Pharmacist Board Certification in 2018 – Historical Pass Rates and a Look Ahead

I get a lot of questions about pharmacist board certification. So I just wanted to share what I know for pharmacist board certification in 2018.

The biggest change will be for those seeking geriatric certification.  This exam and content will be changing.  If you are planning on taking this certification in 2018, you can learn more about those changes here: BCGP changes in 2018

Standardization.  All pharmacist board certifications will now be under the Board of Pharmacy Specialties umbrella.  In addition to all being under the control of BPS, they will all have a standard test format.

  • 175 questions (new certification)
  • 100 questions (recertification)
  • ALL multiple choice with 4 selections possible
    • Only one answer should be selected for each question
  • Computer based in US (possibly paper based in other countries)
  • Just over four hours to complete the 175 questions
  • 2 testing windows; fall and spring
  • Biostatistics and non-clinical questions (regulatory) are a part of every exam


Specialties Available: *note geriatric addition

In looking ahead to 2018, I think it is important to look back at the history of pharmacist board certifications.  Historically, how hard are the exams? These exams are far from a gimmie. – Pass rates from 2016:

  • BCACP (AmCare) – 64%
  • BCCCP (Critical Care) – 82%
  • BCGP (Geriatric) – 78% (note; exam format and content will change in 2018)
  • BCNP (Nuclear) – 50%
  • BCNSP (Nutrition) – 67%
  • BCOP (Oncology) – 57% (79% recertification pass rate)
  • BCPPS (Pediatrics) – 62%
  • BCPS (Pharmacotherapy) – 60% (92% recertification pass rate – maybe this recertification exam isn’t quite so hard as the initial exam?)
  • BCPP (Psychiatric) – 69% (77% recertification pass rate)

Looking back, which are the most popular certifications by number of exam participants?

  1. BCPS
  2. BCGP (estimated over 4 testing periods versus 2)
  3. BCACP
  4. BCCCP
  5. BCOP
  6. BCPPS
  7. BCPP
  8. BCNSP
  9. BCNP

I hope this is helpful for those determining which certification track they want to take! Click here for more information on study material from Meded101!


  1. John Mountzuris

    Do you have a date for the BC exam for Geriatrics and will you be offering any study materials?

  2. Arletys Pinera

    I have a question, after you have an specialty the only way to get your recertification is having a test again?? That is not a CE course or another thing to do??

    • Eric Christianson

      Yep, you can recertify by doing CE. Here’s the quote from BPS. “Earning 120 hours of continuing education credit provided by a professional development program approved by BPS.”

  3. DJ

    Hello Eric, i have been prepping with various materials including yours however i was interested in knowing if you knew were additional questions could be found that mimic the BCGP exam. I am scheduled to take it in 4 weeks and would like more test questions to practice with after reviewing a subject. Thanks again for all of your help!!!

  4. Jimcy Mathew

    Do the syllabus is the same for all board exams in 2018 or any changes

    • Eric Christianson

      I’m not aware of any content outline/syllabus changes for 2018, but that might not be announced quite yet…be sure to double check the content outline as 2018 gets closer. Good question – Eric

  5. Ernie

    Hey Eric,
    I have a stupid question. If you can recertify by doing CE 120 credits as mentioned above for one certification. What if you have 2 certificates like BCGP and BCPS? also do you know if you could do it in a way so that you can recertify for both at same time?


    • Eric Christianson

      Definitely not a stupid question. If you have two certifications and are going the CE route, definitely be sure with BPS what they allow for credit! For those with two certifications, it might be challenging to keep up with CE. I’ve chose to go the retesting route for simplicity sake. They allow some overlap of CE, but not all overlap from my interpretation. Here’s BCACP wording “For BCACPs who are also certified in Pharmacotherapy, ACCP and ASHP will provide opportunities for dual continuing education credits that overlap across both specialties with the Clinical Reasoning Series and Intensive Study programs. Please be advised that each year, candidates are only allowed to earn six (6) total hours towards their BCACP & BCPS certifications using these continuing education courses.”

      Here’s the full link for recertification guidance:

  6. Ernie

    Hey Eric,

    Thank you for advice above appreciate it alot your are awesome!

    Just curious what do the certificates for CGP/BCGP and BCPS look like and what size? I can’t seem to find their image anywhere and what size do they come in? I’m decorating and would like to know in terms of frames.

    Thanks bro

    • Eric Christianson

      The frame I have my BCPS in is 15 and 1/2 inches by 12 and 1/2 inches if that helps. Thanks, Eric

  7. Eileen

    Do you know of a personal tutoring service for taking BCACP? I tried to tackle this exam twice but was unsuccessful.

    • Eric Christianson

      I don’t Eileen. Sorry…

  8. Susan

    I will be taking the geriatric pharmacist examination in two weeks. Do you know if there are three or four choices for the answers?

    • Eric Christianson

      My understanding is 3 until the exam changes starting in 2018 under the BPS umbrella, then it will go to four- good luck!

  9. BH

    I recently took the bcccp and was confused about whether or not I was able to return to part 1 after finishing part 2 of the exam ? I started the test at 7 am , elected to not take a break and finished part 2 by 1030, which is 3.5 hours. I know I did not answer all 100 questions in part 1 . Shouldn’t I have been allowed to go back to part 1 ? Technically I should have been given almost 4.5 hours to answer 175 questions ?

    • Eric Christianson

      Great question Bruce, I would definitely reach out to BPS and let them know the issue. My understanding is that you should get 100 questions in the first section and 75 in the second. The combined time for those sections should be 4 hours and 23 minutes according to the website and information at BPS. I suspect you won’t get a response, but I would at least document it. Hopefully it didn’t affect the final outcome for you!

  10. Bushra

    i need help regarding the preparatory course for BCOP?

    • Eric Christianson

      The stats study guide is the only thing that have available at this time that would be helpful for preparing for the stats section. I’ve been looking for a BCOP that would want to help put some study materials together and haven’t had any luck! – Sorry! Eric

  11. Hong Ngee Chan

    Hi Eric,
    Please may I know is the BCCCP course material for 2017 exam any different from 2018 exam? Thank you.

    • Eric Christianson

      Thanks for the message! The only thing I have that has been helpful for BCCCP at this time is the stats study guide. I have had several pharmacists who’ve taken different board certification exams tell me this is useful for their preparation.



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Written By Eric Christianson

July 9, 2017

Study Materials For Pharmacists


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