Frequently Asked Questions

Click each of the 3 tabs below to read the FAQs.

How often are the BPS exams held?

BPS holds specialty certification and recertification examinations both windowed testing format and continuous testing format examinations. Examinations offered in the windowed testing format are available in two windows per year, either in April/May or August/September. For examinations offered in the continuous testing format, a candidate has the opportunity to register throughout the year and take a certification or recertification examination at any point in the year.


Where are BPS exams held?

BPS uses Prometric to administer our exams. Prometric has approximately 1,000 test center locations worldwide. To search for available test locations please visit the following Prometric webpage:

All exams are computer-based.


Why is there a difference in the time to receive a score report for windowed examinations in comparison to continuous testing examinations?

BPS exam results will be released to examinees in continuously available specialty examinations within 60 calendar days from their examination administration date. For specialties in widowed examinations, examinees will receive scores within 90 days from the close of the examination window.

BPS is in the process of converting certification examination programs from a window testing format to continuously available format. One of the key benefits of the continuously available testing format is the decreased time for verifying examination outcomes and providing score reports to candidates. To achieve this faster turnaround in the continuously available testing format, much of the psychometric analysis that is required to establish equivalence and verify the accuracy of examination scores is done prior to administration; whereas, in the window testing format, administration data from the cohort of examinees is gathered and post-administration psychometric analysis is conducted as part of the scoring process.


What happens if I fail an exam?

Candidates in the windowed testing format who have failed a certification examination within the past year have the option to apply for a retake examination within a year of the previous attempt for a reduced fee of $300 USD. For specialties in the continuous testing format, candidates who fail a certification examination will have to apply for a retake examination and pay a discounted fee of $300 USD to retake the examination. A candidate pursuing a specialty within the continuous testing format will be allowed two retake examinations, with 90 calendar days between each retake. If a passing score is not achieved after the second retake attempt, a candidate must wait 12 months to submit a new application, with an application fee of $600 USD, and begin the process again.


Can I sit for more than one BPS exam?

A pharmacist can only sit for one specialty exam in each testing cycle. Additionally, it would be difficult for a pharmacist to hold more than a few certifications because of the requirement to have practiced for at least 3 to 4 years in that specialty. We do have pharmacists that hold more than one certification.


What are the benefits of board certification?

For pharmacists who earn BPS certification, the career opportunities will vary by employer. In the U.S. Department of Defense and in the U.S. Public Health Service, board certified specialists may receive bonus pay. Within the VA system, specialists may serve at a higher pay step. An increasing number of employers, such as Kaiser Permanente’s Colorado region, recognize BPS certified pharmacists in their career ladder programs.

Additionally, board certification can provide a personal reward for pharmacists. By preparing for the exam there is an opportunity to increase your specialized knowledge in a practice area. Board certification is a way that pharmacists can objectively demonstrate that they have the knowledge and experience for complex medication management. Being Board certified is also a means of informing other professionals of your educational and practice accomplishments.


I work in a chain or independent community pharmacy. Am I eligible to sit for the Ambulatory Care pharmacy exam?

Many of the Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacists work in chain and independent community pharmacies. If you have graduated from an accredited school of pharmacy, have an active license to practice and have one of the following:

4 years practice experience with 50% of time spent in ambulatory care activities


Completed a PGY1 residency and 1 additional year practice experience with 50% of time spent in ambulatory care activities


Completed a PGY2 residency in ambulatory care pharmacy

You are eligible to sit for the exam. Please view the Ambulatory Care Content Outline for more details.


How do I know if my years of practice experience will fulfill the eligibility requirements?

Eligibility criteria vary among specialty areas. If you are qualifying via practice experience, you must have a minimum number of years where you can demonstrate you spent at least 50% of your time each year in that specialty area, as defined by the BPS Content Outline.

The BPS Specialty Area Content Outlines are blueprints for the exam that also map out the tasks and activities that may be counted towards practice experience in that specialty area. To determine your eligibility, closely view the Content Outline to see if your practice experience matches the tasks outlined.


How do I demonstrate my years of practice experience to fulfill the eligibility requirements?

