following information has been adapted with permission from
Pharmacist.com, a joint
project of the American Pharmacists Association and the National
Association of Boards of Pharmacy, and is intended for non-commercial,
informational use only.
PROVIDED ONLY AS AN INFORMATIONAL TOOL - CHECK WITH THE INDIVIDUAL
STATE BOARDS OF PHARMACY BEFORE MAKING ANY PERMANENT OR FINAL
DECISIONS ON PHARMACIST IMMIGRATION.
GETTING YOUR PHARMACY LICENSE
Each year, an average of 2500 graduates of foreign pharmacy
schools take the FPGEE, with an approximate 65% pass rate. The to
gain employment, or become a licensed pharmacist, the international
pharmacy graduate must first become licensed in that state in which he
or she wishes to practice. The following examinations and other
qualifications are prerequisites for licensure in most US
jurisdictions. In all circumstances, the international pharmacy
graduate should contact the
board of pharmacy in the state where they wish to become
Some states have very strict licensure regulations regarding
foreign-trained pharmacists. Alabama, Montana, and Wyoming prohibit
foreign educated pharmacists from the practice of pharmacy, even if
they pass the equivalency and national bard examinations. Illinois
requires an additional three and half years of pharmacy school for
foreign pharmacy graduates. Again, it is imperative to verify rules
and regulations regarding the licensure of pharmacists with the state
boards of pharmacy in those respective states. Following are some of
the examinations and requirements that foreign pharmacists must pass
before becoming fully licensed as practicing pharmacists.
The North American Pharmacist Licensure ExaminationTM (NAPLEX®) is
required in all US jurisdictions except California, which administers
its own examination. NAPLEX, which is developed by the National
Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®), is a computer-adaptive
test that assesses the candidate's ability to apply knowledge gained
in pharmacy school to practice situations.
The NAPLEX is a four-hour and fifteen-minute examination that consists
of 185 five-option multiple-choice test questions. A majority of the
questions on the NAPLEX are asked in a scenario-based format (ie,
patient profiles with accompanying test questions). To properly
analyze and answer the questions presented, you must refer to the
information provided in the patient profile. Interspersed among these
profile-based questions are "stand-alone questions," whose answers are
drawn solely from the information provided in the question.
The NAPLEX is administered daily at authorized Prometric Testing
CentersTM throughout the United States. Information bulletins and
application forms for the NAPLEX are available from the state boards
of pharmacy. Effective January 1, 2003, NAPLEX candidates will pay a
base fee of $300 and a $130 vendor administrative fee for a total
registration fee of $430.
Most states require a drug law examination as a condition of
licensure. The Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence ExaminationTM (MPJE®)
is currently administered in 45 US jurisdictions and is based on a
nationally uniform content blueprint, with questions that are tailored
to assess the pharmacy jurisprudence requirements of individual
In cooperation with participating state boards of pharmacy, the MPJE
is uniformly developed, administered, and scored under policies and
procedures developed by NABP's Advisory Committee on Examinations and
approved by NABP's Executive Committee. The content of the MPJE is
approved by boards of pharmacy, practitioners, and educators from
around the country through their service as MPJE Review Committee
members, item writers, and board of pharmacy representatives.
All candidates are tested on their mastery of pharmacy law as outlined
in the MPJE Competency Statements. Each participating state board of
pharmacy approves those questions that are specific to the federal and
state laws of the jurisdictions in which candidates are seeking
licensure. Candidates must take a separate exam for each state or
jurisdiction in which they are seeking licensure.
The MPJE is a two-hour, computer-adaptive examination that consists of
90 five-option multiple-choice test questions. It is also administered
daily at authorized Prometric Testing Centers. Effective January 1,
2003, MPJE candidates will pay a $110 base fee and a $60 vendor
administrative fee for a total registration fee of $170.
Some states require candidates for licensure to pass a laboratory or
practice examination to ensure that candidates can accurately and
safely prepare and dispense medications. Check with your state board
of pharmacy to determine whether this is a requirement in the state in
which you are seeking licensure.
All state boards of pharmacy require candidates to complete an
internship or externship before licensure. Such practice experience
usually consists of 1,500 hours of experience that are gained during
pharmacy school (beginning after the first year of training). Some
states require that internship hours be gained solely after graduation
from pharmacy school and before licensure. The internship process is
subject to state board of pharmacy regulations. Each intern,
internship site, and preceptor must register with the state board of
pharmacy to have the hours counted toward licensure.
NAPLEX Score Transfer
NABP's NAPLEX Score Transfer Program allows candidates to transfer
their NAPLEX score to additional jurisdictions in which they wish to
obtain a license to practice pharmacy. Candidates who participate in
the Score Transfer Program and fulfill all other requirements for
licensure in the jurisdiction to which they transfer their score will
be awarded a license by examination.
The Score Transfer Program differs significantly from NABP's
electronic Licensure Transfer Program™ (ELTP™), which is a service
NABP provides for licensed pharmacists. Unlike score transfer,
licensure transfer does not permit the pharmacist to attain a license
by examination in another jurisdiction. Instead, their license in the
new jurisdiction is considered a license by licensure transfer.
The distinction is important, particularly if the newly licensed
pharmacist ever again needs to transfer his or her license to another
jurisdiction, because the ELTP™ requires that a license by examination
be used to transfer a pharmacist's license to another jurisdiction. In
other words, pharmacists cannot reciprocate their license using a
license that has been obtained by licensure transfer. For this reason,
NABP strongly recommends that pharmacists keep their license by
examination valid and current.
Score transfer candidates must complete all the examination
requirements that are required by the primary jurisdiction for
licensure, including any locally administered exams. Primary
jurisdictions can refuse to allow a candidate's score to be
transferred if the candidate does not complete all of the
jurisdiction's examination requirements.
