BPS Continuing Professional Development Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated 01/10/2023

BPS reserves the right to amend this information at any time. To ensure you have the most up to date information, please refer to this webpage only.

About Continuing Professional Development

What is continuing professional development?

BPS defines continuing professional development (CPD) as a commitment to lifelong learning. Various pharmacy organizations worldwide have used the following definitions:

The Accreditation Council on Pharmacy Education (ACPE) defines CPD as:

“a self-directed, ongoing, systematic and outcomes-focused approach to lifelong learning that is applied into practice. It involves the process of active participation in formal and informal learning activities that assist individuals in developing and maintaining continuing competence, enhancing their professional practice, and supporting achievement of their career goals.”

The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) defines CPD as:

“the responsibility of individuals pharmacists for systematic maintenance, development and broadening of knowledge, skills and attitude to ensure continuing competence as a professional, throughout their careers.”

Why is CPD important?

Continuing professional development offers a process for pharmacists to meet and maintain competencies relevant to their specialty certification and professional practice. CPD has been endorsed and encouraged by several pharmacy organizations, including but not limited to, the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP), the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP), and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).

What is the CPD cycle?

The CPD cycle includes several phases, beginning with an assessment of learning needs and goals (REFLECT). Then, outcomes-based learning objectives, priorities, and a timeline are generated (PLAN). Activities, resources, and various learning methodologies are identified and utilized to meet the learning objectives (LEARN). Finally, learning objective outcomes and impact are evaluated (EVALUATE), leading to reflection and the continuum begins again. A key to the CPD approach is connecting learning to practice (APPLY). Each stage of the CPD process should be recorded in a personal learning record or portfolio and reviewed periodically for progress.

Used with permission from ACPE.

BPS Continuing Professional Development Implementation

How will BPS pilot CPD in the 7-year recertification cycle for board-certified pharmacists?

Regardless of which recertification pathway is utilized, board-certified pharmacists must:

  1. Record their personal CPD plan in their MyBPS profile annually (once subject to the framework; see table below).
  2. Earn a minimum number of units (via CPD activities or traditional, BPS-approved, assessed continuing education) during each year of their recertification cycle.

When will BPS’s CPD pilot and the updated recertification framework go into effect?

The updated recertification framework will begin by applying to board-certified pharmacists who start a new recertification cycle in 2024. Pharmacists newly certified in 2023, or board-certified pharmacists completing a recertification cycle in 2023, will be the first cohort. The framework will then be applied each year until it is applicable to all board-certified pharmacists in 2030.


Year Certified or RecertifiedCertification Cycle
Start Date
(begin earning recertification units)
Certification Cycle Expiration Date
(deadline to complete recertification requirements)
New CPD-Recertification Framework Effective Date
2016January 1, 2017December 31, 2023January 1, 2024
2017January 1, 2018December 31, 2024January 1, 2025
2018January 1, 2019December 31, 2025January 1, 2026
2019January 1, 2020December 31, 2026January 1, 2027
2020January 1, 2021December 31, 2027January 1, 2028
2021January 1, 2022December 31, 2028January 1, 2029
2022January 1, 2023December 31, 2029January 1, 2030
2023January 1, 2024December 31, 2030January 1, 2024
2024 onwardJanuary 1, 2025December 31, 2031January 1, 2025

This table is based on the typical seven-year certification cycle. Certificants who are granted a one time, one year extension will not be subject to the updated recertification framework (including CPD) until they begin a new recertification cycle after completion of the extension year.

How will board-certified pharmacists create a plan that reflects the CPD cycle?

Board-certified pharmacists will create a CPD plan by responding to a short series of prompts within their MyBPS portal (more information on the type of prompts to come). Board-certified pharmacists will be prompted to update their CPD plan annually, in alignment with the invoice for the annual certification maintenance fee. The purpose of the CPD plan is to document the steps within the CPD cycle and create a record of maintenance of certification.

What activities can be counted for CPD units?

CPD activities must correlate to the content outline domains of the specialty in which the individual holds BPS certification. BPS will conduct random audits of CPD activities to ensure appropriateness and alignment with the relevant specialty content outline. BPS will begin recognizing seven categories of activities under the initial CPD pilot.

