Practicing as a pharmacist

Overview

Important: The information on this page is intended to provide you with the basics of the credentialing process. It is your responsibility to contact your provincial regulatory body to ensure you are familiar with the process to return. While we review this content on an annual basis, it is subject to change at any time. Please ensure you review all information provided by the regulatory bodies for the most up-to-date information. OzTREKK is not responsible for your credentialing process.​

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).

COVID-19 Update
Due to COVID-19 and the shift to online studies, the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities have advised OzTREKK that the online learning modules currently used by Australian Bachelor of Pharmacy programs will not impact any part of the formal evaluation process. OzTREKK will post any changes as they are received.

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

Which prerequisites do I need?

Prerequisite courses vary by university and by program. We’ve listed university- and program-specific requirements on each program’s page under “Admissions Requirements.” If you’re unsure, reach out! We’re happy to help.

What are official transcripts, and how do I send them?

Currently, our Australian universities require original transcripts in order to assess your application—certified by OzTREKK, which means we have to put our stamp on paper. Literally.

Usually, students order transcripts from their high school, college and/or university and have them mailed to our office. Alternatively, you can pick up your transcripts and mail them to OzTREKK, as long as they remain in their original, sealed envelopes.

You will need to submit final transcripts (showing your degree/diploma is completed) from every institution you have attended. We only require one copy of each transcript, even if you apply to multiple universities or programs.

OzTREKK educational services
301-1 Sherbrooke ST E
Perth, ON K7H 1A1 CANADA

Alternatively, your high school, college and/or university can email them to transcripts@oztrekk.com.

P.S. Try sending your documents via FedEx and Purolator, especially when you need your documents to arrive at our office ASAP. If you use Canada Post’s courier Xpresspost, please don’t request a signature, as this can add unexpected delays!

As soon as your transcript arrives, we’ll let you know!

Can I stay in Australia to practice?

Canadians who graduate from an Australian Bachelor of Pharmacy / Bachelor of Pharmacy Honours program are eligible to continue the steps to practice in Australia; however, it is imperative to understand the visa process that is associated with continuing to live and work in Australia. Please visit Practicing pharmacy in Australia for more information.

What are the average marks for entry?

This varies by university and program chosen. Most eligible candidates have a high school diploma with an overall average of approximately 70% – 80%. But keep in mind meeting GPA requirements does not guarantee entry as these programs can be competitive.

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 if you have any questions. We’re here to help!

What are course outlines and how should I submit them to OzTREKK?

A course outline includes all the necessary information about a university course. It will include the course title, the year, the learning goals, the professor’s contact information, reading materials and most important, a weekly learning schedule. This will help the universities to see what you studied on a week-to-week basis and assess if you have covered the material they expect you to know.

  • Year and semester date
  • Faculty contact information
  • Course description
  • Hours of study
  • Textbook information
  • Detailed list of topics that are covered in the course; usually found in a detailed lecture schedule or list of chapter readings

Please note, one-paragraph course descriptions will not suffice. The university would like to see course outlines like those handed out at the beginning of the semester, which outline all topics covered within the course. If you do not have copies of these on hand, contact the faculty from which you undertook these courses, as they usually have copies on file.

These course outlines must be attached to the email in PDF format (do not send PDF links) and labelled in the following manner:

CAPS 391 Human Anatomy I UBC F2015 (COURSE CODE)(Name of Course)(University)(Semester & Year)

When you do this, it helps us be more efficient and move your application(s) at lightning speed.

What if my transcripts / documents are not in English?

If your documents are not in English, you must provide full translation of each document, either prepared by your university or by a registered translator. You must not translate the documents yourself.

Please note OzTREKK must receive the official translation directly from the university or translator in order to certify the document.

Do I need the PCAT to apply?

No. The Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) is generally only a requirement in North America, and is not common in Australia. OzTREKK’s pharmacy schools assess applications based on GPA and prerequisites.

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 required 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.