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pharmhan

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I've been thinking about becoming board certified in pharmacotherapy after completing my residency, which confers the title BCPS (board certified phramacotherapy specialist). Have others also thought about this? I took the practice exam on the bps website and I think passing such an exam would be doable if I strengthen my weak spots (ie. oncology, infectious disease) during this coming year of residency. It seems like a good career move to distinguish oneself from the growing pool of clinical pharmacists competing for ambulatory care positions. Has anyone gone through the examination process, and if you have, could you describe what it was like, how difficult the questions were, how you stuied, and if you felt it was all worth it in the end? I'm puzzled why more clinical pharmacists don't get board certified...is it the $600 certification fee, or is it that the exam pass rate is low, or something else? Even among my professors at UCSF, only a small minoriy were board certified. Is it really not very useful to have the board certification? I guess I like having goals (or driving myself crazy) :laugh: and it seems like certification could only be a good thing (possible higher pay, impetus to keep studying and learning, an edge in the job market). What do you all think?
 

minhdang

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Oct 14, 2010
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I am in pharmacy school right now and i got a very bad exam score at Pharmacotherapy III :mad:.

I saw you said that you did the practice exam on the bps website. Could you please send me the link so that i can do the practice exam - my email [email protected].

Or if you or any one know any web site that i could do the practice exam for pharmacotherapy III, please let me know. I deeply appreciate.
 

iluvtennis

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Sep 4, 2010
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I've been thinking about becoming board certified in pharmacotherapy after completing my residency, which confers the title BCPS (board certified phramacotherapy specialist). Have others also thought about this? I took the practice exam on the bps website and I think passing such an exam would be doable if I strengthen my weak spots (ie. oncology, infectious disease) during this coming year of residency. It seems like a good career move to distinguish oneself from the growing pool of clinical pharmacists competing for ambulatory care positions. Has anyone gone through the examination process, and if you have, could you describe what it was like, how difficult the questions were, how you stuied, and if you felt it was all worth it in the end? I'm puzzled why more clinical pharmacists don't get board certified...is it the $600 certification fee, or is it that the exam pass rate is low, or something else? Even among my professors at UCSF, only a small minoriy were board certified. Is it really not very useful to have the board certification? I guess I like having goals (or driving myself crazy) :laugh: and it seems like certification could only be a good thing (possible higher pay, impetus to keep studying and learning, an edge in the job market). What do you all think?

The board of pharmacy specialties has 6 different area pharmacists can be certified in including oncology, nutrition support, psychiatry, pharmacotherapy, nuclear pharmacy and ambulatory. Most clinical pharmacists choose to become certified in pharmacotherapy because it is the closest fit to their practice area. I will reiterate in case you missed it above that ambulatory care now has its own separate certification.

Do you plan on attending the ACCP annual meeting? I believe you have the option of spending an additional $50 or so dollars on top of the registration fee to get the BCPS prep materials and to attend the prep course at the annual meeting. In my opinion the prep books are helpful while the actual course is a bit of a bore.

I have never heard of anyone not passing the exam, not that anyone would tell me if they actually did fail. I have heard through other people that it has actually gotten easier over the years. Not sure if thats true.

Also, many people who have well established careers sometimes choose to let go of their certification because it can be rather costly to maintain. The full cost of the PSAP for ACCP members is like $400 and $600 for non-members. Some employers may cover the cost whereas some may not.

Check out these links:
http://www.bpsweb.org/specialties/specialties.cfm
http://www.accp.com/report/index.aspx?iss=0810&art=19
http://www.accp.com/education/pharmacotherapyPrepCourse.aspx
 
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Dalteparin

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At ACCP's spring meeting this year, they said the pass rate of the exam is ~65%. I have talked to a few people who didn't pass on the first try but later retook it and passed.

You do not need to do the PSAPs to maintain certification. If you'd prefer, you can retake the test in the year your certification expires - and for those seeking recertification, it's a 100 question test (instead of 200 questions, which is what people seeking initial certification take). Employers may or may not cover the cost of PSAPs/other study materials. However, some employers give a raise to pharmacists who pass BCPS. For that reason alone, it's worth it to maintain your certification.

I took the test for a lot of reasons: I want to be faculty someday and it's easier to do that with BCPS, I get a raise if I pass, plus it's a challenge and I never back down from those. :)
 

FruitFly

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How do u get BCPS? I could take that test in my sleep and pass. But what about the actual experience needed? Who is eligible?
 

penguin85

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pharmhan - I would definitely say go for it if you are considering it. Many of my preceptors and administrators have congratulated me on my decision to take the test and many clinical pharmacists believe that just as a pharmacy residency is becoming almost required for a clinical pharmacist position, so will BCPS one day. I personally studied the reading materials published by ACCP and thought that it was a good refresher and a great way to better myself and my knowledge base as I prepare to take on the role of a clinical pharmacist. I can't tell you if this is the most effective way to study, as I am still awaiting my results and whether I passed, but I thought I was well prepared for the exam by studying this way.

As others I'm sure have told you, the exam is heavily laden with stats and, in my opinion, infectious diseases so spend some extra time in these areas if you proceed with the exam. I believe that some potential barriers to taking the exam are cost, and many pharmacists that are somewhat hesitant on when the best time to take the exam really is. I have heard right after the first year residency, while some others seem to think that a year later would be best. Some would rather wait for their future employer to foot the bill, and others think 2-3 years of actual clinical practice would help them more. It really is up to you as to when the best time is.

I fully intend to retake the exam next year if I don't pass this year. I really think it is where clinical pharmacy is going and helped me relearn many things that I had forgot about since school.

Hope this helps! :D
 

spacecowgirl

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How do u get BCPS? I could take that test in my sleep and pass. But what about the actual experience needed? Who is eligible?

None of the practice questions were anything like the real exam IMO. I studied for months and months and still don't know if I passed.
 

bacillus1

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Many pharmacists don't get BCPS because it's not really of benefit to them, as many hospitals don't care that much about BCPS. I got it mainly because my hospital gives a pay increase for it. It looks good if you are looking for a job, but once you have a job there isn't that much of a point to get it unless you are either paid extra or are in a field where it looks good such as academia, especially since the certification and maintenance costs are pretty substantial.
 
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