, often functions as a member of an interprofessional team, and is frequently the primary source of drug information for other healthcare professionals. Those who are granted certification in this specialty may use the designation Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist® and the initials BCPS as long as certification is valid.

Eligibility Requirements (all practice eligibility requirements must be met prior to the candidate sitting for the examination)

  • 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.

  • Current, active license to practice pharmacy in the U.S. or another jurisdiction.

  • Completion of three (3) years of practice experience with at least 50% of time spent in pharmacotherapy activities (as defined by the BPS Pharmacotherapy Content Outline) OR

    Completion of a PGY1 residency *.
    *Effective January 1, 2013, only residency programs accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) or new residency programs granted Candidate Status for accreditation by ASHP are creditable for this purpose.

  • Achieving a passing score on the Pharmacotherapy Specialty Certification Examination

Examination Content — Pharmacotherapy Content Outline for Spring 2016 Certification Exams Only

(Refer to the Pharmacotherapy Content Outline for details.)

  • Domain 1: Patient-specific Pharmacotherapy (60% of the examination)
  • Domain 2: Retrieval, generation, interpretation and dissemination of knowledge in pharmacotherapy (25% of the examination)
  • Domain 3: Systems and Population-based Pharmacotherapy (15% of the examination)

Examination Content — Pharmacotherapy Content Outline for Use Beginning with the Fall 2016 Certification Exams

(Refer to the Pharmacotherapy Content Outline for details.)

  • Domain 1: Patient-Centered Pharmacotherapy (55 percent of examination)
  • Domain 2: Drug Information and Evidence-Based Medicine (25 percent of examination)
  • Domain 3: System-Based Standards and Population-Based Pharmacotherapy (20 percent of examination)


Recertification for Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialists® (BCPS) is an assessment of a practitioner's knowledge and skills through one of two methods:

  • Achieving a passing score on the 100-item, multiple-choice objective recertification examination, based on the content outline of the certification examination; OR
  • Earning 120 hours of continuing education credit provided by a professional development program approved by BPS.

The continuing education option for recertification was implemented in 1994 with BPS' designation of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy's Pharmacotherapy Self-Assessment Program (PSAP) as an acceptable professional development program for recertification. In 2011, BPS approved two more options for recertification through ACCP, the Pharmacotherapy Preparatory Review and Recertification Course as well as the Clinical Reasoning Series. Starting in 2013, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) has been approved as a provider of professional development programs for Pharmacotherapy Specialists. ASHP's approved BCPS Recertification Program consists of three components: the ASHP Pharmacotherapy Review and Recertification Course; the BCPS Recertification Literature Study; and the Pharmacotherapy Intensive Study.

BCPS recertifying via continuing education are required to earn 120 hours of credit from approved programs. No more than 60 hours may be earned prior to the end of the fourth year of certification. However, all 120 hours may be earned during the last three years of certification. Those using PSAP for recertification should note that there is a postmark deadline for submission of the tests for recertification credit. The BCPS Expiration Date of a PSAP module determines the year the program is creditable, regardless of when it is completed and submitted by the certificant. For example, a module due on January 20 of a particular year will only be credited for that year, even if it was submitted in December of the previous year. You can download a BCPS Professional Development chart by clicking here.

To complete the 120 hour requirement, BCPS may participate in recertification from both BPS-approved providers. Please note, the Pharmacotherapy 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 recertification cycle.