Accreditation Frequently Asked Questions

What is accreditation and its value?
Accreditation is a system for declaring that a program or institution meets established quality standards to provide assurance and confidence to the public. In the United States, accreditation is a voluntary, non-governmental, peer review process which provides a means of evaluating a program or institution (e.g. training program, school, college, hospital, etc.) against a set of established standards set by a profession or industry. Accreditation seeks to enhance the quality of a program/ institution by promoting self-evaluation; encouraging quality improvement; and providing public accountability by ensuring specific criteria are met. The value of accreditation to the resident, includes: graduates of accredited PGY1 residency programs are eligible for pursuing a PGY2 program, graduates of accredited residency programs are eligible to take the BPS examination more quickly than if they did not complete an accredited residency program.

Accreditation in education includes two types of accreditation: institutional and specialized or programmatic accreditation.

  • Institutional accreditation evaluates overall institutional quality that provides education. (i.e., faculty/personnel, administration, finances, facilities). Examples of institutional accreditors include regional accreditation of colleges and universities: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges, Western Association for Schools and Colleges (WASC); and career college accreditors: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT).
  • Specialized/programmatic accreditation focuses on specific programs of study, rather than an institution as a whole. The focus is on the particular curriculum, faculty, evaluation, and training related to the specific field of study. Specialized /programmatic accreditors require the institution to be accredited by an institutional accreditation, and only look at the specific training in their defined practice area.

Many of these accreditation programs are conducted by the specific profession (e.g., dentistry, nursing, pharmacy) primarily to provide the public with assurance of the quality of the educational preparation of individuals that work within that profession. In pharmacy there are two major specialized/programmatic accreditors that review pharmacy education programs:

  • The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) accredits the Doctor of Pharmacy degree program for pharmacists, as well as continuing education program providers for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians’ continuing education.
  • ASHP and the Commission on Credentialing (COC) accredits pharmacy residency programs that are postgraduate training programs for pharmacists. Additionally, ASHP in partnership with ACPE and the Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC) accredits pharmacy technician training programs for pharmacy technician students.

What is ASHP’s Role in Accreditation?
ASHP is the largest association of pharmacy professionals in the United States, representing 60,000 pharmacists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians in all patient care settings, including hospitals, ambulatory clinics, and health-system community pharmacies. For over 80 years, ASHP has championed innovation in pharmacy practice, advanced education and professional development, and served as a steadfast advocate for members and patients. In addition, ASHP is the accrediting body for pharmacy residency and technician training programs and provides comprehensive resources to support pharmacy professionals through every stage of their careers.

ASHP’s Commission on Credentialing (COC) is the designated body of the ASHP Board of Directors responsible for recommending accreditation standards, comparing programs to the standard, and recommending accreditation status of pharmacy residency programs.

The ASHP COC has representation from various components of the pharmacy profession to ensure the accreditation standards and processes provide quality training that meets the needs of the pharmacy profession. Members of the Commission also include representatives from the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP), the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP), the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), a current PGY2 resident, and two public members.

ASHP is the only nationally recognized non-governmental, non-profit pharmacy association that has been accrediting pharmacy residencies since 1962 and pharmacy technician training programs in the United States since 1983.

The Accreditation Services Office (ASO) of ASHP is responsible for conducting the site surveys and all the administrative activities related to the process of accreditation of pharmacy residency and pharmacy technician training programs. You may contact the Office with questions by email ([email protected]) or by calling 1-301-664-8835.

Is Accreditation the Same as Certification? 
No. Accreditation is the process whereby a program providing education and training is reviewed against quality standards and fulfills the requirements designated by the accreditation organization. Certification is the process by which a non-governmental association or agency grants recognition to an individual who has met certain predetermined qualifications specified by that association or agency.

Who Can I Speak With About Starting A Pharmacy Residency Program? 
Please contact any member of the ASHP Accreditation Services Office (ASO) who will be happy to answer your questions about starting a new residency program.  See the Lead Surveyor Biographies page for their bios and contact information.  You may email ASO at [email protected] or call 1-301-664-8835.

More information regarding pharmacy residency program accreditation regulations, standards, processes and procedures can be found on the residency accreditation page.

