Foreign pharmacy graduates that wish to practice in the U.S. must
complete the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination Certification (FPGEC).
FPGEC provides a means of documenting the educational equivalency of a
candidate's foreign pharmacy education.
To become a licensed pharmacist, you must meet the requirements of
the state or jurisdiction in which you are seeking licensure. In most
states, some examinations and other qualifications are prerequisites for
licensure . You must contact the board of pharmacy of the state in which
you wish to practice for their specific licensure requirements.
The North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) is required
in all U.S. 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
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 (i.e.,
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
Centers throughout the United States. Information bulletins and
application forms for the NAPLEX are available from the state boards of
Most states require a drug law examination as a condition of licensure.
The Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE) is currently
administered in many states and is based on a nationally uniform content
blueprint, with questions that are tailored to assess the pharmacy
jurisprudence requirements of individual states.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
The FPGEE is a full-day, computer-based examination that is
administered on a continuous basis five to six days per week at
LaserGrade Test Centers throughout the United States. To be considered
for approval to sit for the FPGEE, candidates must submit a completed
application or registration form, fees, and supporting documentation in
accordance with the procedures established by the FPGEC. If you are already in the United States, your temporary visa like
H-1B will be converted into permanent residence visa. This process is
known as adjustment of status. You can also obtain visas for your family
After living for a few years in the United States, you can apply for
citizenship if you fulfill some requirements.
The complete details on all the above procedures and other important
relevant information can be found in 'Your Complete Guide to Overseas
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