Psychiatric pharmacists require comprehensive knowledge not only in psychiatry and neurology but also proficiency in clinical problem solving, interprofessionalism, and communication with empathy for the patient population they serve.
The road to becoming a psychiatric pharmacist can have multiple paths after graduation from an ACPE-accredited Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program. Psychiatric pharmacy specialization can be earned through post-graduate residency training, clinical experience, or a combination of the two. Pharmacy school graduates may complete a pharmacy practice post-graduate year 1 (PGY1) residency. These residencies build upon knowledge, skills, and abilities gained from a PharmD program. PGY1 residencies enhance general competencies in managing medication-use systems and support optimal medication therapy outcomes for patients with a broad range of disease states. The residency directory includes PGY1 programs with directors who are members of CPNP.
Psychiatric pharmacy post-graduate year 2 (PGY2) residencies further build upon knowledge and skills learned during a PGY1. They provide experience in integrating pharmacy services with the comprehensive needs of individual practice settings and provide in-depth experiences leading to advanced practice skills and knowledge. PGY2 residencies can offer experiences in a wide variety of clinical settings including, but not limited to, acute hospitalization, geriatric psychiatry, adolescent psychiatry, substance abuse, and assertive community treatment. The residency directory includes PGY2 programs with directors who are members of CPNP.
In addition to residencies, neuropsychiatric fellowships available throughout the United States offer unique opportunities in various disease states, pharmacogenomics, and industry. Qualified psychiatric pharmacists also have the opportunity to gain board certification in psychiatric pharmacy (BCPP). Certified BCPPs undergo periodic evaluation to verify their knowledge and skills are maintained. Psychiatric pharmacists continuously learn by keeping up to date on new literature and guidelines while relying on organizations like CPNP to share best practices and maintain a sense of community with other psychiatric pharmacists. The fellowship provides information on positions precepted by CPNP members.
Although these are typical training paths to becoming a psychiatric pharmacist, every journey is unique. For more information, see the eligibility requirements for the BPS Board Certified Psychiatric Pharmacist program.