How Do We Begin The Application Process for A New Residency Program?
Pharmacy departments or organizations seeking to start a residency program and the accreditation process but have not yet recruited their first resident may apply for status as a “pre-candidate” by filling out the ASHP Pre-candidate application. The residency program director must also submit his/her Curriculum Vitae and the completed Academic and Professional form for review and approval.

This process allows new programs who are developing and planning residency programs to recruit for applicants through the ASHP Resident Matching Program conducted by the National Matching Services (NMS). Pre-candidate status allows for the creation of a posting of information about their new program to the ASHP residency program directory website and participation in the Residency Showcase at the Midyear Clinical Meeting. This status also allows programs access to PharmAcademic® (required online platform for residency program documentation of learning descriptions, evaluations, development plans, and other necessary residency program documents). This status also provides access to PhORCAS and WebAdmit, the required online platforms  utilized by residency programs and residency applicants to manage the process of applications to residency programs.

Once an organization has developed their program and secured a resident to begin the new program, the designated residency program director must file an application for accreditation for the type of program it is (i.e., PGY1, PGY2 in an advanced practice area, PGY1 Managed Care Pharmacy, or PGY1 Community- Based Pharmacy) and the program is formally in the “candidate” status. This application begins the accreditation process whereby the program will be scheduled for an accreditation survey visit no earlier than the seventh month of the residency year.

View suggested timelines for submitting an accreditation application.

Must All Programs Apply for Pre-Candidate Status?
No. If a program does not wish to apply for pre-candidate status and waits until they have recruited the first resident to begin, then they may apply using the applicable application  (i.e., PGY1 pharmacy, PGY1 or PGY2 community-based pharmacy, PGY1 managed care pharmacy, or PGY2) for accreditation. The residency program director must also submit his/her Curriculum Vitae and the completed Academic and Professional form.  At this point, the pharmacy program is required to participate in the ASHP Resident Matching Program (the “Match”), gains access to PharmAcademic® and can post information about the program to the ASHP residency program online directory.

What Residency Materials Must Be Retained? For What Duration of Time?
A record of each residents’ program application, acceptance letter, documented acceptance of program policies; copy of each resident’s licensure, deliverables, documentation of completion requirements; and each resident’s signed residency certificate of completion must be kept since the last accreditation site survey and available for review by the survey team on any accreditation visit. It is suggested that materials maintained electronically at the organization are stored in a location accessible to all that are involved in the residency program administration to prevent loss of needed materials if the residency program director changes or leaves the organization.  Resident evaluations completed in PharmAcademic™ for the program and files related to the required records uploaded to the resident’s portfolio in PharmAcademic™ remain warehoused in perpetuity, and do not need to be printed out or saved in external files. Resident records that predate the last site survey may be discarded.

Is the Term “Practice” Still Used in the Residency Program Title? How Do I Describe Our Program in Certificates and Promotions?
The term “practice”, such as in the former terminology “Pharmacy Practice Residency” was eliminated with the implementation with the 2014 PGY1 and PGY2 Standards changes. It is NOT appropriate to use the term “practice” when referring to a residency. Further, the words “with emphasis or focus in” must not be used to describe a PGY1 residency program.
Please refer to the ASHP Regulations on Accreditation of Pharmacy Residencies section III-F for further details.

Are There Any Fees for the Accreditation Survey Team’s Site Visit?
No. All costs associated with the onsite survey process have been included in the annual accreditation fees the site pays. International based residency programs are required to pay costs related to survey travel for the survey team.  Contact ASO for more details.

If A Program In Pre-Candidate Status Does Not Match With A Ranked Applicant, Can It Participate in Phase II of the Match to Recruit A Resident?
Yes, absolutely! One benefit of being in the “Match” is access to Phase II of the match process with the unmatched applicants to help programs fill their open positions for a resident.

What is the Early Commitment Process for Residency Programs? How Does A Program Participate in the Early Commitment Process?
The description of the early commitment process can be found within the ASHP National Matching Service rules. The PGY1 program can be ASHP-accredited or in candidate status. The PGY2 program can be ASHP-accredited or be in candidate or pre-candidate status.

How Can Residency Program Directors and Preceptors Get the Latest News, Proceedings and Programming?
Twice a year ASHP Accreditation Services Office publishes an online newsletter called the Communiqué. All recent and past issues of the Communiqué are posted to the website.

