How to become a Pharmacist in New Zealand

To become a pharmacist in New Zealand, you must have to pass through a series of trainings that will equip you with the required pharmaceutical and clinical knowledge.

Pharmacy education in New Zealand is regulated by the Pharmacy Council. The Bachelor of Pharmacy is the minimum qualification to practice as a pharmacist in New Zealand. It is a four-year programme. We have 2 schools offering pharmacy courses in New Zealand.

After the completion of pharmacy degree in New Zealand, the candidate will undergo a minimum of 44 weeks intern training program run by the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand.

On completion of the internship programme, OSCE examination will follow. A pass in the Pharmacy Council Assessment Centre, OSCE examination is also required.

In New Zealand, pharmacists who partake in further studies and training can prescribe medications. The Postgraduate Certificate in Pharmacist Prescribing is a postgraduate pharmacy course in New Zealand jointly developed by the University of Auckland, and the University of Otago.

Registration of Australian Pharmacist in New Zealand.

New Zealand and Australia pharmacy degrees are equivalent. The Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act (TTMRA) 1997 makes it possible for graduates of both countries to work in any of the two countries with their degrees being recognized.

The TTMRA pharmacist from Australia is required to register online, and submit necessary documents such as Birth Certificate, Passport – details page, Citizenship Certificate or NZ Driver Licence, passport photo from someone who knows the applicant for the pas 12 months (not a family member), online payment, Certificate of good standing with the country you are registered in, apart from Australia. Other information may be required. If successful, the pharmacist is registered with the Pharmacy Council, and issued APC for the current year of practice.

The second stage is the Competence programme. This programme is for three months, and involves 140 hours of supervised pharmacy practice. If successful, the TTMRA pharmacist will go through a law & ethics interview granted by a practising pharmacist of the Pharmacy Council.

All these processes are to make sure the pharmacist understand the laws, regulations guiding pharmacy practice in New Zealand.

Registration of Pharmacist from Canada, Ireland, the UK or the US in New Zealand

New Zealand recognize pharmacy degrees from the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, or candidates who successfully completed PEBC in Canada, OSPAP in the UK or NAPLEX in the USA. To register as a pharmacist in New Zealand from these countries, you have to go through the REQR process.

The first step in the REQR is to pass the competency assessment of overseas pharmacists (CAOP) examination, a computer-based test, organized by the Australian Pharmacy Council. You can only sit twice for the examination.

After passing the CAOP examination, the candidate has two years to register as a pharmacist in New Zealand. You will need a Certificate of Current Professional Status/Letter of Good Standing submitted directly by your registration authority to Pharmacy Council, New Zealand.

Others documents are CAOP results notification letter from the Australian Pharmacy Council, work history, supervising pharmacists – names and addresses, and application fees.

Pharmacists from the UK and Ireland are mandated to complete a minimum of 4 weeks, while pharmacists from Canada, and the US require 3 months of supervised work. US and Canada candidates must complete the revisit the workplace programme run by the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand.

The law and ethics interview will follow after the supervised work.

Registration of Pharmacists from other Countries in New Zealand

A candidate from countries other than Australia, Canada, UK, US and Ireland can register in New Zealand using the Non-REQR process. As a basic requirement, you must be a registered pharmacist, with at least BPharm or MPharm, and must have worked in a community or hospital pharmacy for a minimum of 12 months within the last 5 years.

If you meet these criteria, you have to submit your application with requirements such as primary qualifications, current registration status, references from your schools, English language assessment. The fee to be paid to the Pharmacy Council is NZ $690.00.

After a successful consideration, the second step is to pass the Knowledge assessment of pharmaceutical sciences (KAPS) exam within 2 attempts. The examination is a two-paper multi-choice questions on pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmaceutics and therapeutics, pharmacology and physiology. You will pay A $2,110.00 to the Pharmacy Council. The KAPS exam result is valid for two years.

Then you have to pass a law and ethics course “New Zealand Pharmacy Legislation” organized by the University of Auckland School of Pharmacy (fee for the exam is NZ $2,400.00)

The step after the ethics course is to register as an intern pharmacist. The fee to the Pharmacy Council is NZ $690.00. You will also have to complete the EVOLVE intern training programme that spans 37 weeks. There is a NZ $4,400.00 fee payable to the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand for the EVOLVE programme.

At the end of internship programme, you can sit for the final assessment for interns. If successful in the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), you can apply for an APC in Pharmacist scope of practice.

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