GPAT Discussion Center


  • How to become a registered Pharmacist in USA

     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 number of pharmacy jobs is expected to increase by 25% from 2010 to 2020, a faster growth rate than for most jobs. Read this article to learn how to pursue this lucrative career.

    1. The FPGEC certification program :

    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.

    As part of the program, you must pass the following examinations:

    • Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Examination (FPGEE)
      • You may not take the FPGEE until your education and licensure and/or registration have been reviewed and approved.
    • TOEFL iBT
      • You may take the TOEFL iBT at any time in the process

    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 members.

    After living for a few years in the United States, you can apply for citizenship if you fulfill some requirements.

    1. FPGEC (The Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Examination):

    The Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Examination, or FPGEE, is one of the examinations required as part of the FPGEC Certification Program. (You must also take and pass the TOEFL iBT, the English-language exam administered by Educational Testing Service.)

    The FPGEE is offered twice each year, and it is administered at Pearson VUE test sites throughout the continental United States. Only individuals made eligible during the FPGEC application process can take the FPGEE.

    Once you successfully complete the FPGEC evaluation process, you will receive a letter of acceptance to sit for the FPGEE as well as detailed information on the registration and scheduling process. A FPGEE Identification Card, which will contain instructions for beginning the exam registration process, will also be included.

    When you are accepted to take the FPGEE, you will have the opportunity to take the examination on one of two consecutive testing opportunities unless a documented work, health, personal, or visa problem prevents you from taking the examination. For example, if you are accepted for the April 28, 2014 FPGEE, but decide not to take the exam, you can still take the next exam on October 7, 2014. The October 7, 2014 FPGEE will be your second, and final opportunity to take the FPGEE unless you provide a documented work, health, personal, or visa-related circumstance that prevents you from taking the examination. The FPGEC will review the documentation and decide if an additional opportunity to test will be granted.

    Structure of the FPGEE

    The 250 questions on the FPGEE are divided among four content areas:

    • Basic biomedical sciences – 16%
    • Pharmaceutical Sciences – 30%
    • Social, behavioral, administrative pharmacy sciences – 22%
    • Clinical sciences – 32%

    You must receive a scaled score of 75 or higher on the FPGEE to be eligible for FPGEC Certification.


    1. NAPLEX (The North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination:

    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 practice

    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 pharmacy.


    1. MPJE (Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination):

    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 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.

    Practice Examinations :

    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.


    1. Internship:

    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.

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