Where Can Residency Program Directors and Preceptors Share Questions, Concerns, and Ideas?
ASHP Connect is an online discussion community designed to allow residency program personnel who are ASHP members to post their comments and respond to others. Log in to ASHP Connect with your email and password.

What Are the Board Certification Requirements for PGY2 Program Directors?
The accreditation standard has specific requirements for PGY2 residency program directors (RPD) to be board certified. Standard 4.3a states that RPDs maintain Board of Pharmacy Specialists® (BPS) certification in the specialty area when certification is offered in that specific advanced area of practice. This does not apply to PGY1 RPDs or PGY2 RPDs of specialty areas for which no Board Certification exists (e.g., pain management and palliative care). For new specialty areas being recognized by the BPS, board certifications must be obtained by January 1 following three offerings of the exam.

PGY2 Specialty Area BPS required for program director? BPS Type
Ambulatory Care Yes BCACP
Cardiology Yes BCCP
Clinical Pharmacogenomics No  
Critical Care Yes BCCCP
Emergency Medicine Yes BCEMP
(effective Jan 1, 2025)
Geriatrics Yes BCGP
Health-System Pharmacy Administration and Leadership No  
Community-Based Pharmacy Administration and Leadership No  
Specialty Pharmacy Administration and Leadership No  
Corporate Pharmacy Administration and Leadership No  
Infectious Diseases Yes BCIDP
Informatics No  
Internal Medicine Yes BCPS
Investigational Drugs and Research No  
Medication-Use Safety and Policy No  
Neurology No  
Oncology Yes BCOP
Pain Management and Palliative Care No  
Pediatrics (including specialty pathways) Yes BCPPS
Pharmacotherapy Yes BCPS
Population Health Management and Data Analytics No  
Psychiatric Pharmacy Yes BCPP
Solid Organ Transplant Yes BCTXP
Thrombosis and Hemostasis Management No  

How Can We Obtain GME Pass-Through Funding for A PGY1 Residency Program?
PGY1 pharmacy residency program directors must work with their organization’s finance department to determine eligibility for GME (CMS Medicare) pass-through funding. PGY1 programs must be ASHP-accredited and funded by organizations that file CMS cost reports to qualify for this type of reimbursement. More information can be found on the Starting a Residency page. Additionally, ASHP Accreditation Services has created a webinar on this topic. The slides from this presentation are also available.

ASHP has created a Residency Toolkit for Best Practices for PGY1 Funding and CMS Audits.

We Increased/Decreased the Number of Residents in our Program. Who Do We Notify and Will It Change Our Accreditation Fees?
During recruitment season, the number of residents for which you are recruiting can be changed by the RPD by logging into the National Matching Services portal.   Update your online directory information (see information below).  Accreditation fees for a single program do not increase or decrease regardless of the number of residents in the program.  ASO does not need to be notified of an increase or decrease in residency positions.

Can an Accredited Program Take A Pause for A Year Or More from Conducting A Residency Class If It’s Best for the Program To Consider Doing So?
Yes.  The Regulations outline the scenarios allowed to take a break from training residents (period of inactivity) and for how long this inactivity is allowed before it affects the accreditation status of the residency program.  Refer to Section XIV, Withdrawal of Accreditation in the Regulations.  ASO should be notified in the event a residency reaccreditation survey is expected to take place in that year of inactivity.

A Resident in My Program Was Terminated/ Resigned? What Steps Do I Take?
Residents who do not finish a program regardless of reason (termination or voluntary resignation) must be immediately closed out in PharmAcademic®.  The close out procedure is found in the PharmAcademic® Help Center.  If you are scheduled for your initial accreditation survey and have no other residents in your program, you should also notify your assigned ASHP lead surveyor as soon as possible or contact the ASO office.

What is the Process When We Have A Residency Program Director (RPD) Change?
Programs that have RPD changes must submit information to ASHP in accordance with Regulations on Accreditation of Pharmacy Residencies.

