What is the process of becoming a registered pharmacist in New Zealand

In New Zealand, the Pharmacy Council is a regulator of pharmacists and was established under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (HPCAA) 2003. It is essential to ensuring high standards of competence in pharmacists and ensuring public wellbeing through safe and effective pharmacist practice.

The New Zealand health system has a strong focus on primary health care and clinical pharmacy. The Pharmacy Council assists overseas trained pharmacists through an assessment process towards registration to enable them to practise in this environment.

The practice of pharmacy is necessarily broad and is wider than pharmacists working directly with patients, given that such roles influence clinical practice and public safety. In a clinical role, the pharmacist acts as a medicines’ manager, providing patient-centred medication therapy management, health improvement and disease prevention services, usually in a collaborative environment. Pharmacists ensure safe and quality use of medicines and optimise health outcomes by contributing to patient assessment and to the selection, prescribing, monitoring and evaluation of medicine therapy.

It is a legal requirement under the HPCAA for all practising pharmacists, including intern pharmacists, to be both registered with the Pharmacy Council and hold a current annual practising certificate.

The common pharmacy profession to work in New Zealand and Australia are:

 Community Pharmacist (retail pharmacist)

 Hospital Pharmacist

 Industrial Pharmacist

 Pharmacy Technician

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

Pharmacist Pay in New Zealand

Pay for pharmacists varies depending on their experience and level of responsibility.

Then average pay for community pharmacists is:

 Pharmacy interns (graduates completing their registration year) – $43,000 a year.

 Staff pharmacists – $82,000 a year

 Charge pharmacists (who manage a pharmacy) – $86,000 a year.


Step 1:Submit application for initial consideration.

Step 2:Pass KAPS exam (2 attempts permitted).

Step 3:Pass the NZ pharmacy legislation course.

Step 4:Complete the EVOLVE intern training programme (37 weeks) and pass Assessment Centre.

Apply for an APC in Pharmacist scope of practice.

This application route is for overseas registered pharmacists (who qualified in countries other than Australia, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the USA), who would like to apply for pharmacist registration in New Zealand via Non-REQR.

ELIGIBILITY: Applying to register under non-REQR

Answer these questions to see if you meet the set requirements for initial consideration by the Pharmacy Council.

1Are you a registered pharmacist?YES/NO
2Do you have a university degree in pharmacy (e.g. BPharm, MPharm)?
Applicants who graduated after 1 January 2006 must have completed at least a 4 year degree.
3Have you worked as a registered pharmacist in a clinical setting within a community or hospital pharmacy for at least 12 months within the last 5 years?YES/NO

If you have answered YES to each of these questions you may be eligible for registration in New Zealand.

If you have answered NO to any of these questions, you currently do not meet the set eligibility criteria for registration in New Zealand.

STEP 1 – Application for initial consideration

You must submit documentation which meets the set requirements for you to continue with the registration process. This includes (but is not limited to) evidence of your primary qualification, evidence of your current registration status, references from professional colleagues and an acceptable standard in an English language assessment.

Time Limit: 3 Months

a. The following documents must be received in hard copy from the applicant:

 Completed application for initial consideration for registration as a pharmacist.

 Two passport photos – certified

 Application fee – the fee for initial consideration is non-refundable and will be processed when your application is received by Pharmacy Council.

 Curriculum vitae (CV) including your personal details, qualifications, work history and experience, achievements etc.

 Proof of identification – certified copy of the details page of your passport (including the photo).

 Evidence of your change of name (if applicable) – please ensure that all certified documents are signed by the same person.

 Evidence of your application to register as a pharmacist in any other country and the outcome of your application if unsuccessful (if applicable).

 Disclosures of a health matter or conviction, and/or details of any professional conduct issues (if applicable).

b. The following documents must be received in hard copy DIRECTLY from the specified authority(s):

 Confirmation of completion of your initial pharmacy degree and a copy of your academic record (degree transcript). The university must send these directly to the Pharmacy Council. Applicants who graduated after 1 January 2006 must have completed at least a 4-year degree.

 Certificate(s) of current and past registration. Each authority where you have been registered or licensed must send a certificate directly to the Pharmacy Council.

 Statement(s) of good standing. Each authority where you have been registered or licensed must provide a statement directly to the Pharmacy Council.

STEP 2: Knowledge assessment of pharmaceutical sciences (KAPS) exam

You must demonstrate you have the knowledge and skills deemed equivalent to the New Zealand Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) degree by passing the KAPS exam. It consists of two papers of multiple-choice questions covering pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmacology and physiology, pharmaceutics and therapeutics.

 Paper 1: Pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmacology and physiology

 Paper 2: Pharmaceutics and pharmacotherapeutics

Academically provide the online coaching, please visit

STEP 3: New Zealand pharmacy legislation course

Understanding New Zealand pharmacy legislation and the ethical framework underpinning the code of ethics, as they relate to pharmacy practice, forms the basis of knowledge and application of law and ethics. You are required to successfully complete the Pharmacy Council approved law and ethics course, “New Zealand Pharmacy Legislation,” which is provided by the school of pharmacy at the University of Auckland.

STEP 4: Intern registration and supervised practice

Once you have met the first three steps of the non-REQR process, you will be eligible to register as an intern pharmacist and enter the EVOLVE intern programme. When you have completed the EVOLVE programme you will attend a Council assessment which is the final assessment for intern pharmacists. You may apply for registration as a pharmacist when ALL the above steps have been successfully completed.


Please visit the New Zealand Immigration website for further information on long-term skills shortage and immigration requirements.


For more information, please visit the Pharmacy Council of New Zealand

KAPS Exam preparation course:

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

Dr. Akram Ahmad, PhD is the brainchild of Dr. Akram Ahmad. He has done his PhD from the Faculty of Medicine and Health, the University of Sydney, Australia. He is a self-motivated clinical pharmacist and committed lecturer with over 9 years of teaching and research experience in various subjects of medicine at the leading Universities in Australia, Malaysia, and India.

Dr. Akram is the recipient of prestigious “Best Promising Researcher Award” from the UCSI University (Malaysia). He has also published over 110 papers, book chapters, conference papers including in high-impact journals. In addition to that, he is a reviewer and editorial board member in
several journals of medicine and pharmacy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Enquire Now