In order to provide documentation of your practice experience, the BPS application requires you to list separate twelve-month time periods with a percentage breakdown of the time you spent in each of the domains of the Content Outline for your specialty area. Additionally, you are required to provide employer contact information for each year reported. The required years of practice experience vary among specialties. Please view the eligibility criteria for your specialty for further details.


I have two years of experience where I spent 100% of my time in my chosen specialty area. Does this meet the criteria?

No, the number of years of practice experience required for each specialty area represents a minimum requirement. For example, for BCOP certification, 4 years of practice experience with at least 50% of that time each year spent in Oncology pharmacy activities is required. Even if you spend 100% of your time in Oncology pharmacy activities, four years of practice experience is required.


Practice guidelines have recently been updated. Will this be reflected on the exam?

All BPS specialty certification examinations reflect current, best practices at the time they are constructed. Practice guidelines used for the Spring examination are those that are current as of January 1 of the testing year. Practice guidelines for the Fall examination are those that are current as of July 1 of the testing year.


Does BPS partner with external organization for the application process?

BPS partners with Prometric to provide the examination. BPS does not have any other partnerships for the certification or recertification application process. BPS partners with professional development program (PDP) providers to provide continuing education (CE) for recertification and the relationship is noted here. Any organization claiming a relationship with BPS for the application process or providing CE labeled ‘BPS-approved’ outside of the organizations listed should be reported to BPS immediately.

What is the fee for International applicants seeking BPS board certification?

The fee for all first-time applicants for specialty certification is $600 USD.


What additional information am I required to submit if I am licensed outside of the United States, Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, or Singapore?

Applicants who receive their pharmacy education outside of the U.S. and who are not licensed to practice pharmacy in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, or Singapore must provide BPS with the following:

Documentation of current active legal authorization to practice pharmacy in their country of origin or current residence.


An official copy of the graduation certificate or diploma indicating that the individual has completed an educational program, preparing him or her for basic pharmacy practice

If these documents are not in English, English translations must be provided by the candidate, at the applicant’s expense. These documents are to be uploaded in PDF or JPG format as part of the online application process.

Additionally, all applicants licensed outside of the United States, Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore must request a copy of their transcripts or certificate of graduation be sent in a sealed envelope directly from their university to BPS. Please fill out the Graduation Documentation Request Form and request your university submit it to BPS along with your education documentation.


Where should transcripts/certificate of graduation be sent to?

Click here for instructions on submitting e-transcripts in the certification application process.

Sealed Hard Copy of Transcripts should be sent to:

Board of Pharmacy Specialties
2215 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20037


Can I mail hard copies of transcripts directly to BPS?

No, all graduation transcripts, certificates and diplomas must be sent to BPS in a sealed envelope directly from your university. Transcripts sent by applicants to BPS will not be accepted.


Should I submit an application before requesting transcripts from my university?

We recommend requesting transcripts from your university as soon as possible. However, you should submit your application prior to requesting education documentation from your school. We ask that the Graduation Documentation Request Form be attached to any documentation sent in by your university.

Please note that your application is not complete, and you will not be authorized to test, until we receive hard copy documentation from your university. Failure to submit the Graduation Documentation Request Form may result in delays in processing your application.


Do the transcripts/graduation certificates and diplomas have to be in English?

It is preferred, if possible, that your University send required documentation in English. However, we will accept documentation in foreign languages as well. All documents sent in a foreign language will be translated into English. BPS will not confirm receipt of documents until the translation is complete.


What if my transcripts don’t arrive by the application deadline?

All required documentation, including transcripts, must be received by the application deadline. If all required documentation is not received by the deadline, your application will be withdrawn and your application fees will be refunded in full to the credit card on file.


In my country, it is acceptable to earn practice experience before licensure is granted. Does this practice experience meet the BPS eligibility requirements?

All practice experience must be earned post-pharmacist licensure. Any practice experience earned prior to the issuance of your official pharmacist license will not be accepted. This includes practice experience earned under a temporary or provisional license.


I have multiple spellings of my name. Which should I use when filling out the BPS application?

