American College of Clinical Pharmacy
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Glossary of Commonly Used Terms

Accreditation declares that a residency program meets established quality standards as determined by the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists (ASHP). A program is granted “candidate” status if they have applied to ASHP for accreditation and are awaiting review/evaluation. “Preliminary” accreditation is based on the finding from a site review that the program appears to meet requirements. Residency programs that intend to apply for accreditation are given “pre-candidate” status. Non- accredited residency programs do not participate in the ASHP Match process .

Board Certification
Board certification signifies that an individual pharmacy specialist possesses a body of knowledge and skill in addition to that of a general practitioner. For pharmacy professionals, board certification may yield the additional benefits of personal satisfaction, financial rewards, and career advancement. The Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties (BPS) is an independent certification agency and the organization that administers the certification examinations in several currently recognized specialty practice areas, including: Nuclear Pharmacy, Nutrition Support Pharmacy, Oncology Pharmacy, Pharmacotherapy, Critical Care Pharmacy, Ambulatory Care Pharmacy, Pediatric Pharmacy, and Psychiatric Pharmacy. For additional information, please visit

Curriculum Vitae (CV)
A curriculum vitae is a document outlining your academic/professional achievements and experiences. A CV is typically required when applying for professional positions, residencies, fellowships, honors and awards, or further educational opportunities (i.e., summer internships).

Early Commitment
Early commitment is the process in which an organization that has both PGY1 and PGY2 residency program may allow a current PGY1 resident to “early commit” to a PGY2 position at the organization, bypassing the Match process. Not all organizations with PGY2 programs participate in an early commitment process.

A fellowship is a form of postgraduate training that is usually more research based and less clinical. A person may choose to complete a fellowship in a specialty field after finishing a residency so that he/she may get more training in research in that area.

National Convention
National conventions are held by most large pharmacy organizations. The meetings are held in large cities and change locations annually. National conventions are places where pharmacists can receive continuing education, share their research, and network with others in the organization. These meetings are also a great opportunity for pharmacy students to network and listen to presentations that help increase student learning and awareness. To learn when national meetings are held, visit the organizational Web sites.

The Match is sponsored by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). This service matches an applicant (a pharmacist or graduating pharmacy student) with a residency program. After the interview process, both the applicant and the residency program rank their preferences. For additional information on this program, please visit the ASHP Web site at

A mentee is the counterpart of the mentor. This person, whether new or inexperienced in the field, would benefit from the advice and guidance of a mentor.

A mentor is someone who is experienced in a field or interest that matches yours. He/she should be someone you trust and feel comfortable going to for advice. Mentors are important in all levels of training, from the first year of pharmacy school through residencies and fellowships and, finally, to your first job.

Midyear is a term often used to refer to ASHP’s national convention, held in December. The ASHP midyear meeting is an opportunity for students to meet face to face with representatives from residency programs across the country. However, this term may be used for any national convention held mid- school year (November, December, and January).

Pharmacy Intern
A pharmacy intern is a non-licensed individual undergoing training and preparations for licensure examination. In most cases, this is the title for pharmacy students once they obtain an intern license. Intern licenses are granted by each state’s Board of Pharmacy. They typically expire 4 years from the application date. With this intern license, a holder may perform the same tasks as a licensed pharmacist while under his or her supervision. The scope of practice may vary by state laws.

Posters are a medium for presenting scientific research. They are often presented at national conventions. A poster can be presented by a student, resident, fellow, or faculty member. A poster is usually laminated and includes a background, specific aims, results, and discussion. Different organizations have different requirements for posters. If you are considering submitting a poster for presentation at a meeting, plan ahead and visit the organization’s Web site for specific author requirements and deadline information.

Postgraduate Year One (PGY1)
Postgraduate year one of pharmacy residency training is an organized, directed, accredited program that builds on knowledge, skills, attitudes, and abilities gained from an accredited professional pharmacy degree program. The first-year residency program enhances general competencies in managing medication-use systems and supports optimal medication therapy outcomes for patients with a broad range of disease states. Definition adapted from the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) Web site:

Postgraduate Year Two (PGY2)
Postgraduate year two of pharmacy residency training is an organized, directed, accredited program that builds on the competencies established in postgraduate year one of residency training. The second-year residency program is focused on a specific area of practice. The PGY2 program increases the resident’s depth of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and abilities to raise the resident’s level of expertise in medication therapy management and clinical leadership in the area of focus. In practice areas where board certification exists, graduates are prepared to pursue such certification. Definition adapted from the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) Web site:

A preceptor is an experienced pharmacist who takes on a formal position to guide a student(s) in a particular field in pharmacy. When on rotations, students are led by a preceptor, who teaches them about a particular area of clinical pharmacy practice.

Residency Program
A residency is a postgraduate training program, which allows the resident to perform as a licensed practitioner but to train under the supervision of an experienced preceptor. The cornerstones of any pharmacy practice residency include direct patient care and practice management. During a residency program, the resident is able to develop skills and competence in providing pharmaceutical care to a variety of patients in a various hospital settings, thus accelerating growth beyond entry-level experience. Residency training provides practitioners a competitive advantage in the job market because trends in health systems increasingly require residency training for clinical positions.

Hands-on experience in a pharmacy field for a set period that aims to educate students by providing them “real-life experiences.” Students receive education and experience in a particular area of clinical pharmacy practice. Rotation hours are mandatory for all students but vary with respect to amount from state to state.