CAREER GUIDE FOR PHARMACISTs
Licensure for foreign-educated pharmacists involves several examinations and completion of an internship. Each state requires different procedures for licensure. The following guide provides an overview of the process for obtaining licensure. It is highly recommended that you read through the Application Bulletin of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), https://nabp.pharmacy/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/FPGEC_Application_Bulletin_11-2-16.pdf, and check the individual boards of each state on the website of the NABP for additional state requirements, https://nabp.pharmacy/.
Begin Process of Applying for the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination Committee (FPGEC) Certification
Applying for FPGEC certification is necessary to be able to take the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Examination (FPGEE). To be eligible to apply for the FPGEC certification, you must have graduated from a non-US university that is regionally accredited. Note that the requirement differs based on your graduation date. If you completed your degree before January 1st, 2003, you must have completed a four-year degree. If you graduated after January 1st, 2003, then you must have completed a five-year degree. You must also hold licensure in your home country, which you must provide proof of to the FPGEC along with a completed application (https://nabp.pharmacy/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/fpgec-application.pdf). Other materials include submission of two photographs in the application, a copy of photo identification, and payment of the necessary fees, which were $1,200 in 2017. Note that this fee contains the fee for the examination and evaluation of your application. If you need to retake the exam in the future, you must re-apply and re-submit an application with an additional fee.
When you are finished filling out your application form and have prepared all your documentation, send them to the NABP’s following address:
FPGEC 1600 Feehanville Drive Mount Prospect, IL 60056-6014
Upon receipt of your application materials, the FPGEC will provide you with an equivalency examination number (EE), which you will need to use when filling out future application forms.
Acquire Evaluation of Coursework from the Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE)
While you are completing your application for FPGEC certification, you must also acquire evaluation from the Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE), https://www.ece.org/nabp. Note that the ECE will send your course evaluation directly to the NABP. You need to submit an application to ECE along with your official university transcripts and your degree. Check the ECE website for current fees.
Take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL ibt)
If you haven’t already done so, make sure to take the TOEFL ibt, which is administered more than 50 times a year on specific dates by ETS, https://www.ets.org/toefl. You may register online for the exam and fees differ according to the test location. You must score above the following:
Reading – 22; Listening – 21; Speaking – 26; Writing – 24. Have your scores sent directly to the FPGEC using identification number 9103. Practice materials for the exam can be acquired through ETS, https://www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/prepare.
You can take the TOEFL ibt at any point during the certification process.
Register to take the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Examination (FPGEE)
Once you have submitted your application and the FPGEC deems you are eligible to sit for the examination, you will receive an FPGEE Identification Card with instructions on how to register to take the exam. You will be required to register with NABP, https://nabp.pharmacy/programs/fpgee/, and will receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) from Pearson VUE, which administers the exam, within a week. The ATT will allow you to schedule your examination through the Pearson VUE website, http://www.pearsonvue.com/nabp/. Note that the FPGEE is administered twice a year and you’ll be required to register for the examination during a certain period, typically 14 weeks before the examination date.
If for any reason, you need to cancel your examination date, be sure to do so through Pearson VUE five business days before your exam.
Topics covered on the FPGEE include the following four major areas:
- Biomedical sciences – 10%
- Pharmaceutical sciences – 33%
- Social, behavioral, administrative pharmacy sciences – 22%
- Clinical sciences – 35%
The exam is 250 questions long and takes approximately five hours. Check the NABP Application Bulletin for what you should bring with you to the examination. Exam reports are available electronically eight weeks after you take the examination and you may not make more than five attempts at taking the exam.
There are many practice resources for the FPGEE examination. One commonly used book is The APhA Complete Review for the FPGEE by Dick R. Gourley, which can be found online. You can also many free materials online and several books by Manon Shroff with practice questions and answers. Another resource is the NABP’s Pre-FPGEE, which you can register to take through the NABP’s website. The practice examination contains 66 questions, costs $50.00, and must be taken within seven days of registration. For more information, visit https://nabp.pharmacy/programs/pre-fpgee/.
Receive FPGEC Certification
Once you have taken and passed the FPGEE (and TOEFL), the FPGEC will perform a final evaluation before issuing you your final certification, which typically takes 10 weeks. For more information about the FPGEC Certification timeline, visit https://nabp.pharmacy/programs/fpgec/fpgec-certification-timeline/.
Apply to the Texas State Board of Pharmacy (TSBP) to Receive Licensure Through Examination
As previously indicated, each state has its own requirements for licensure after receiving FPGEC certification. Most states, including Texas, will require additional examinations as well as internship requirements. You need to create an account and apply to the TSBP here, https://vo.licensing.hpc.texas.gov/datamart/login.do;jsessionid=tROc0uNTXlYBgYrGtlDkbCG1.i-798b01e7.
To be eligible to apply for licensure, you must have the following:
- Application form (above)
- Apply to take the North American Pharmacist Examination (NAPLEX) and the MultiState Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE) for the State of Texas
Along with your application to the TSBP, you must apply to the NABP through your e-profile, to take the NAPLEX, https://nabp.pharmacy/programs/naplex/, and MPJE, https://nabp.pharmacy/programs/mpje/, to be eligible to apply for licensure in the State of Texas. The TSBP must have deemed that you are eligible to apply for the examinations. The cost of the NAPLEX is $575.00 and the cost of the MPJE is $250.00. Note that there are additional fees for changing dates or locations. Like the FPGEE, you will receive an ATT from Pearson VUE, http://www.pearsonvue.com/NABP/, which will allow you to register for specific days to take the examinations.
The NAPLEX includes 250 questions focused on:
- Guaranteeing safety in pharmacotherapy – 67%
- Competency of preparation and administration of pharmaceutical products – 33%
The MPJE includes 120 questions focused on:
- Practice – 83%
- Licensure, Registration, Certification of a Pharmacy – 15%
- Regulatory Processes – 2%
The results of both examinations should be available within 7 business days of taking the exams and you may not exceed five attempts for either examination. You must receive a minimum score of 75 on each exam to pass.
Practice materials may be found online, with the NABP e-profile offering a pre-NAPLEX practice for $65.00. The Pass the Texas Pharmacy Law Exam: A Study Guide and Review for the Texas MPJE by Sarah Fichuk is recommended for the MPJE.
- Complete 1500 Hours of Board Approved Internship
Upon receipt of your FPGEC certification, you are required to apply to the TSBP to be classified as an Extended Pharmacist Intern so you can complete your internship hours, https://www.pharmacy.texas.gov/infocist/extended.asp. Your proof of graduation, FPGEC certification, and application to take the examination must be on file when you apply to the TSBP. Note that once the TSBP approves your internship, you can practice in any licensed pharmacy in the State of Texas for 6 months before passing the NAPLEX and MPJE exams (see below). Once you pass these examinations, you can practice for up to two years.
- Obtain a fingerprinting session through https://uenroll.identogo.com/workflows/11G3HG
- Mail Supplemental Documents including birth certificate, form of identification, Social Security Card, and FPGEC Certification to: Texas State Board of Pharmacy, 333 Guadalupe Street, Ste 3-500, Austin, TX 78701
Application processing typically takes over eight weeks. For more information, visit https://www.pharmacy.texas.gov/infocist/Exam_intro.asp#SUPPLEMENTAL
Note there are other ways to obtain licensure in Texas; however, they depend on your completion of similar requirements in other states. For more information, refer to TSBP, http://www.pharmacy.texas.gov/files_pdf/FORGRAD.pdf.