New BCPS Application Changes You Need To Be Aware Of

BPS is the Board of Pharmacy Specialties and they are responsible for creating the certification exams, setting the passing score (historical pass rates) and managing the application process.  There are a couple of planned BCPS application changes for 2019 and beyond.  This actually affects all who are planning to take a pharmacist board certification exam, like BCPS, BCGP, BCACP, BCCCP etc.  My understanding is this will also impact those who are up for recertification.

You used to have to attest that you spend 50% of your time as a pharmacist doing clinical activities that fall under the content outline for each respective BPS exam.  This was simply a check box.  If you are looking for the content outlines to help you prepare, you can find them at the BPS website.  Many exam takers I’ve spoke to (usually pharmacists that have been more in a dispensing role) have always been confused by this question and questioned if they actually do enough of the activities represented in the content outline 50% of the time.  I am aware of no one who has actually been audited on this.  I’m not saying it hasn’t happened, but I could imagine the logistics of BPS trying to verify this were very difficult.

With that stated, the BCPS application changes (and all other certification exams) are intended to verify that you actually do those activities 50% of the time.  The changes include:

  1. The candidate for any pharmacist board certification must spend at least 50% of their time doing clinical activities as noted in each respective certification content outline that the pharmacist is applying for AND they now must get an employer to sign off on this.
  2. In addition, the employer and the work experience doing 50% of the activities listed above, must have been done within the last 7 years.

If I was looking to prepare for BCPS or another board certification exam in 2019, I would definitely have my ducks in a row.  I have to believe before any application is going to be accepted, they are going to want that employer attestation.  If looking to apply in 2019, I would strongly encourage you not to sign up last minute, because if there is any hitch in getting your employer to sign off, you may miss the boat and have to wait for the next application period which is usually about 6 months.  Hopefully this reminder will help keep you on task in your pursuit of pharmacist board certification!

If you are looking for study materials in 2018-2019, we’ve developed a list of resources for:


  1. Tia Mack

    Hey Eric! Thanks for the info. I recently reviewed the pass rates for Spring 2018 published on BPS’s website. I noticed the BCGP pass rate fell from 73% to 43% and that there were far less test takers as Fall 2017. Do you know of any reason why this is the case? I am sitting for BCGP in September and want to be sure I am fully prepared.

    • Eric Christianson

      Hey Tia, thanks for the message. I absolutely anticipate the exam being graded harder since now under the umbrella of BPS vs CCGP. I suspect the actual exam will get more challenging as well. As far as being prepared, review the content outline carefully. Some common sense goes a long way as well. Know stats, treatment guidelines (as well as interpretation in the geriatric population), contraindications, major interactions, bad drugs in the elderly (Beer’s etc.), why you would or wouldn’t use a med, monitoring, and definitely understand some of the social/physiological aspects of aging, hospice, death, etc.

      We have worked hard to cover the entire content outline in our prep course and have also included the stats study guide in the all access package. I have a strong suspicion that statistics will become heavier on BCGP with the changes.

      I am not seeing the link on BPS website and have not heard yet about the BCGP pass rates for Spring 2018. I am anticipating a drop, but down to 43% pass rate is insane if true. Do you have that link?

      Thanks again for the message – Eric

      • Tia Mack

        Here is the link:

        It was posted as a bulletin on the home page. Let me know if I am seeing it incorrectly; that was a complete shocker to me.

        I’ve purchased your products and have found them helpful thus far. I also purchased your $0.99 Case Study book. Thanks for the discounts! 🙂 The timing worked out perfectly for me.

        Anyhow, I will print these tips and refer to them in my time of preparation. Thanks again, Eric!

        • Eric Christianson

          Hey, thanks much Tia!!! whoa, that’s the way I read it, a 43% pass rate, BCGP is no longer the easiest exam! I will work on a blog post with more on this for BCGP exam participants and hope to get it out within the next week or two! – good info and thanks for sharing the link with others


    • Sheelia Whitaker

      Hi Tia, I have applied to sit for BCGP in the Fall 2018 as well, however am now being requested to provide further information to align with 50% of time spent in geriatrics (now asecond time) after placing a very detailed description of my job (clinical pharmacy specialist within the VA). Wondering if you could share some of the points you used to justify your rationale for sitting for the exam, I am at a loss. Thanks!

  2. Cheryl B.

    Wonder what others think about how this certification helps with future job prospects. Any example would be great. I just don’t see any job postings that ask for it as a qualification for hire but maybe it was just cause I wasn’t looking in the right place. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

    • Eric Christianson

      Hi Cheryl, thanks for the message, here’s a recent ambulatory/teaching opportunity in my region and the “preferred” qualifications; You’ll see board certification listed below: – it definitely adds a feather in your cap and I do remember being complimented about it on an interview about 2-3 years ago. Managers are looking for it in many cases and it is a way to differentiate yourself from the competition if others don’t have it. Other experiences certainly are factors in any job selection process, but I definitely think it is easier to exclude people who don’t have a certification if there is a significant number of applicants for a position. – Hope that helps!

      • Completed/completing a PGY2 residency in ambulatory care
      • Accumulated more than 3 years of consistent experience in ambulatory care clinical pharmacy practice
      • Clinical experience with collaborative drug therapy management, including anticoagulation management
      • Teaching experience in pharmacy or medical programs
      • Precepting experience in pharmacy or medical programs
      • BPS Certification ( BCACP , BCPS or BCGP )
      • Additional certifications in ambulatory care areas, such as Certified Diabetes Educator, Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist, Certified Asthma Educator, etc.
      • Research/scholarship experience
      • Demonstration of self-development

  3. selsam

    What happens if you changed employers within the seven year time period?

    • Eric Christianson

      My interpretation is that you need that experience within the last 7 years. My understanding is that you could have someone that you worked under from 5 years ago sign, even if you switched jobs in after that timeframe. Does that make sense?


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Written By Eric Christianson

July 15, 2018

Study Materials For Pharmacists


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