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Pharmacy

A Comprehensive Guide for Foreign Pharmacists to Practice in Australia

Australia stands as a promising destination for pharmacists seeking new professional horizons. For foreign pharmacists aspiring to practice Down Under, understanding the registration process is paramount. This comprehensive guide provides a step-by-step roadmap to help you navigate the intricate journey of registering to practice pharmacy in Australia.

Understanding the Requirements

To embark on this journey, it’s crucial to comprehend the requirements set by the Pharmacy Board of Australia (PBA). This includes possessing a relevant pharmacy qualification, demonstrating proficiency in English (typically through the IELTS exam), and fulfilling the necessary health and character checks.

Application to the Australian Pharmacy Council (APC)

The Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) is the key player in assessing your qualifications. The APC accredits pharmacy education and training on behalf of the PBA.

As an overseas trained pharmacist, you will need to get your skills assessed by the APC. There are two streams for the APC Skills Assessment:

a) Stream A

To qualify under this stream, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Hold an approved pharmacy qualification.
  • Be eligible for commencement of registration in the country of acquiring the qualification.
  • Show up for the Knowledge Assessment of Pharmaceutical Science (KAPS) Exam to put your knowledge to test.
  • Meet the PBA’s registration requirements after successfully completing KAPS.

b) Stream B

To qualify under this stream, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Hold an approved pharmacy qualification in UK, Ireland, USA & Canada (Stream B country).
  • Be registered in your country of origin.
  • Have a certificate of good standing from all jurisdictions within the last 10 years.
  • Have a working first aid certificate issued by a valid issuer either in Australia or the Stream B country.
  • Appear & pass the Competency Assessment of Overseas Pharmacists (CAOP) Exam.
  • Meet the PBA’s registration requirements after successfully completing CAOP Exam.

If you are a pharmacist from New Zealand, you are exempted from APC requirements as its qualifications are closely linked to Australia’s. You can register via Trans-Tasman mutual recognition arrangements with the PBA.

To complete your Skill Assessment Eligibility application, you need to provide the following documents:

  • Personal identification (original and valid passport and passport-size photograph taken within the last 6 months).
  • Proof of academic qualifications (certificate of title in pharmacy along with academic record).
  • Evidence of registration (proof of registration in country of origin).
  • Work experience (CV and original work experience references).

The APC takes an average of 8 weeks to validate your pharmacy degree in Australia. After validation, you may be required to appear for the test as applicable under your eligible stream.

When you successfully pass the examination, you will be notified by e-mail and a hard copy of your Skills Assessment Eligibility Letter mailed to you.

Competency Assessment Program

If you are successful in Skills Assessment, you will proceed to the Internationally Qualified Pharmacist (IQP) program. Here’s a brief overview of this process:

a) Stream A

If you fall within stream A, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold provisional registration and have their internship approved by the Board.
  • Begin the approved internship program.
  • Show up for the written examination after completing at least 40% of the said internship.
  • Show up for the oral examination after completing at least 75% of the said internship.
  • Apply for the general registration

b) Stream B

If you fall within stream A, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold provisional registration & have your supervised internship approved by the Board.
  • Begin your approved internship program.
  • Show up for an oral examination (pharmacy & law) and/or oral examination (practice) after completing at least 75% of the said internship.
  • Apply for general registration.

Pharmacy Board of Australia Registration

Once you’ve successfully completed the IQP program, you can apply to the Pharmacy Board of Australia for registration. This involves submitting evidence of your completion of the APC process, along with other required documents.

Upon registration as a pharmacist to practice in Australia, you will have a number of options at your disposal. You may proceed to apply for General Skilled Migration Visa under subclass 190 (Skilled Nominated Visa) and subclass 489 (Regional Sponsored Visa).

Embarking on a journey to practice pharmacy in Australia is a rewarding endeavor. By following these steps, you can navigate the process successfully and contribute to the vibrant landscape of Australian healthcare.

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