Currently, all states except California and Florida participate in the
NAPLEX Score Transfer Program. Candidates are encouraged to contact
the score transfer jurisdiction directly to determine their
requirements for licensure. The current score transfer fee is $75.00
General Pharmacist Licensure Requirements
Age requirements vary by state.
Educational Eligibility Requirements
To be licensed, a pharmacist must have graduated from a school of
pharmacy approved by the state board of pharmacy or accredited by the
American Council on Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE). Except for the
School of Pharmacy at the University of Puerto Rico and the PharmD
program of the Lebanese American University in Byblos, Lebanon that
was accredited by ACPE in June 2002, no school of pharmacy outside the
United States holds ACPE accreditation.
Graduates of foreign pharmacy schools may meet the educational
eligibility requirements for licensure by:
o Graduating from a US school or
college of pharmacy;
o Earning Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination CommitteeTM (FPGEC)®
o Following other procedures approved by the state in which
licensure is sought.
Of the 53 US jurisdictions (50 states plus DC, Guam and Puerto Rico)
that report to the NABP Survey of Pharmacy Law, 51 require pharmacists
to complete a certain number of continuing education units (CEUs)
before they can renew their licenses. CEUs must be obtained through a
program presented by a provider that is accredited by the American
Council of Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE) or that is recognized by
the state board of pharmacy.
Most states require the pharmacist complete approximately 15 hours of
continuing education each year, the majority of which must be from a
didactic, or live, presentation. CEUs from ACPE-accredited providers
may be secured through such venues as local seminars and regional,
state, and national meetings, home study certificate courses, and
articles that appear in professional journals.
Goals and Objectives of the FPGEC
1. to inform foreign pharmacy
graduates about FPGEC Certification and the Foreign Pharmacy
Graduate Equivalency Examination™ (FPGEE®);
2. to evaluate the qualifications of foreign pharmacy graduates who
apply for FPGEC Certification;
3. to oversee the development of the FPGEE; and
4. to cooperate with other agencies concerned with foreign pharmacy
Definition of a Foreign Pharmacy
NABP's Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination Committee® (FPGEC®)
defines a "foreign pharmacy graduate" as a pharmacist whose
undergraduate pharmacy degree was conferred by a recognized school of
pharmacy outside the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, and
Puerto Rico. US citizens who have completed their pharmacy education
outside the United State are, therefore, considered to be "foreign
pharmacy graduates," whereas foreign nationals who have graduated from
schools in the United States are not.
NABP provides the FPGEC Certification program as a means of
documenting the educational equivalency of a candidate's foreign
pharmacy education, as well as the license and/or registration. In the
process of FPGEC Certification, candidates provide documents that
verify their educational backgrounds and licensure and/or
registration. The pharmacy program that each candidate completed must
have been at least a four-year curriculum at the time of graduation.
Beginning January 1, 2003, foreign-educated pharmacists will be
required to have earned their professional degree from a five-year
curriculum program in order to apply for FPGEC Certification. The
program change affects only those foreign-educated pharmacists who
have earned a pharmacy degree after January 1, 2003. These pharmacists
must have graduated from a five-year degree program. The new
curriculum requirements do not apply to foreign-educated pharmacists
who have earned a four-year degree prior to January 1, 2003. These
individuals will remain eligible for the FPGEC Certification under the
current program requirements. Candidates must pass the FPGEE and
obtain a total score of 550 or higher on the paper-based Test of
English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or 213 or higher on the
computer-based TOEFL. Candidates must also pass the Test of Spoken
English (TSE) with a score of 50 or higher. The TOEFL and TSE must be
successfully completed within two years (either before or after) of
passing the FPGEE. The TOEFL and TSE must be completed by all foreign
pharmacy graduates, even those who are native English speakers. For
more information about TOEFL and TSE, contact TOEFL/TSE Services, PO
Box 6151, Princeton, NJ 08541-6151. Telephone (609) 951-1100.
At present, 49 states recognize FPGEC Certification as a prerequisite
for pharmaceutic licensure. The FPGEC Certificate is not a license to
practice pharmacy. Applicants who receive the FPGEC Certificate may be
qualified by the state boards to take the pharmacy licensing
examination in those jurisdictions that accept this certification. A
few states, however, may also approve foreign graduates who are not
FPGEC-certified on the basis of their credentials. For information,
contact the appropriate state board of pharmacy office. Because the
licensure requirements vary from state to state, candidates are
advised to directly contact the board(s) of pharmacy of the state(s)
in which they desire licensure.
To obtain additional information about the FPGEE and the FPGEC
Certification Program, contact the FPGEC at
NABP offers a variety of publications designed to help pharmacists
prepare for licensure, including:
Survey of Pharmacy Law
A comprehensive review of aspects of pharmacy law for the 50 states,
the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
Revised annually, the Survey consists of four sections: organizational
law, licensing law, drug law, and census data. Footnoted charts in
each section summarize such areas of interest as the issuance and
renewal of licenses, prescribing and dispensing authority, pharmacy
technicians, state drug restrictions, and patient counseling
NAPLEX/MPJE Registration Bulletin
Available from the state boards of pharmacy, the Bulletin provides
information about these two examinations, the Competency Statements
that form the test blueprints, and important information regarding
exam registration, preparation, administration, and score transfer.
Registration forms are included. No Charge.
Available from the FPGEC at
firstname.lastname@example.org, the Bulletin offers important information about
the FPGEC Certification program, including the requirements for
earning the FPGEC certificate, the documents required for the
evaluation process, and registration procedures for the FPGEE. An
application for the FPGEC Certification program is included. No Charge