Many have asked me what are the pros and cons of doing BCPS recertification by exam. Here are my thoughts on this.
BCPS Recertification by Exam: The Pros
- If you are anything like me, I learn best when I have something I am preparing for. One of the great advantages of preparing to retake the BCPS exam is that you get the opportunity to relearn (and hopefully remember) things that you have likely forgotten or haven’t stayed up to date on. The added pressure of having to retain that information for an exam seems to help me retain that information more long term. This can obviously be helpful in everyday practice as you encounter clinical questions and issues.
- Between various state licenses and other requirements of being a pharmacist, one of the nice perks of BCPS recertification by exam is that you don’t have to worry about tracking CE. You need to make sure you get adequate CE hours to allow you to be eligible for BCPS recertification. There is also a time period for which you cannot obtain CE and also requirements on how many you can do per year.
- Less confusing. Not all CE matches the BCPS requirements. This means that you need to remember or document which CE credits obtained meets the criteria for your state licensing board(s) versus those that meet the BCPS standards.
- As long as you pass your recertification exam, it should cost less than what it would cost to pay for all the CE and the recertification fee from BPS.
- It is not 175 questions. The recertification exam is only 100 questions which doesn’t tie up as much time as the original certification exam.
- The pass rate is much higher for the BCPS recertification exam. The initial exam pass rates are in the 60-70% range while recertification pass rates the last couple of years have averaged around 85%.
- I have encountered a few pharmacists who have had their employers give them a paid day off for taking the exam and numerous others be reimbursed for the purchase of study materials. Be sure to ask your employer about this as they may be an advocate for pharmacists advancing their clinical knowledge and set aside a stipend each year for education purposes.
BCPS Recertification by Exam: The Cons
- You need to pass the exam. It is a difficult exam (not as bad as the initial exam) and this is obviously a possible downside to recertification by exam. On the flip side, you did pass it the first time so you should be able to pass it again. For INITIAL certification, the usual pass rate is in the 60-70% range (pretty low) while for recertification, the pass rate in the Fall of 2019 was up at 88%. That’s a pretty high percentage and means you should have a pretty high likelihood of passing compared to the first time you took the exam.
- You need to study. I would not encourage winging the exam so you will likely have to set aside some time to prepare for the recertification exam.
- Overall, recertification by CE is much more expensive, but it will get more costly if you have to retake the BCPS recertification exam several times. Again, the likelihood of this is low if you adequately prepare like you did the first time, but costs could add up if you are having to take it multiple times.
- Fitting it into your schedule. You will have to find a testing center and date that works for you. This isn’t likely a huge barrier, but something to consider. As mentioned above, the recertification exam is only 100 questions so time may not be as big of a deal as it is for the initial certification. Maybe you have a nice employer and they will give you a paid day off to take it?
Whether you are preparing for your initial BCPS exam or recertification, be sure to check out our annually updated study materials.