The RPD’s current academic and professional record (APR), curriculum vitae, and the information below must be submitted by email to [email protected]:

  • Name and credentials of the RPD
    • This will be how your name and credentials will be displayed in the on-line residency directory, so please be complete.
  • Effective date of RPD change
  • ASHP 5-digit program number
  • Program type  
  • Address
  • Email
  • Phone number

The submitted APR must coincide with the 2023 harmonized accreditation standard.  ASD will accept 1) a downloaded PharmAcademic APR; OR 2) this completed form.  Older/ prior APR versions will NOT be accepted.  RPDs are encouraged to remove track changes from the APR, and ensure all internal abbreviations are defined. 

All RPD changes must be reviewed by the Commission on Credentialing (COC) at their twice-yearly meetings (March and August).  After COC review, all actions must undergo approval by the ASHP Board of Directors (BOD). Formal communication from the Vice President of Accreditation Services is distributed following COC and BOD review. RPDs should manage the program as necessary prior to receipt of formal communication. For example, the new program director can be updated within PharmAcademic prior to formal communication from ASHP.

What is the Process When We Have A Departmental Leadership, Organizational Leadership, and/or Organizational Name/Ownership Changes?
Accreditation Services must be notified within 30 days of substantial changes such as departmental and/or organizational leadership, organizational name/ ownership in accordance with Regulations on Accreditation of Pharmacy Residencies.  

For pharmacy or organizational executive changes, the DOP/ CEO’s information below must be submitted by email to [email protected]:

  • Name and credentials of the individual
    • This will be how the name and credentials will be displayed in the on-line residency directory, so please be complete.
  • ASHP 5-digit program number(s) - one request can be submitted for organizations with multiple programs
  • Address
  • Email address
  • Phone number

Organizational name/ownership changes are to be submitted to [email protected] and must include the new information (press release from organization’s marketing/ public relations departments) and the ASHP 5-digit program number(s) impacted and the effective date of the name change.

How Are Changes Made to the On-Line Residency Directory?
Program directors may update most of the on-line directory information themselves. See above for data that may only be updated by ASO.  Instructions for how to do this can be found here.   Should you have any difficulties with the online directory log-in process, contact ASO.

How Do We Obtain Access to Pharmacademic for Our Residency Program?
PharmAcademic® is required to be used for all residency programs in the accreditation process. There is no cost to the program.  Residency Program Directors are provided access to PharmAcademic® after they submit an application for accreditation to ASO and it has been processed by ASO.  After the pre-candidate or candidate application is submitted to ASHP Accreditation Services, the McCreadie Group (who administer PharmAcademic) is notified, and they will add the residency program to PharmAcademic. At that time, Residency Program Directors will receive an email message from PharmAcademic with instructions and access information.  PharmAcademic® is not available for programs that have not submitted applications for accreditation.

If you have questions, please contact PharmAcademic support Team at [email protected].

Are ASHP-Accredited Residency Programs Required to Have Staffing or Service Commitment Hours?
All PGY1 accredited pharmacy residencies must ensure that required competency areas of residency training are met. Competency Area R1 — Patient Care — relates best to staffing and sites should create a learning experience for this activity. The ASHP accreditation standards do not dictate the number of hours required of a resident to staff. However, the intent of the standards and Competency Areas, Goals and Objectives for Pharmacy Residencies is that a resident should be able to function as a pharmacist when they leave the residency program. As a pharmacist, one should be able to intervene on the patient’s behalf at any time in the process to help improve the patient’s care. The reasoning behind a staffing or service commitment is for residents (in most cases as newly minted pharmacists) to learn and understand the various aspects of the medication use process in their organization and to “give back” to the organization that is sponsoring the resident’s education. Service commitment in PGY2 programs is dependent upon program and organizational needs and may consist of administrative, operational, clinical, or educational responsibilities in the area of specialization. Both PGY1 and PGY2 ASHP-accredited pharmacy residency programs must comply with the current Duty Hour Requirements for Pharmacy Residencies.

What Resources Could Help A Resident Conduct A Residency Project? What Materials Could Help A Resident Prepare A Residency Project in the Manuscript Form?
ASHP has developed multiple resources targeted at pharmacy residents for how to design and conduct a research project, tips for resident research timeline development (including how to implement a flipped research model), how to create an innovative research poster, how to prepare a platform presentation, information on the ASHP Pharmacy Resident Research Grant, and links to regional residency conferences.  

Additionally, ASHP has a Research Resource Center with a number of tools for the research process and how to prepare a written manuscript.

Also, The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors publishes a great resource called Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals (updated in January 2024).