Frequently Asked Questions

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Why was the Board of Specialties (BPS) established? 

In January of 1973, a Task Force on Specialties in Pharmacy was created by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) to respond to changes occurring in healthcare and the pharmacy profession, especially the issue of specialization in pharmacy practice.  Following the recommendations of the Task Force, the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS) was organized in 1976 as an independent certification agency of APhA.


What does BPS do?

BPS is recognized as the single agency that operates across the pharmacy profession to provide specialty certification of pharmacists. It has four primary responsibilities: (1) to identify and recognize critical specialty practice areas; (2) set standards for the certification and recertification of pharmacy specialists; (3) objectively evaluate individuals seeking certification and recertification; and (4) serve as an information resource and coordinating agency for pharmacy specialties.


How many pharmacists are currently BPS board certified?

There are more than 36,000 BPS Board Certified Pharmacists worldwide in Ambulatory Care Pharmacy, Cardiology Pharmacy, Critical Care Pharmacy, Geriatric Pharmacy, Infectious Diseases Pharmacy, Nuclear Pharmacy, Nutrition Support Pharmacy, Oncology Pharmacy, Pediatric Pharmacy, Pharmacotherapy and Psychiatric Pharmacy.


What motivates a pharmacist to become board certified?

Board certification enables pharmacists to differentiate and affirm their knowledge and skills to provide more comprehensive and complex care; be prepared to step into pharmacy’s evolving position on the multidisciplinary treatment team; improve their standing in a competitive employment market; experience increased recognition from healthcare professionals; and enjoy rewards in in salary, promotions and new practice opportunities.


In what settings do board certified pharmacists work?

Board certified pharmacists practice in a wide variety of settings including health systems, hospitals, community pharmacies, nuclear pharmacies, cancer centers, physician offices, outpatient clinics and academia. The practice setting is somewhat dependent upon the specialty.


Do others recognize the value of BPS board certification? 

Board certification through BPS has become recognized as the gold standard for determining which pharmacists are qualified to contribute at advanced practice levels.  Through the rigorous standards mandated by BPS board certification and recertification, the specialty-credentialed pharmacist stands out as the most qualified to take on today’s expanding expectations of patients, physicians, insurance companies, employers and others who recognize the increasing need for a team approach to healthcare.


Why is it important to have BPS board certified pharmacists integrated in the healthcare team?

Just as doctors, nurses and other members of healthcare teams have an increasing number of patients and responsibilities, it is critical to have highly knowledgeable and specially trained board certified pharmacists working directly with healthcare providers to understand the complexity of medications; design new or modify existing medication regimens; monitor for and prevent adverse reactions or interactions if a patient is on multiple medications; recommend cost effective treatments; and ultimately improve the quality of patients’ lives.


What are the projections for the future?

BPS board certification will increasingly become the standard credential for pharmacists who wish to have advanced patient care roles on the health care team. The exploration of new specialties and growth of current specialties is consistent with the increased interest and recognition of BPS specialty certification over the past five years which has seen the number of board certified pharmacists more than double.


What is the goal of the Board of Pharmacy Specialties?

With people living longer, healthcare costs continuing to skyrocket and chronic disease spiraling out of control, BPS hopes to increase the number and recognition of board certified pharmacists to help improve public health, safety and wellness; reduce medication errors; improve patient outcomes; shorten hospital stays; reduce complications; lower healthcare costs; and play an increasingly active role in making our healthcare system more efficient and effective.