BCPS vs KAPS Comparative Guide for International Pharmacists | Academically

BCPS vs KAPS: A Comparative Guide for International Pharmacists

May 22, 2024 3 min read

Key Takeaways:

  • The BCPS exam is designed for pharmacists seeking certification in pharmacotherapy, primarily in the United States.
  • The KAPS exam is for international pharmacists aiming to practise in Australia.
  • BCPS focuses on pharmacotherapy, while KAPS assesses knowledge in pharmaceutical sciences.

Pharmacists looking to advance their careers or expand their practice opportunities often turn to certification exams that validate their knowledge and skills. Two popular exams that serve this purpose are the Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS) exam and the Knowledge Assessment of Pharmaceutical Sciences (KAPS) exam. Although both exams are designed to assess the expertise of pharmacists, they serve different purposes and cater to distinct audiences. In this blog, we'll explore the key differences between the BCPS and KAPS exams to help you understand which might be the right choice for your career path.

Purpose of the BCPS and KAPS Exams

BCPS: The BCPS exam, conducted by the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS), is designed for pharmacists seeking certification in pharmacotherapy. It assesses their ability to provide safe and effective patient care through medication management, therapeutic decision-making, and patient education. Earning the BCPS credential demonstrates a high level of expertise and can open doors to career advancement in the United States.

KAPS: On the other hand, the KAPS exam, administered by the Australian Pharmacy Council (APC), is intended for international pharmacists aiming to practise in Australia. The KAPS exam evaluates the candidate's knowledge of pharmaceutical sciences and determines if they meet the standards for pharmacy registration in Australia. Passing the KAPS exam is a critical step for those seeking to work in the Australian healthcare system.

Exam Content and Structure

The BCPS exam covers three core domains:

Patient-Centred Pharmacotherapy (55%): This domain assesses a pharmacist's ability to develop and implement individualised medication plans, considering medical history, conditions, and drug interactions.

Application of Evidence to Practice and Education (25%): This section evaluates a pharmacist's understanding of drug mechanisms, efficacy, safety, and ability to analyse clinical research.

Healthcare Systems and Population Health (20%): This domain focuses on healthcare systems, medication safety practices, and optimising medication use for specific patient populations.

The exam has a scaled score that ranges from 200 to 800.

The KAPS exam has a different structure, with two parts:

Paper 1: This paper includes 100 multiple-choice questions covering pharmaceutical chemistry (30%), physiology and pharmacology (70%).

Paper 2: Similarly, this paper contains 100 multiple-choice questions focusing on pharmaceutics (30%) and therapeutics (70%).




Number of Questions150200
Passing Score50050%
Duration3 hours and 45 minutes2 hours for each paper

Eligibility Requirements

BCPS Exam Eligibility:

  • Pharmacy degree from an accredited program
  • Valid pharmacy licence
  • Completion of a PGY1 residency or
  • At least three years of pharmacotherapy-related work experience (with at least half involving direct patient care)

KAPS Exam Eligibility:

  • Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) or Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)
  • Active registration with the home country's pharmacy council
  • Specific documentation for a skills assessment

Benefits and Career Opportunities

Earning the BCPS certification can lead to increased job prospects, enhanced expertise, and more opportunities for leadership roles. It can also serve as a competitive advantage when seeking new positions or promotions, especially in clinical or hospital pharmacy settings in the United States.

Passing the KAPS exam opens the door to practising pharmacy in Australia. After clearing the exam, candidates can apply for provisional registration with the Pharmacy Board of Australia, complete an internship, and ultimately gain full registration. This pathway allows international pharmacists to establish their careers in a country known for its high quality of life and healthcare system.

KAPS Exam Preparation Course


While both the BCPS and KAPS exams offer valuable certification opportunities for pharmacists, they serve distinct purposes. The BCPS exam is ideal for pharmacists looking to demonstrate expertise in pharmacotherapy and advance their careers in the United States. The KAPS exam, on the other hand, is a critical step for international pharmacists seeking to practise in Australia. Depending on your career goals and location preferences, one of these exams may be the right choice for you. By understanding the requirements, exam content, and benefits, you can make an informed decision about which certification path aligns with your aspirations.

When it comes to factors like the ease of the registration process, passing score, etc, the KAPS exam would be a better option. If you wish to start a pharmacy career in Australia, Academically is offering a comprehensive KAPS exam preparation course.

Fill up this form for a free one-on-one counselling session.


Q: Who can take the BCPS Exam?

Ans: To take the BCPS exam, you need a pharmacy degree, a pharmacy licence, and at least three years of experience (with half of that in pharmacotherapy) or completion of a PGY1 residency program.

Q. Can the KAPS exam be written from India?

Ans. Yes. Fortunately, the KAPS exam aspirants need not travel to Australia to take the exam and can attend them from their home countries.

Q. What is the passing score for the KAPS exam?

Ans. The candidate should attain an overall score of at least 50% with a minimum of 50% score in each subsection.

Nuha Mariyam
Nuha Mariyam
about the author

Nuha Mariyam has more than three years of experience in content writing. She strongly believes in the power of creativity and the impact that it makes. With a keen eye for detail and a love for words, Nuha specialises in creating engaging and informative content across various fields, including healthcare.