Pharmacist Board Certification: Which one is Right for You?
There has been growing interest in pharmacist board certification. I think it will only be increasing as the job market seems to be tightening up. Another reason for the increase might be the steady progression toward provider status.
I’m not going to discuss the value of board certifications in the post, but I’ve been asked by several pharmacists; which one should I try to obtain?
There are a lot of board certifications now available for pharmacists. Pharmacotherapy, Ambulatory Care (BCACP), Geriatrics, Oncology, Pediatrics, Psych, etc. I can’t exactly tell you which one is right for you, but I can tell you my thought process in deciding to become a Certified Geriatric Pharmacist (CGP) and Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS).
I took my CGP exam a few years back now and don’t regret it. I work primarily in geriatrics and the certification made a lot of sense given a significant amount of my work as a clinical pharmacist was done in long term care (heavily geriatrics). If you are looking for study materials for the CGP pharmacy exam, I’ve created a mock exam you can find here.
Why did I do BCPS? I view BCPS as the most universal certification. The topics covered in this certification are extensive and include everything from pediatrics, critical care, geriatrics, ambulatory care etc. I want to fully disclose that I do have a BCPS mock exam for sale on this website, however, I took the BCPS exam long before I ever considered creating a practice exam. For your reference, per accp.com, about 14,000 pharmacists have BCPS certification. About 1,500 have ambulatory care and oncology respectively, the next two most popular certifications from BPS.
My take: If you know 100% you want to practice in a particular area/specialty of pharmacy for the rest of your career, then doing a specific certification like oncology makes a lot of sense. If you are not exactly sure where your career path will take you as many younger pharmacist are not, I would probably recommend the BCPS certification. Feel free to add your two cents!
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Eric Christianson, PharmD, CGP, BCPS