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Washington, D.C. – The Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS) is pleased to announce that the organization has received accreditation under ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 17024 Accreditation Standards. Accreditation is a formal, independent verification where a program or institution meets established quality standards and is competent to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks. Conformity assessment tasks may include, but are not limited to, testing, inspection, or certification. ISO/IEC 17024 sets the requirements and the framework, at a global level, for the operation of Personnel Certification Bodies.


ISO and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) form the specialized system for worldwide standardization. National bodies that are members of ISO or IEC participate in the development of International Standards through technical committees established by the respective organization to deal with particular fields of technical activity. In the field of conformity assessment, the ISO Committee on conformity assessment (CASCO) is responsible for the development of International Standards and Guides. ISO/IEC 17024 sets the requirements and the framework, at a global level, for the operation of Personnel Certification Bodies.


BPS accreditation resulted after undergoing a rigorous evaluation conducted by International Accreditation Service (IAS), a leading accreditation body in the U.S. that is recognized by the International Accreditation Forum and Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation. As one of the leading accreditation bodies in the United States, IAS is a signatory to the three primary international organizations that form a unified system for evaluating and recognizing competent accreditation bodies worldwide. These organizations are identified as “cooperations” because they have agreed to cooperate with one another by adhering to a common set of accreditation criteria and to undergo periodic onsite evaluation to determine ongoing compliance with ISO/IEC Standard 17011, General Requirements for accreditation bodies accrediting conformity assessment bodies (CABs). Being a “signatory” means that an accreditation body has been evaluated onsite at its offices, a sampling of the assessments of its accredited entities have been witnessed by peer experts, and that it has been found to comply with international requirements. These organizations agree to recognize the equivalence of accreditations granted by other signatory member accreditation bodies through a series of Mutual (or Multilateral) Recognition Arrangements (MRAs/MLAs).


IAS accredits personnel certification bodies to ISO/IEC Standard 17024. This accreditation provides a global benchmark for personnel certification schemes to operate in a consistent, comparable, and reliable manner worldwide. Accreditation supports the increasing technological and global specialization of skills and personnel.


2020 BPS Board Chair, Karen Gunning, PharmD, BCPS, BCACP notes, “BPS is now one of a small number of organizations that holds accreditation across two sets of standards: NCCA and ISO 17024. This is an outstanding accomplishment that speaks to the commitment BPS has to managing a certification program that seeks to be a leader in the credentialing industry. This accreditation brings value to those seeking or holding BPS Board Certification by assuring quality and consistency in the certification process that is validated by nationally and internationally recognized accreditors. It should be noted that not all certification programs undergo this level of external evaluation.”


Through a partnership, the International Accreditation Service (IAS) and the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) BPS now holds dual accreditation to NCCA criteria and ISO/IEC 17024 requirements, for organizations that assess professional competence.


The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) is the accreditation arm of ICE. The NCCA’s Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs, which were originally created in the mid-1970s, were the first standards developed by the credentialing industry for professional certification programs. The NCCA Standards were most recently updated in 2014 and more than 300 certification programs are currently NCCA-accredited.


ISO/IEC 17024 sets the requirements and the framework, at a global level, for the operation of Personnel Certification Bodies. IAS is a signatory to the Multilateral Recognition Arrangement of the Pacific Accreditation Cooperation which allows for transportability of credentials issued under the joint accreditation program.


Avis Bullard, MS, CSSBB (ASQ) BPS Senior Director of Quality Assurance offered the following: “ISO 17024 accreditation is an acknowledgement of BPS’ commitment to provide our candidates and certificants with the quality of service that consistently exceeds their expectations. It is also a recognition that BPS continually strives for excellence as a member of the certifying industry.”


About the Board of Pharmacy Specialties

The Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS) was established in 1976 as an autonomous division of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). The mission of BPS is to improve patient care by positioning BPS Board-Certified Pharmacist Specialists as integral members of interprofessional healthcare teams, through recognition and promotion of specialized training, knowledge, and skills for pharmacists in the United States and internationally. Board certification is a recognized credential for determining which pharmacists are qualified to contribute at advanced practice levels given the rigorous standards mandated by BPS board certification and recertification. BPS currently recognizes more than 50,000 active pharmacist certifications across 14 specialties. 


BPS Contact
Alexander Jean-Baptiste
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(202) 760-3836