What are the requirements for obtaining a state license to dispense Rx medications?
The requirements for obtaining a state license to dispense Rx medications can vary depending on the state, but generally include the following:
Education: To dispense Rx medications, a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) from a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) is required. The degree program usually takes four years to complete and includes coursework in pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, pharmacy law, and ethics.
Exams: The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) administers two exams required for licensure: the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE). The NAPLEX tests a candidate's knowledge and skills in pharmacy practice, while the MPJE assesses their understanding of pharmacy law and regulations.
Experience: States require candidates complete a certain number of hours of an approved practical training program under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist, also known as an internship, in a licensed pharmacy.
Background checks: Candidates must usually undergo a criminal background check to obtain a pharmacy license.
Continuing education: After obtaining a license, pharmacists are required to complete continuing education each year to maintain their license. Continuing education requirements, including number of credit hours, frequency for renewal, and specific course requirements, vary by state. Standard continuing education topic requirements include pharmacy and drug law, medication errors, patient safety, and opioid abuse.
Other requirements: Some states may have additional requirements, such as passing a state-specific exam, providing proof of liability insurance, or obtaining certification in certain areas of pharmacy practice.
It's important to note that the requirements for obtaining a state license to dispense Rx medications can change over time and vary depending on the state. Therefore, it's recommended that individuals interested in pursuing a career as a pharmacist consult their state board of pharmacy for the most up-to-date requirements.
Commonly Asked Questions
How long does it typically take to obtain a state license to dispense Rx medications?
Answer: The length of time it takes to obtain a state license to dispense Rx medications varies depending on the state requirements and candidate's individual circumstances. Generally, it can take from six months to a year to complete the licensing application process.
Can pharmacists who obtained their degree in a foreign country obtain a state license to dispense Rx medications?
Answer: Yes, pharmacists who obtained their degree in a foreign country may be eligible to obtain a state license to dispense Rx medications. Pharmacists educated outside of the US are required to obtain a Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination CommitteeTM (FPGEC®) Certification before applying for state pharmacist license or licensure exam. State pharmacist licensure requirements vary, so once a FPGEC certification is obtained, the pharmacist must check with the state board of pharmacy for specific licensure requirements.
Can a pharmacist's license to dispense Rx medications be suspended or revoked?
Answer: Yes, a pharmacist's license to dispense Rx medications can be suspended or revoked if they are found to have violated pharmacy regulations or engaged in unethical or illegal practices. Common reasons for license suspension or revocation include substance abuse, dispensing errors, and unethical behavior.
How can a pharmacist transfer their pharmacist’s license to another state?
Answer: Pharmacists can transfer their pharmacist’s license in multiple states by score transfer or license reciprocity. Recent graduates from pharmacy school can transfer their NAPLEX score to states where they want to practice. The NABP can facilitate this process for a fee. If a pharmacist has an existing license in a state, the pharmacist can initiate a license transfer through the state reciprocity process. The NABP can facilitate this transfer for a fee.