Should Board Certification in Pharmacy Equal a Residency?

There has been a lot of debate about whether board certification should equate to or replace a pharmacy residency.
A couple of years ago, I read a letter from a pharmacist to the editor of Annals of Pharmacotherapy that brought forth some thoughts against board certification for new pharmacy school graduates who lack residency experience. The pharmacist author opined that new graduates should not be allowed to sit for the Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS) test without residency training.

The author argued that pharmacists were using board certification as a replacement for postgraduate residency or fellowship education. He also cited that employers were starting to require board certification as a condition of employment. In addition, he pointed to the need for revisions of the test over time, 3 years of experience equaling a residency, and a requirement of residency prior to board certification testing for new graduates after 2018.

One argument for board certification as a condition of pharmacist employment is that it is a standardized test, whereas not all residency programs are created equal. Some residency programs are very diverse and situated in teaching hospitals, while others are very similar to on-the-job training.
Programs must meet certain criteria as a requirement for accreditation, but not all residency experiences are created equal, either. On the other hand, board certification is a standardized test that shows a certain level of expertise.

I’m sure that the same issues came about when pharmacy schools first began offering the Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Would the PharmD be worth more than the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Pharmacy? Would graduates with PharmDs be more clinically minded?
Over time, the BS in pharmacy was phased out and the PharmD became the norm. I’m sure the same will happen as residencies become the norm, too.

If a residency should be a prerequisite for taking the BCPS exam, I believe pharmacy school curriculums need to change so that the residency program is built into the actual school model.

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