American College of Clinical Pharmacy
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What Is a Residency and How Do I Get One?

Your Guide to Post-graduate Training
Upon completion of a pharmacy degree, graduates can pursue further training with either a clinical focus, (i.e residency programs), or a research focus (i.e. fellowship programs).

  • Residency training
    Residency training is divided into two postgraduate years. Postgraduate year one (PGY-1)offers more generalized training, providing residents exposure to a broad range of clinical scenarios. Postgraduate year two (PGY-2) emphasizes a specific area of interest and helps lead to specialization in that field. In order to complete a PGY-2 residency, a PGY-1 program must be completed. After residency training, many practitioners choose to further distinguish themselves through board certification.

Residency Programs:
Completing a pharmacy residency after graduation is a great way to begin a career in clinical pharmacy. 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 various hospital settings, thus accelerating growth beyond entry-level experience. Residency training provides practitioners with a competitive advantage in the job market because trends in health systems increasingly require residency training for clinical positions. In addition, many networking opportunities are available. Completing a residency gives the resident an opportunity to better define his/her career goals. By participating in a variety of practice areas, a better perspective can be gained on which area of care best fits his/her needs. For additional information and resources on residency training, please visit the American Society of Health System Pharmacists Web site at http://www.ashp.org/Import/ACCREDITATION/ResidentInfo/FAQs.aspx.

  • Postgraduate Year One (PGY1)
    “Postgraduate year one of pharmacy residency training is an organized, directed, accredited program that builds upon 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 at http://www.accp.com/resandfel/resandfel.aspx.
  • Postgraduate Year Two (PGY2)
    “Postgraduate year two of pharmacy residency training is an organized, directed, accredited program that builds upon the competencies established in postgraduate year one of residency training. The second-year residency program is focused on a specific area of practice. The PGY-2 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 at http://www.accp.com/resandfel/resandfel.aspx.
  • List of PGY-2 specialties offered:
    • Ambulatory Care
    • Cardiology
    • Critical Care
    • Drug Information
    • Emergency Medicine
    • Geriatric
    • Infectious Diseases
    • Informatics
    • Internal Medicine
    • Managed Care Pharmacy Systems
    • Medication-Use Safety
    • Nuclear
    • Nutrition Support
    • Oncology
    • Pediatric
    • Pharmacotherapy
    • Health-System Pharmacy Administration
    • Psychiatric
    • Solid Organ Transplant
    For more details on these specialties, visit: http://www.ashp.org/Import/ACCREDITATION/ResidentInfo/NextStep.aspx.

The Match
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 http://www.natmatch.com/ashprmp/reglink.htm.

ACCP Directory of Residencies, Fellowships, and Graduate Programs
Access the most up-to-date information on more than 500 postgraduate training programs nationwide. This resource may be found on the ACCP Web site at http://www.accp.com/resandfel/index.aspx.

Preparing Your Residency Application
The following resources are full of helpful tips, tools and real-world examples to guide you through the residency application process. Materials referenced here have been adapted from "Residency Prep 101: What to do While You are Still in Pharmacy School", presented by Dr. Shannon Holt at the ACCP/ESCP International Congress on Clinical Pharmacy in Orlando, Florida on April 26, 2009.

Additional Clinical Pharmacy Training Opportunities:

  • Fellowship
    A fellowship is a form of postgraduate training that is usually more research based and less clinical. A person may choose to do a fellowship in a specialty field after completing a residency so that he/she may get additional training in research in that area.
  • Industry Fellowship
    A fellowship in industry can be 1 or 2 years and may be on-site with a drug company, associated with a university, or both. Types of fellowships in industry may include the following: marketing, drug information, clinical development, drug safety, and regulatory affairs. For more information, visit the Rutgers Pharmacy School Web site at http://pharmafellows.rutgers.edu/.