Each Prometric testing center requires all candidates to present a valid government-issued photo identification with a signature. The name that you apply with should match your government I.D. The BPS profile does offer a section for you to list any other names that are used. Please be sure to list all other names there, including the name listed on your official university documents.


Is the exam computer-based or paper-based?

BPS offers computer-based testing through our test administrator Prometric for the majority of countries. Candidates testing in Egypt and Saudi Arabia will no longer be required to take a paper-based version of the examination. Candidates will be offered the same exam dates as all other candidates testing outside of Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Please see the BPS Candidate’s Guide for further details.


Does BPS partner with external organization for the application process?

BPS partners with Prometric to provide the examination. BPS does not have any other partnerships for the certification or recertification application process. BPS partners with professional development program (PDP) providers to provide continuing education (CE) for recertification and the relationship is noted here. Any organization claiming a relationship with BPS for the application process or providing CE labeled ‘BPS-approved’ outside of the organizations listed should be reported to BPS immediately.

When do I pay the annual maintenance fee?

Board certified pharmacists are required to pay a $125 annual maintenance fee during years 1-6 of their recertification cycle. Notifications will be sent out via email during the first week of May each year, with payment due within 45 days of the notice.


Do I pay an annual fee during my recertification year?

Board certified pharmacists who are due to recertify do not pay the annual maintenance fee in their recertification year. This includes candidates who hold two or more BPS certifications. Instead, pharmacists due to recertify should submit the recertification application and pay the recertification fee.


I have multiple certifications. Do I pay an annual maintenance fee for each specialty?

No, pharmacists holding more than one BPS certification are assessed only one annual fee.


Why isn’t my name on the Board Certified Pharmacist search?

Board Certified pharmacists’ names are removed from the board certified pharmacist search when they are overdue on payment of the annual certification maintenance fee, and therefore not in good standing. To rectify the situation, please login to your MyBPS account to pay all past due annual maintenance fees (plus $5 penalty fee). Once these fees have been paid, your name will come up on the board certified pharmacist search.


How do I change my MyBPS password?

To change your MyBPS password, login to your MyBPS account and click “Change Password” on the left-hand side of the screen.


How do I update my email/phone number/mailing address?

To update your contact information, log in to your MyBPS account and click on “Update Profile” on the left-hand side of the screen.

Please note, changing your email address will not automatically update your Username. To update your username, click “Change Username” on the left-hand side of the homepage of your MyBPS account.


I’ve recently changed my name. How do I update it with BPS?

Logon to your MyBPS account. On the left-hand side of the screen, under “Other Requests”, click “Name Change”. This will bring you to the Name Change Application. Please note, you will need to upload a PDF or JPG of your government issued documentation (driver’s license, passport, etc.) with your updated name listed.


When is the recertification fee due?

All board-certified pharmacists are required to pay the BPS Annual Certification Maintenance fee of $125 USD each year for years one through six of their certification and a $400 USD recertification fee in year seven. However, you can submit your application beginning in January of your recertification year. If you wish to test during the Spring testing window, you must submit your application by the Spring application deadline (see Dates, Deadlines, and Fees for more information).

Candidates wishing to recertify via continuing education have until December 31 of their recertification year to complete their CE requirements; however, they must submit their application by August 4, by selecting the “Honor CE” recertification route.


Why aren’t my CE hours showing up in my MyBPS account?

Approved providers send all earned CE hours AFTER the post-test due date, so there may be lag time between when you submit a module and when those CE hours appear in your MyBPS account. Please note that hours are linked to your MyBPS account from approved providers using your BPS credential number. Your credential number can be found by logging into your MyBPS account and clicking “Credential Info”.


If I’m recertifying via examination, do I have to take the exam in the Fall of my recertification year?

No, Board Certified pharmacists who are planning on recertifying via examination will have the option of taking the exam in either the Spring or the Fall of their recertification year.


How can my employer verify my BPS certification?

Employers can verify certification by using the Board Certified Pharmacist Search on the BPS website, which lists all BPS pharmacists in good standing. For further information, they can contact BPS directly using the Contact Us form on the BPS website.