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Requirements for Pharmacist License

Pharmacists today hold patient-oriented functions, giving them a centralized position in the health care industry. Pharmacy professionals hold themselves out to the public as providers qualified to fill prescriptions and provide care without error with their specialized training.

Were you or a loved one injured due to a wrong medication dispensed by a pharmacist? If so, contact the personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC. Our pharmacist malpractice lawyers work on a contingency basis, so you don’t have to pay upfront.


Get a free no-obligation consultation through our contact form or call our pharmacy error lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call). All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

Pharmacists License Requirements

In the US, pharmacy graduates who work in industries that do not require dispensing of medicines or providing patient care do not have to be licensed pharmacists. However, those who wish to practice pharmacy in a state or territory must be a holder of a pharmacist license or certification issued by the board of pharmacy.

Education Requirements

The reforms in the US pharmacy education require one to have a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD) to qualify for the pharmacist licensure exam. An applicant may earn the PharmD program from a school accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.

Internship Requirements

In addition to the PharmD degree, an applicant must attend an internship program to be eligible to qualify for the state board exam. Depending on the state’s requirements, an applicant may complete a minimum of 1500 internship hours or experience requirements to sit for the licensure exams.

Licensing Requirements

As part of the licensing process, applicants looking to become licensed pharmacologists in a particular state or territory must pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX). The board of pharmacy uses the NAPLEX exam to assess the candidate’s knowledge and competence to practice in the pharmaceutical industry.

After successfully passing the NAPLEX exam, the candidate may take either the state-administered Multi-state Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam or a pharmacy law exam.

The jurisprudence or pharmacy law exam assesses the candidate’s knowledge of laws applicable in a pharmaceutical setting. Most states use the multi-state pharmacy jurisprudence exam, while others have developed their jurisprudence exam.

In Illinois, all applicants, whether they graduated from the US or obtained their degree from a foreign country, must pass the NAPLEX and jurisprudence exam before the state board of pharmacy approves their pharmacist licenses.

National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and Pharmacy Program

With its commitment to supporting the state boards of pharmacy, the NABP provides examinations designed to assess the competencies of pharmacy program graduates. Additionally, NABP is committed to supporting pharmacy practice and education to ensure the public's safety by upholding quality pharmaceutical care.

Pharmacist Licensing Requirements FAQs

Below are answers to the most common questions concerning pharmacist licensing.

What Are the Common Specialty Certifications?

A pharmacologist may seek specialty certifications to take up a role other than the traditional role of dispensing drugs. Specialty certifications call for an educational requirement and experience in addition to the pharmacist license.

Specialty certifications reflect the provider’s advanced competencies. This career move may require the candidate to obtain certification from recognized schools and licensing requirements in their state.

Most providers with continuing education credentials and specialty certifications may be eligible to work in the following fields:

  • Psychiatric pharmacy
  • Nuclear pharmacy
  • Ambulatory care

What Are the Requirements for a Non-US Pharmacy Graduate to Become a Licensed Pharmacist?

Pharmacy graduates from non-US pharmacy schools may be eligible to work as a pharmacologist in the US, subject to the licensing requirements in each state, such as:

  • Pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language exam
  • Secure the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination Committee Certification
  • Pass the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Exam
  • Pass all the exams required in chosen state or jurisdiction

Graduates from non-US schools must also comply with the requirements for continuing education. Completing this requirement is a must if they are to renew their license.

Why Is Continuing Education a Requirement for Pharmacy Professionals?

Pharmacists provide services in the ever-changing healthcare environment. They can expect to do continuing education as a requirement if they are to renew their license.

This means that the learning and licensing process does not end with completing basic licensure requirements. Pharmaceutists may need to attend continuing education programs and obtain certification to renew their license and ensure that they are abreast with the new laws and policies governing the practice of their profession.

Continuing education ensures that healthcare professionals can provide high-quality services in the practice of their profession. Drug store professionals may secure continuing education credit and certification from schools and organizations in their state offering approved continuing education programs.

How Many Pharmacy Intern Hours Do You Need to Become a Licensed Pharmacist?

In most states, the board of pharmacy requires the completion of 1500 minimum intern hours in an approved pharmaceutical setting to qualify for the test.

What Are the Requirements to Receive the Authorization to Test for a Pharmacist Licensure Exam?

After the application is approved, the candidate will receive an Authorization to Test. However, failure to submit all requirements may result in the candidate not receiving the authorization to test.

Each state has its licensing process; however, the basic requirements to qualify for the license test are:

  • PharmD degree or its equivalent degree
  • A minimum number of internship hours in the approved community and institutional pharmacies
  • Completion of the NAPLEX competency exam and jurisprudence exam
  • Payment of required application fee/fees. Note that the fees for each state licensing exam are non-refundable.

The state board determines whether or not an applicant is eligible to sit for the pharmacy licensure exam. Note that a criminal background check is also a part of the licensing process.

What Is the Role of the State Board?

In each state or jurisdiction, the board is responsible for pharmaceutists' licensing and certification. It establishes regulations for the profession, such as the authorization and disciplining of licensees.

Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer to Resolve Your Pharmacist Error Claim

Do you suspect that you received the wrong medication from your licensed pharmacist? The medical malpractice attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC represent people injured due to wrongful dispensation of drugs.

Complete the contact form or call (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation with a pharmacist malpractice attorney. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

We accept all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits through contingency fee agreements. This arraignment ensures you pay nothing until we obtain compensation on your behalf for your damages.


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