HOW TO REGISTER AS A PHARMACIST AND MIGRATE TO AUSTRALIA?

Pharmacy is a booming profession and a lucrative pathway to migrate to Australia. Most pharmacists in Australia practice within the community itself as retailers or work in hospitals. Pharmacists are highly trusted professionals who are qualified to dispense medications. They have the required knowledge about most medicines and are capable of counselling to the healthcare professionals and patients and other people and the key responsibilities such as processing prescriptions, maintaining patient medication records, promoting primary health care etc.


However, to become a pharmacist in Australia, you need to be well aware of certain prerequisites. First, they need to meet the Skills Assessment as carried out by the Australia Pharmacy Council (APC) and then register themselves with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) Pharmacy Board of Australia (PBA) to get the Skilled Visa to travel and work as a pharmacist in Australia. The common pharmacy profession for migration to Australia are:


  • Community Pharmacist (retail pharmacist)
  • Hospital Pharmacist
  • Industrial Pharmacist
  • Pharmacy Technician

In this article, we will look at the complete registration and migration process for retail pharmacists and hospital pharmacists in Australia. For Industrial Pharmacist and pharmacy technician requirements and migration process discussed in a separate blog.

1. OVERSEAS PHARMACIST, SKILLS ASSESSMENT CRITERIA

STREAM A:

Under this stream, you must:

  • Have an approved pharmacy qualification (minimum 4 years pharmacy degree).
  • You must be registered in your country of origin or be eligible for registration. If you studied in another nation, you would additionally require a registration eligibility letter.
  • Initial skills assessment by APC.
  • Register for the KAPS exam (Knowledge Assessment of Pharmaceutical Science) to put your knowledge to test.
  • After the successful completion of which, meet AHPRA’’s registration requirements.

STREAM B:

Under this stream, you must:

  • Have an approved pharmacy qualification in a Stream B Country (UK, Ireland, USA & Canada)
  • Be registered in the Stream B country wherein you had acquired your qualification in the first place.
  • Hold a certificate of good standing from all jurisdictions within the last 10 years.
  • Hold a working first aid certificate issued by a valid issuer either in Australia or the Stream B country.
  • Appear & pass the Competency Assessment of Overseas Pharmacists (CAOP) Exam.
  • After the successful completion of which, meet AHPRA’s registration requirements.

However, pharmacists qualified from New Zealand remain exempt from APC requirements since its qualifications are closely linked to Australia’s. They can register via Trans-Tasman mutual recognition arrangements with the AHPRA.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR SKILLS ASSESSMENT

  • Now, to complete the said application & receive the Skills Assessment Eligibility Letter from the APC, you need to provide the following documents:-
  • Identification documents (valid passport and passport-size photograph).
  • Qualifications (pharmacy degree certificate with transcripts)¬.
  • Evidence of registration as a pharmacist in your country.
  • Work experience in original work reference templates as given by APC.
  • Curriculum vitae.

Within 8 weeks of submitting all the documentation, you shall receive the approval from the APC to validate your pharmacy degree in Australia, after which you may appear for the KAPS exam (if you receive a positive skill assessment). On successfully passing the examination, you will receive an e-mail confirming the same and the hard copy of your Skills Assessment Eligibility Letter shall be mailed to you.

2. KAPS EXAM

The KAPS exam consists of 2 papers:

  • Paper 1: Pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmacology and physiology
  • Paper 2: Pharmaceutics and therapeutics

Academically provide the online coaching, please visit https://academically.ai/courses/kaps-exam-preparation-become-a-pharmacist-in-australia-pharmacy-jobs-australia/

3. ENGLISH REQUIREMENTS

IELTS (academic): an overall total score of 7.5 with a minimum score of 7 in each of the four components (listening, reading, writing and speaking) in one sitting; or, OET – an overall pass with grades A or B only in each of the four components in one sitting. Results must have been obtained within two years prior to applying for general registration.

4. REGISTRATION WITH AHPRA AS A PHARMACIST

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) supports the 14 National Boards in their role of protecting the public and setting standards and policies that all registered health practitioners must meet.

Once you receive the eligibility letter, which affirms your required knowledge in pharmacy, you need to apply to the pharmacy board for the general registration of pharmacists in Australia. As a brief overview of the same:-

STREAM A:

Overseas Pharmacist Must

  • Hold provisional registration & have their supervised practice (i.e. internship) approved by the Board.
  • Start the approved internship program.
  • Appear for the written examination after completing at least 40% of the said internship.
  • Appear for the oral examination after completing at least 75% of the said internship.
  • Apply for general registration.

STREAM B:

Overseas Pharmacist Must

  • Hold provisional registration & have their supervised practice (i.e. internship) approved by the Board.
  • Start the approved internship program.
  • Appear for an oral examination (pharmacy & law) and/or oral examination (practice) after completing at least 75% of the said internship.
  • Apply for general registration

5. HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR POINTS (SKILLED VISAS)

To apply for a skilled visa, you need to know how many points you can score. The minimum score to be eligible for application is 65 points. However, depending on your occupation, the competitiveness, and the states you are applying to, you might need to score more points to get an invite.

Points will be given to you based on the following:

  • Age
  • Educational Qualifications
  • Points for Professional Year
  • Points for NAATI- Credentialled Community Language
  • Points for 2 Year Study
  • Points for English
  • Points for Regional Study
  • Points for Work Experience
  • Points for Specialist Educational Qualifications (STEM)
  • Points for Partner

Points calculator: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/tools/points-calculator

6. OPTIONS FOR OVERSEAS PHARMACISTS AFTER KAPS EXAM

As soon as you are registered as a pharmacist to practice in Australia, you will have several options and you may apply for General Skilled Migration Visa under subclass 190 (Skilled Nominated Visa), subclass 491 (Regional Sponsored Visa), subclass 482 (Temporary Skilled Shortage Visa) and subclass 494 (Skilled employer sponsored regional Visa. You may speak with any registered migration agent for further information on which visa is best for you.

7. HEALTH AND CHARACTER

Must meet health and character requirements.

Note:To the best of our ability, we give all information in a correct manner, although errors are possible. We cannot guarantee that this information is accurate, complete or current.

Dr. Akram Ahmad, PhD

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