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Are you interested in a residency that provides the training of a generalist while also offering the opportunity of a specialist training? Do you want to receive a residency training that allows for incorporation of individual career goals and plans (e.g., practice site and subspecialty)? Then a pharmacotherapy residency might be the perfect program for you.

The overarching objective of a pharmacotherapy residency is to develop a specialist that is able to navigate across different practice sites with confidence due to the extensive breadth of experience gained during residency training. The scope of the residency is perhaps best illustrated by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) definition of a pharmacotherapy residency as being “…designed to produce a specialized practitioner with an advanced degree of proficiency and expertise in working with interdisciplinary teams to deliver pharmaceutical care to diverse inpatient and outpatient populations presenting with varied and complex health problems.”1 As such a pharmacotherapy specialist should be comfortable managing both acute and chronic medical problems in various practice sites such as clinics, critical care settings, academia, and acute care settings. During a pharmacotherapy residency, you should expect to be exposed to a variety of internal medicine topics such as cardiology, critical care, oncology, infectious diseases, and endocrinology etc., at sufficient depth to become a clinical specialist.

“I always thought residency training was just all about perfecting clinical skills, but I have learned it is also a great time to form networks, friendships, and memories that will last a lifetime.”

Maria T. – Pharmacy Resident, Georgia

If you still find yourself asking why choose this program over other programs with a more narrow focus, there is a simple answer—flexibility. While there is a core set of rotations and experiences expected, it also allows for additional training and experience in a specialized area of practice depending on individual career goals. Nothing illustrates this better than a recent editorial describing career choices of graduates from ASHP-accredited pharmacotherapy residencies.2 The editorial found that the graduates practiced in a variety of settings ranging from academia to acute care hospitals to ambulatory care clinics to the pharmaceutical industry. Practice areas of past graduates included critical care, cardiology, infectious diseases, internal medicine, and pain and palliative care. Interestingly, the graduates were from only eight programs yet practiced in such a variety of settings demonstrating the breadth and depth of the training offered by a pharmacotherapy residency.

Most pharmacotherapy residency programs are designed as either a 12-month or 24-month program, often with the flexibility to accommodate specialization in an area of practice. The 12-month programs are designated as PGY-2 programs, whereas the 24-month programs are designated as combined PGY-1 and PGY-2 program. Upon completion of a pharmacotherapy residency, a graduate should be qualified to take the board examination required to become a Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS). Therefore, if you possess a broad-based knowledge and ...

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