Practicing as a pharmacist

Overview

Graduate qualifications in pharmacy from Australian universities are recognized internationally. OzTREKK has had students graduate with a Bachelor of Pharmacy from an Australian university and successfully become accredited in Canada. Upon their return to Canada, graduates must also apply for certification through the provincial regulatory body in the province in which they wish to work.

Currently, in order to return to Canada and gain licensing through the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC), there is a minimum education requirement of 4 years from an accredited pharmacy program. A master’s program format alone will not meet this requirement (as they are fewer than 4 years in length). OzTREKK recommends students take a 4-year undergraduate program (which currently is an equivalent format to Canada’s PharmD).

 

Steps to Practice

The following stages need to be completed to become certified to practice as a pharmacist in Canada as an international pharmacy graduate (IPG):

Step #1 Enrol with the Pharmacists’ Gateway Canada
Pharmacists’ Gateway Canada will assess your qualifications and competence for entry-to-practice through a series of evaluations. They will also offer info and guidance in preparation for the PEBC’s licensing process.

Step #2 Submit Application
After graduation, submit your application and proof of pharmacy degree completion to the PEBC for document evaluation. If your educational credentials and licensure statements are acceptable, you will be eligible to write the Pharmacist Evaluating Examination.

Step #3 Pass the Pharmacist Evaluating Examination
This exam evaluates whether your pharmacy education is comparable to that of Canadian pharmacy graduates.

Step #4 Pass both Part 1 (MCQ) and Part 2 (OSCE) of the Pharmacist Qualifying Examination to receive PEBC’s Certificate of Qualification

  • Pharmacist Qualifying Examination – Part I (MCQ)
    The Qualifying Exam Part I (MCQ) is a multiple-choice primary exam toward Canadian pharmacy licensure. The MCQ evaluates the knowledge of Canadian pharmacy graduates and international pharmacy graduates seeking licensure. It is written in two sittings, on two consecutive half-days.
  • Pharmacist Qualifying Examination – Part II (OSCE) 
    Part II of the Qualifying Examination is an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE), and is taken on a different day from Part I. The OSCE consists of a series of “stations” simulating common and/or critical practical situations.

Learn more about the process from a student’s perspective (plus tips!).

Step #5 Apply to a Pharmacy Regulatory Authority (PRA)
You must formally apply to the Pharmacy Regulatory Authority (PRA) in the province or territory in which you want to work. While PRAs have many similar requirements, each jurisdiction may have variations or unique conditions for licensure.

Step #6 Structured Practical Training (SPT)
Each Pharmacy Regulatory Authority (PRA) requires that candidates complete a training program in a licensed pharmacy. This ensures that IPGs will have experience in a pharmacy patient care setting that meets the national standards. Each province has a different requirement for the number of hours of structured practical training you will need to complete.

Step #7 License Registration
This is the last step in the licensure or registration process! The PRA will confirm that you have successfully completed all of the requirements to be licensed. You will be charged a fee for your licence and you will need to renew your licence and pay a fee each year. (See next section.)

Provincial Requirements

While all Canadian provinces require you to have PEBC certification in order to become licensed to practice, “each province has additional licensing requirements. These may include practical experience, English or French language skills, and jurisprudence examinations.” (PEBC.ca) Contact the regulatory authority of the province you wish to practice to learn more.

If required to complete further practical experience, apprenticeship/internship bridging programs for international graduates are available through the following universities:

Visit the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada website for further accreditation and certification information.

Practicing in Australia

For students looking to remain in Australia and work as a pharmacist, you’ll want to ensure you’re aware of the requirements and pathway to practice.

Step #1 Complete  Bachelor of Pharmacy degree

Upon completion of this degree, you’ll need to meet the requirements to be registered with the Pharmacy Board of Australia. You may apply for provisional registration as you approach the end of your studies, as this will then allow you to obtain an internship.

Step #2 The internship!

