Oncology Pharmacy provides evidence-based, patient-centered medication therapy management and direct patient care for individuals with cancer, including treatment assessment and monitoring for potential adverse drug reactions and interactions. Currently there are more than 4,100 BPS Board Certified Oncology Pharmacists.
The BPS Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist (BCOP) program is a credential for pharmacists who have met the eligibility criteria below and who in their unique practice, involving an increasing number and complexity of drug therapies for treating and preventing cancer, manage cancer-related and drug-related adverse events or clinical situations not encountered in other disease states.
The purpose of the BCOP program is to validate that the pharmacist has the advanced knowledge and experience to optimize outcomes for patients with malignant diseases by:
- Recommending, designing, implementing, monitoring, and modifying pharmacotherapeutic plans;
- Reducing medication errors; and
- Recognizing and responding to adverse physical and emotional issues that may arise during treatment and when providing education and counseling.
An applicant for board certification in Oncology 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 Oncology Pharmacy specialty certification examination. If an applicant achieves a passing score on the Oncology Pharmacy specialty certification examination, they may use the designation Board-Certified Oncology Pharmacist, or BCOP.
- 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 Oncology Pharmacy 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 PGY1 pharmacy residency2 within the past seven years, plus at least two years of Oncology Pharmacy practice experience1 with at least 50% of time spent in the scope defined by the exam content outline; or
- Successful completion of PGY2 pharmacy residency in Oncology 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: Sample.
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.
For the Spring 2023 BCOP certification examination, please refer to the Oncology Pharmacy Content Outline found in the BCOP Examination Specification document for details.
- Domain 1: Oncology Diagnosis and Testing (23% percent of examination)
- Domain 2: Therapeutics and Patient Management (49% percent of examination)
- Domain 3: Professional Practice (28% percent of examination)
For the Fall 2023 BCOP certification examination and forward, please refer to the Oncology Pharmacy Content Outline found here for details.
Updates in 2023: Please note that the Oncology Specialty Certification and Recertification examinations will transition to continuous testing starting in 2023.
To learn more about the transition to continuous testing, click here.
Pharmacists who earn the designation Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist® (BCOP) 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 for the Oncology Pharmacy Specialty in their seventh year following initial certification;
- Option Two: Continuing Education
Earning 100 hours of continuing education credit provided by the joint program offered by the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), and/or the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA). The Oncology Pharmacy Preparatory Review Course for Recertification offered by any of the approved providers must be completed at least once, but no more than three times, for recertification credit in nonconsecutive years, during the 7-year recertification cycle.
A current, active license to practice pharmacy is required for recertification.
For full details regarding recertification, please refer to the BPS Recertification Guide.
Board Certified Oncology 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.