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 5,760 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, but not limited to, community pharmacies and clinics. The purpose of the BCACP program is to validate that the pharmacist has the advanced knowledge and experience to optimize therapy for ambulatory patients who administer medications themselves or with the assistance of a caregiver.
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:
- Providing team-based, patient-centered ambulatory care to integrate prevention and care of both acute illnesses and chronic conditions, and to optimize medication and health-related outcomes;
- Identifying, evaluating, and applying key ambulatory literature to ensure optimal patient-specific and population-based health; and
- Supporting ambulatory care practice through collaboration, education, and practice transformation.
An applicant for board certification in Ambulatory Care Pharmacy must demonstrate all of the requirements listed below prior to sitting for the initial certification examination. Once all of the requirements below are met, an applicant will be deemed eligible to sit for the Ambulatory Care Pharmacy specialty certification examination. If an applicant achieves a passing score on the Ambulatory Care Pharmacy specialty certification examination, they may use the designation Board-Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist, or BCACP.
- 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 experience1 in one of three ways:
- At least four years of Ambulatory Care practice experience1 within the past seven years, with at least 50% of time spent in the scope defined by the exam content outline; or
- Successful completion of a PGY1 pharmacy residency2 within the past seven years, plus at least two years of Ambulatory Care Pharmacy practice experience1 with at least 50% of time spent in the scope defined by the exam content outline; or
- Successful completion of a PGY2 pharmacy residency in Ambulatory Care Pharmacy within the past seven years.
1All 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 at least 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. A sample employer verification letter is available here.
2American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)-accredited/candidate status PGY1 pharmacy residency, residencies accredited under the ASHP Accreditation Standard for International Pharmacy Practice Residency Programs, or Canadian Pharmacy Residency Board (CPRB)-accredited Year 1 pharmacy residency.
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 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, 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 Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Content Outline found in the BCACP Examination Specification document for details.
- Domain 1: Patient-Centered Ambulatory Care (75% of the examination)
- Domain 2: Translation of Evidence into Ambulatory Care Practice (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;
- Option Two: Continuing Education
Earning 100 hours of continuing education credit provided by the professional development programs offered by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and/or the joint program offered by the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). The Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Preparatory Review and Recertification Course offered by any of the approved providers may only be completed for recertification credit up to two times, in nonconsecutive years, during the seven 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.