Students will need to complete an internship which covers the practical experience required to work as a pharmacist. The internship will be supervised and will need to be a minimum of 1824 hours. You can complete your internship through some of the following options, generally as part of a Graduate Certificate in Pharmacy Practice:

Step #3 Written and oral exams

Once your internship is completed, you will then qualify to complete the written and oral exams, both run by the Australian Pharmacy Council (APC).

Step #4 Apply for registration

You’re then able to apply for general registration as a Pharmacist in Australia either online or via hard copy form.

Check out the Pharmacy Board of Australia page for a walk-through of the entire process.

FAQs

You don’t meet Monash’s pharmacy prerequisites or GPA requirement

If you’re considering the graduate-entry Bachelor of Pharmacy Honours pathway at Monash University, you’ll need to ensure you have both the prerequisite courses and a GPA higher than 70% in a degree completed within the last 10 years.

For Monash, students will need to ensure they have completed the following courses at a level higher than first year, and in a course that spans the entirety of the year, generally as part of a Bachelor of Science:

  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • English
  • One unit of physiology
  • Biochemistry (recommended, but not required)

Though the GPA minimum is 70%, we have found that competitive applicants will have GPAs higher than 75%.

Choose another pharmacy program
If you’re unable to satisfy the Monash requirements, consider applying to another pharmacy program and submitting applications for credit to potentially lessen the course load or duration of the program.

Please email pharmacy@oztrekk.com for more details. We’re here to help!

Do I need the PCAT to apply?

No, Australian pharmacy schools do not require the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) as part of their admissions requirements.

Which prerequisites will I need?

Prerequisites vary by university; however, common prerequisites for pharmacy programs include chemistry, biology, higher-level math (calculus and advanced functions) and English. Your OzTREKK admissions officer will outline which prerequisites are required for each program.

What is a considered a competitive average?

As competitive averages vary by university, students who have over a 65% average in university studies are generally eligible to apply to Australian pharmacy programs; however, Monash’s minimum average is 70%.

For those coming from high school, the minimum average is approximately 80%. Contact OzTREKK to find out if your grades are considered competitive.

Does Australia have a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program?

Australia does not have a Doctor of Pharmacy program. Canadians wishing to study pharmacy in Australia are encouraged to take a 4-year undergraduate program, which at this time is an equivalent format to Canada’s PharmD.

Will I be able to practice in Canada afterward?

Graduate qualifications in pharmacy from Australian universities are recognized internationally. Currently, in order to return to Canada and gain licensing through the PEBC, there is a minimum education requirement of 4 years from an accredited pharmacy program. A master’s program format alone will not meet this requirement (as they are fewer than 4 years in length). OzTREKK recommends students take a 4-year undergraduate program (which currently is an equivalent format to Canada’s PharmD).

OzTREKK has had students graduate with a Bachelor of Pharmacy from an Australian university and successfully become accredited in Canada; however, every student is assessed on an individual basis. Visit the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada website for accreditation and certification information. Upon their return to Canada, graduates must also apply for certification through the provincial regulatory body in the province in which they wish to work.

Please note the above accreditation information is via former OzTREKK students’ experiences. We cannot know what the PEBC will require in 4 or 5 years from now or if the requirements will change, so if you are considering studying anywhere internationally, please stay in touch with the PEBC to ensure you will meet the requirements.

Steps for practicing in Canada

1. Visit Pharmacists’ Gateway Canada for information on licensure in Canada
2. Enrol in Pharmacists’ Gateway Canada
3. Apply to the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada for Document Evaluation and the Evaluating Examination

How can I apply for credit?

Some programs will ask that you submit your application for credit at the same time as your general application, while others will require students to first have an offer. Check with your admissions officer which protocol you should follow based on the programs you are applying to.

To apply for credit, the universities require detailed course outlines for all the courses for which you wish to receive credit. These outlines should be detailed and include information about the course, the lectures, the professor’s contact information, and the weekly topics covered. Most universities also have a form that must be completed.

For pharmacy, all universities accept applications for credit except Monash University, which offers graduate-entry instead of single credits.