What is a Pharmacy Residency?

A pharmacy residency is an organized, directed, postgraduate training program in a defined area of pharmacy practice. It provides the knowledge and experience that pharmacy practitioners need to face challenges in today's complex health-care environment, while also providing essential skills to meet the practice demands of the future. Increasingly, many employment opportunities indicate a strong preference for individuals who have completed an ASHP-accredited residency.

Residency training can take place in a variety of settings - some of which include hospitals, community pharmacies, home care and long-term care facilities, ambulatory care settings, managed care facilities, and others.

The type of residency you select will depend upon your career objectives. Are you interested in providing pharmaceutical care to a broad mix of patients? Pursuing a career in pharmacy management? Becoming a specialized practitioner or educator? Based on your interests and experience level, you will need one or more of the following types of residencies:

  1. Postgraduate Year One (PGY1) Pharmacy Residencies
    Purpose: Residents in PGY1 residency programs are provided the opportunity to accelerate their growth beyond entry-level professional competence in patient-centered care and in pharmacy operational services, and to further the development of leadership skills that can be applied in any position and in any practice setting. PGY1 residents acquire substantial knowledge required for skillful problem solving, refine their problem-solving strategies, strengthen their professional values and attitudes, and advance the growth of their clinical judgment. The instructional emphasis is on the progressive development of clinical judgment, a process begun in the advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPE or clerkships) of the professional school years but requiring further extensive practice, self-reflection, and shaping of decision-making skills fostered by feedback on performance. The residency year provides a fertile environment for accelerating growth beyond entry-level professional competence through supervised practice under the guidance of model practitioners. Specifically, residents will be held responsible and accountable for acquiring these outcomes competencies: managing and improving the medication-use process; providing evidence-based, patient-centered medication therapy management with interdisciplinary teams; exercising leadership and practice management; demonstrating project management skills; providing medication and practice-related education/training; and utilizing medical informatics.
  2. Postgraduate Year Two (PGY2) Pharmacy Residencies
    Purpose: PGY2 residency programs are designed to develop accountability; practice patterns; habits; and expert knowledge, skills, attitudes, and abilities in the respective advanced area of pharmacy practice. PGY2 residencies build upon the broad-based competencies achieved in a PGY1 residency, deepening the resident's ability to provide care in the most complex of cases or in the support of care through practice leadership. Therefore, PGY2 residencies provide residents with opportunities to function independently as practitioners by conceptualizing and integrating accumulated experience and knowledge and transforming both into improved medication therapy for patients. A resident who completes successfully an accredited PGY2 residency should possess competencies that enable attainment of board certification in the practice area, where board certification for the practice area exists.

Typical Programs: ASHP-accredited (PGY2) pharmacy residencies are offered in each of the following areas: ambulatory care, cardiology, critical care, drug information, emergency medicine, geriatrics, infectious diseases, informatics, internal medicine, managed care pharmacy systems, medication safety, nuclear, nutrition support, oncology, pediatrics, pharmacotherapy, health-system pharmacy administration, psychiatry, and solid organ transplant.

ASHP administers the only process that grants accreditation status to residencies. The accreditation process requires that each of these residencies are conducted in sites that demonstrate compliance with established standards of practice and offer a program that meets the requirements of training.

For prospective residents, this process ensures that accredited programs are peer-reviewed and that they fulfill requirements needed to provide a state-of-the-art practice environment. Likewise, prospective employers routinely seek graduates of ASHP-accredited residency programs since these individuals must obtain proficiency in a set of defined outcomes and training experiences to complete such a program.

The Accreditation Services Division (ASD) publishes and maintains an online directory listing of pharmacy residency programs that are in the accreditation process, searchable by institution name, state, and type of residency program (e.g. PGY1 or PGY2). Access the Residency Directory

Residency programs that are in pre-candidate status have submitted an application that notifies the ASD that it intends to begin a residency program and start recruiting for its first resident(s). Depending on when the application is received, the program must also abide by the rules of the National Matching Program to recruit a resident.

Residency programs that are in candidate status have submitted an application that notifies the ASD that it has recruited its first resident and has started its residency program. Once the program has had an onsite survey, and their site report and response has been reviewed and accepted by the ASHP Commission on Credentialing and the ASHP Board of Directors, accreditation can either be granted or it can be withheld. If accreditation is withheld with a resident in the program, the program cannot offer the resident a certificate stating that he or she has graduated from an ASHP accredited program.

Residency programs that are in conditional status have been surveyed and been found not to be in substantial compliance with applicable accreditation standards as usually evidenced by the degree of severity of non-compliance and/or partial compliance findings. Programs must remedy identified problem areas or risk losing accreditation.

A pharmacy residency is a full-time commitment that requires a minimum of twelve months to complete. Some residencies are offered in combination with a postgraduate degree (e.g., M.S., MBA, MPH), and may take an additional year to complete.

