Candidate Handbook

For specialty pharmacists interested in CSP certification, the starting point is downloading the Candidate Handbook for a complete description of eligibility requirements, candidate information and Certified Specialty Pharmacist (CSP) certification policies. After reviewing the Candidate Handbook, if you meet the eligibility requirements — applying for certification is the next step.

Eligibility Requirements

All individuals who seek certification must meet the established eligibility requirements in effect at the time of application.

  1. Education: Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy (BSPharm) or Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD).
  2. Licensure: Active pharmacist license in good standing, with no current restrictions or pending actions, in the United States or Canada.
  3. Continuing Education: Completion of 30 hours of Specialty Pharmacy continuing education in the previous two (2) years. All continuing education hours must be related to Specialty Pharmacy and topics included in the CSP examination content outline. All continuing education must be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) or approved by the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP). To enter your CE activities using the full copy of your CPE Monitor Activity Transcript, view the Uploading a CE Transcript document for instruction.
  4. Experience: 3,000 hours of Specialty Pharmacy practice in the previous four (4) years. See Specialty Experience Requirement Interpretation section of the Candidate Handbook for more information. Employer Verification forms may be submitted by the employer electronically through the application system or by completing the hard copy version of the SPCB Employer Verification Form and uploading it to the application.
  5. Background, Code of Conduct, and Application Accuracy Attestation: Applicants must attest to comply with the SPCB Code of Conduct and report any previous history of felony records or State/Provincial Board suspensions. Any conviction or State Board suspension must be reported to SPCB within 15 days. Applicants and certificants must abide to practice specialty pharmacy in a manner consist with the certification standards and responsibilities set forth in the SPCB’s Code of Conduct. Applicants must attest to the accuracy of information reported within the application.
  6. Examination: Passing score on the CSP examination.

Candidates who meet all of the requirements are awarded the CSP credential.

View the Frequently Asked Questions page for additional application information.

Eligibility Rationale

Each eligibility requirement has been established to ensure that certified individuals have an acceptable level of knowledge, as evidenced by the examination and education requirements, and skill, as evidenced by the experience requirement, needed to provide specialty pharmacy services at an intermediate level.

A rationale for each eligibility requirement has been established as follows:

Education: The level of education required for CSP certification is consistent with the level of education required to practice as a pharmacist. A BSPharm or PharmD degree granted by a U.S. regionally accredited college/university or foreign equivalent is required as a basic measure of the quality of the pharmacist’s education.

Licensure: The requirement for a current, active pharmacist license in good standing is consistent with the state/provincial requirements to practice as a pharmacist in the US/Canada. Requiring that the license is full, current and unrestricted is necessary to demonstrate that the pharmacist has no unresolved disciplinary issues as a measure to increase public protection.

Continuing Education: The continuing education requirement ensures that applicants have education that is specific to Specialty Pharmacy medications and disease states. The requirement that CE be completed within the two-years prior to application provides assurance that the pharmacist’s specialty-related knowledge is up to date.

Experience: The 3,000-hour requirement is necessary to ensure that applicants have adequate work experience and to give applicants a reasonable base from which they should be able to pass the CSP exam. The SPCB Board acknowledges that accumulating 3,000 hours of Specialty Pharmacy specific job experience may be an obstacle for applicants who are employed as full-time pharmacists, but do not work exclusively with specialty medications. Allowing a four-year period of time during which applicants can complete 3,000 hours allows individuals working part-time in Specialty to become eligible without compromising the necessary amount of pertinent and up-to-date experience. The SPCB Board is in agreement that applicants working in pharmacies in which they spend only a portion of their time in Specialty, but who are otherwise qualified, should be able to take the CSP exam. The Board acknowledges that there are many competent pharmacists with daily involvement in Specialty whose jobs also include other aspects of pharmacy practice. It is not the intent of the certification to exclude these otherwise qualified applicants.

Background, Code of Conduct, and Application Accuracy Attestation:
All certificants and candidates are required to declare they have never been found guilty of a felony. The requirement for pharmacists to have, and maintain, a history free of felony convictions acts as a measure to increase public protection. Conduct relative to criminal charges is not considered to be in alignment with protection of the public welfare. SPCB certificants and candidates have the obligation to: maintain and demonstrate high standards of integrity and professional conduct; accept responsibility for their actions; continually seek to enhance their professional capabilities; practice with fairness and honesty; and, encourage others to act in a professional manner. The requirement for adherence to the Code of Conduct provides increased awareness of expected ethical behaviors as well as increased public protection through a process that provides a reporting and investigation mechanism for Code of Conduct violations.

Examination: Applicants are required to pass the CSP examination to demonstrate that their education, experience, and training have resulted in sufficient understanding of the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to provide safe and competent evidence-based specialty pharmacy services as determined by the job analysis studies and represented on the examination content outline.