  1. BPS-approved, assessed CPE
  2. CPE and CPD portfolios
  3. Academic, Professional, and Interprofessional Study
  4. Teaching and Precepting Learners
  5. Scholarly Activities
  6. Workplace Activities
  7. Leadership and Professional Service


Activity CategoryActivity DescriptionExample Evidence for upload (not exhaustive)
BPS-approved, assessed CPEEarn from BPS-approved program providers Verified by BPS 
Continuing pharmacy education (CPE) and CPD portfoliosEarn CPE from any ACPE-accredited provider (e.g., state associations, workplace education, certificate training programs offering ACPE credit)Certificate(s) of completion
Earn CPE or CPD based on local, state, provincial, workplace or institutional requirements utilizing recognized processes and learning plans (e.g., Iowa, Canada, Australia)Portfolio, certificate(s) of completion
Academic, Professional, and Interprofessional StudyComplete post-graduate academic or professional courses from an accredited institution (e.g., MPH, MHA)Academic transcript, proof of enrollment
Attain or maintain active status for non-BPS certifications (e.g., AAHIVP, CDCES, CNSC, BC-ADM)Certification verification document or link
Complete continuing education accredited for other healthcare professionals (e.g., ACCME, ANCC, AAPA, APA, CDR, BOC, ADA CERP)Certificate of completion
Teaching and Precepting LearnersDevelop and present educational content (e.g., college/university course lecture, continuing education, preparation/recertification course)Syllabus, course description from catalog
Serve as a preceptor for students, residents, or other healthcare professionalsConfirmation from college of pharmacy, evaluation from student
Scholarly ActivitiesServe as a senior author in a peer-reviewed journal article or book chapterDocumentation of authorship from publisher, copy of chapter page
Serve as a senior author for a published bookDocumentation of authorship from publisher
Serve as a primary grant writer for a submitted federal, state or national organization project, regardless of funding outcomeLetter of attestation from organization official, communication from granting agency verifying submission
Complete an IRB approved research projectDocumentation of project, listing of investigator from IRB
Complete a capstone project, thesis, or dissertation as part of post-graduate academic degree programDocumentation of project, thesis or dissertation from degree granting institution
Workplace ActivitiesLead in-service training or Grand RoundsProgram announcement or presentation title with author, letter of attestation from management
Implement performance, practice, or clinical quality improvement projectLetter of attestation from management
Serve on institutional review board, P&T, medication safety, medication therapy management committee, or another similar committee.Letter of attestation from management
Leadership and Professional ServiceServe on a committee, editorial board, review board, workgroup, task force, board of directors (for local, state, provincial, national, or international healthcare-related organization)Letter of attestation from leadership, publication listing individual and corresponding position or role
BPS Specialty Council memberVerified by BPS, if submitted
BPS Job analysis panelistVerified by BPS, if submitted
BPS Standard setting panelistVerified by BPS, if submitted
BPS Item writerVerified by BPS, if submitted
BPS AmbassadorVerified by BPS, if submitted
BPS Content Contributor (e.g., podcast guest, blogger)Verified by BPS, if submitted

How many units will various CPD activities be worth?

BPS will add additional information about units and reporting later in 2023.

Reporting Continuing Professional Development Activities

How will CPD activities be reported to BPS?

CPD activities will need to be self-reported (by the certificant) into the certificant’s MyBPS portal. Neither the certificant nor the organization providing the learning opportunity is required to gain BPS approval prior to participating in or reporting CPD activities. CPD activities must be reported in MyBPS within six months of the activity completion date. BPS will conduct random, statistically significant audits to ensure activity appropriateness and alignment with the relevant specialty content outline. Each certificant’s MyBPS account will contain instructions for reporting CPD units. Step-by-step instructions for reporting CPD will be available in the future.

Can I use activities developed as part of a BPS-approved Professional Development Program (PDP) to satisfy the requirement for 20 units of self-selected/self-reported CPD activities?

Yes. Please see the first row of the CPD activity chart.

If I participate in BPS-approved, assessed CPE, but don’t pass the post-activity assessment for BPS recertification credit, can I still count the ACPE credit I earned as CPD units?

Yes, you may earn continuing pharmacy education (CPE) from any ACPE-accredited provider (e.g., state associations, workplace education, certificate training programs offering ACPE credit) to count as CPD units.

Will BPS promote CPD activities on the BPS website?

BPS will continue listing BPS-approved, assessed CPE professional development program providers for each specialty area on the website (currently listed here.) BPS will not pre-approve CPD activities, so a public repository of CPD activities will not appear on the BPS website.

What does “active – activity units pending” status mean?

“Active – activity units pending” means that the certificant has an active certification but has not provided evidence of completion of the minimum number of CPE/CPD units annually (see above).