Recertification of BPS Board Certified Pharmacists

A board certified pharmacist’s commitment to career-long learning and continuing competence is an important differentiator of a certification program compared to a pharmacy degree, a pharmacy residency program, or a practice-based continuing education certificate of completion.  The knowledge and skills required of a pharmacist specialist evolves as treatment guidelines change and new medications are available to patients.  The BPS recertification program helps pharmacists “keep up” in the evolving healthcare landscape.

BPS board certified pharmacists have two options to demonstrate that they maintained their knowledge and clinical reasoning skills from the time at initial certification, 1.) sit for the 100-item BPS recertification exam, which about 10-15% of certificants do, or 2.) accrue 100-120 hours of recertification credit.  There is no short supply of activities or options for board certified pharmacists to choose among.  In several specialty areas, board certified pharmacists may mix and match between professional development program providers to fit their needs.  While each provider develops programing in a curricular approach that aligns with the specialty area content outline, board certified pharmacists have an opportunity to self-direct their learning based on a wide array of offerings relevant to their practice.

Last year, BPS approved professional development programs to provide recertification offerings to Board certified pharmacists for a seven-year cycle that began January 1, 2016.  This announcement concluded a Recertification Program Self-Study that was initiated over the course of the preceding 32 months.  Below is a list of approved professional development provider in each specialty area, and hyperlinks to programing offerings available if board certified pharmacists in 2016.

Ambulatory Care Pharmacy

Critical Care Pharmacy

Nuclear Pharmacy

Oncology Pharmacy

Pharmacotherapy

Psychiatric Pharmacy

Pediatric Pharmacy

Earlier this year, BPS approved a professional development program in Nutrition Support Pharmacy.  The Purdue University College of Pharmacy will begin offering recertification programing for Board Certified Nutrition Support Pharmacists in January 2017.  This time next year, ALL BPS board certified pharmacist will have the option of recertification by continuing education.

Recertification of Dual Certificants

For the almost 800 board certified pharmacists who hold more than one certification, BPS has made the process for accruing recertification hours more efficient.  Dual certificants can now claim up to six (6) hours per year per specialty area on activities approved for dual certification.  Over one 7-year certification cycle, board certified pharmacists can dual purpose upto 42 hours of recertification credit.  Please note, programs must be approved by the providers for dual credit.

BPS approved two pilot programs in 2014 and 2015 administered by the American College of Clinical Pharmacy and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists in the specialty areas of Ambulatory Care Pharmacy and Pharmacotherapy.

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So far, both pilots are receiving positive reviews.  Here are comments from participants themselves.

“MORE please!”  “Love this option”  “Keep it up.”

“Being certified in two areas, it is not possible to work full time and maintain certification in both areas….Dual certification opportunities should be offered for at least a portion of the CE hours needed for recert, particularly when there is not a significant difference in the curriculum between the activities.”

“Well-developed content with applicability for both.”

“This program was excellent for dual recertification. I hope that there will be more programs like this approved for both pharmacotherapy and ambulatory care recertification credits.”

“Material was timely and applicable to the work of any clinical pharmacist. I work in ambulatory clinic and inpatient hospital and found the material suitable for both areas.”

BPS works to be responsive to the needs of board certified pharmacists and looks forward to working with professional development providers in the creation of high-quality, innovative recertification activities.

We remain committed a recertification process for board certified pharmacists that is efficient, relevant to specialty practice, includes a combination of learning activities, and maintains or improves specialty knowledge, clinical judgment, and patient interactions.  We believe the value of recertification is a strong commitment to career-long learning in an effort to provide the best possible care to the patients served.

Brian Lawson, PharmD
Director, Professional Affairs
Board of Pharmacy Specialties