Critical Care Pharmacy specializes in the delivery of patient care services by pharmacists, as integral members of interprofessional teams, working to ensure the safe and effective use of medications in critically ill patients. Currently there are more than 3,770 BPS Board Certified Critical Care Pharmacists.
The BPS Board Certified Critical Care Pharmacist (BCCCP) program is a credential for pharmacists who have met the eligibility criteria below and specialize in the delivery of patient care services as integral members of interprofessional teams, working to ensure the safe and effective use of medications in critically ill patients.
The purpose of the BCCCP program is to validate that the pharmacist has the advanced knowledge and experience to optimize patient outcomes by:
- Quickly assessing clinical data and delivering direct patient care to the critically ill and injured patient who may require specialized pharmacologic or technological interventions to maintain blood pressure, respiration, nutrition, and other homeostatic functions, in addition to helping to manage the patient’s primary condition.
- Reviewing, analyzing, and frequently reassessing multifaceted clinical and technological data to make reasoned decisions for patients with life-threatening conditions and complex medication regimens whose pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic parameters differ substantially from the non–critically ill patient.
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. A sample employer verification letter is available here: Sample.
(All practice eligibility requirements must be met prior to the candidate sitting for the examination)
The minimum requirements for the Critical Care 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:
Completion of 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 Critical Care Pharmacy Content Outline
Completion of a PGY1 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 Critical Care Pharmacy Content Outline
Completion of a specialty (PGY2) residency* in critical care pharmacy; and
- Achieving a passing score on the Critical Care Pharmacy Specialty Certification Examination.
*Effective January 1, 2013, 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. Also, residencies accredited under the ASHP Accreditation Standard for International Pharmacy Practice Residency Programs meet the BPS eligibility criteria for PGY1 or Year 1 residencies.
Effective January 1, 2022, Year 1 residency programs or new residency programs granted Candidate Status for accreditation by the Canadian Pharmacy Residency Board (CPRB) are also acceptable for meeting BPS eligibility criteria that recognize Year 1 or PGY1 residency training. Residency training must be completed by the applicant within 7 years of the application date.
**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 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.
For the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 BCCCP certification examination, refer to the Critical Care Pharmacy Content Outline found in the BCCCP Examination Specification document for details.
- Domain 1: Clinical Knowledge and Application (65% of the examination)
- Domain 2: Practice Management, Policy, and Quality Improvement (15% of the examination)
- Domain 3: Evidence-Based Medicine, Scholarship, Education, and Professional Development (20% of the examination)
For the Fall 2023 BCCCP certification examination, refer to the Critical Care Pharmacy Content Outline found here for details.
Pharmacists who earn the designation Board Certified Critical Care Pharmacist® (BCCCP) 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 Critical Care Pharmacy Specialty in their seventh year following initial certification;
- Option Two: Continuing Education
Earning 100 hours of continuing education credit offered by the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) and/or the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and/or the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM). The Critical 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 BCCCP may participate in recertification offerings from any of the BPS-approved critical care pharmacy providers.
For full details regarding recertification, please refer to the BPS Recertification Guide.
Board Certified Critical 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.