All ASHP-accredited residency programs provide the resident with a stipend. The amount varies from program to program and depends upon such factors as geographic location, value of any fringe benefits provided, and whether or not it's academically affiliated.

It is important to note that payment of college tuition loans may be deferrable during a residency; you should discuss loan deferment with your banking or lending institution.

All PGY1 accredited pharmacy residencies must ensure that required competency areas of residency training are met. One of these competency areas, R1: Patient Care relates best to staffing. The ASHP accreditation standards do not dictate the number of hours required of a resident to staff. However the standards do imply 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 who is sponsoring the resident's education. Service commitment in PGY2 programs is up to the program and may consist of administrative, operational, clinical, or educational responsibilities.

Both PGY1 and PGY2 ASHP accredited pharmacy residency programs must comply with the current duty hour requirements for pharmacy residencies. For more information, please view the document posted within the website information area for PGY1 and PGY2 standards: Accreditation Standards for PGY1 Pharmacy Residencies.

Please note many of the recommendations are based on an average over a four week period (e.g. 80 hrs/week) one day in 7 free, averaged over a four week period.

  1. You must be a graduate of an ACPE-accredited college of pharmacy or otherwise be eligible for licensure.
  2. You will need to demonstrate your interest in and aptitude for advanced training in pharmacy.
  3. Some residencies require that you be licensed to practice before you enter the program. Others will accept you while you pursue state board licensure.
  4. For residencies that are combined with a graduate degree program, you must satisfy the requirements of the college of pharmacy or graduate school for admission to the advanced degree program. In addition, you will need to satisfy the residency requirements.
  5. Residents in ASHP-accredited programs are encouraged to be members of ASHP.

The Accreditation Standards for Postgraduate Year One and Year Two Pharmacy Residency programs states that the applicant should be a graduate of an ACPE-accredited PharmD program and the applicant must be licensed, or be eligible for licensure, in the state or jurisdiction in which the residency program is conducted. Therefore, if the applicant is a graduate from an ACPE college or school of pharmacy in the United States, is legally eligible to remain in the US after graduation, and meets requirements to become a licensed pharmacist in the US, a residency program may consider interviewing and ranking this applicant if they qualify for a residency program position.

As stated above, the Standards require specific qualifications of the applicant. The applicant should be a graduate of an ACPE accredited PharmD program and the applicant must be licensed, or be eligible for licensure, in the state or jurisdiction in which the residency program is conducted. Non-US citizens must be eligible to work and live in the US by obtaining an appropriate visa and must be eligible to work as a licensed pharmacist in the state where the residency program is conducted. Non-US and US citizens who graduate from a foreign school of pharmacy must first be certified by examination before the process of licensure in the US can begin. The Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Committee™ (FPGEC®) certificate program operates under the auspices of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy®. The NABP® provides the FPGEC Certification Program as a means of documenting the educational equivalency of a candidate's foreign education, as well as the license and or registration to practice pharmacy. More information about this entire process is provided in these NABP® links: www.nabp.net or you may call 1-847-391-4406.

The National Matching Service (NMS) also checks the FPGEC credentials of graduates of foreign schools prior to enrolling them in the Match.

ASHP contracts with National Matching Services Inc (NMS) to operate a Resident Matching Program for pharmacy residencies. The matching program ensures that each pharmacy residency program will be matched with the preferred individuals who have applied and who have selected the program as an acceptable site in which to train.

To apply for a pharmacy residency, you must sign up for the Resident Matching Program. Concurrently, you should peruse the ASHP Residency Directory on ASHP's web site. In it you'll find descriptions of all accredited residencies, along with important contact information. (Note: you must have completed or be in a PGY1 residency to be eligible to participate in the matching program for a PGY2 residency.)

After consulting the Residency Directory and identifying programs of interest, you will need to request application forms from individual programs directors, not from ASHP. Most programs require that you visit the site to complete the application process; however, application procedures may vary by program.

To participate in the Resident Matching Program, contact NMS, download pertinent information and an applicant agreement form that serves as your enrollment. NMS must receive your agreement form and enrollment fee by a specified date in January to be considered for a residency beginning that year.

For more information about the Resident Matching Program, contact:

National Matching Services, Inc.
20 Holly Street, Suite 301
Toronto, Ontario Canada M4S 3B1
Phone: (416) 977-3431M
Fax: (416) 977-5020
E-Mail: [email protected]

Early commitment is a process whereby an organization with both PGY1 and PGY2 programs elects to allow its current PGY1 residents to commit to one of the organization's PGY2 residency positions for the following year in advance of the Match. Guidelines regarding selection criteria, commitment rules, agreements and fees can be found in the Rules for the ASHP Pharmacy Matching Program.

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