Pharmacist Licensure and Credentialing

Pharmacists fill drug prescriptions and provide information to customers, as well as manage the pharmacy and staff. Get information on the education and training required to become a pharmacist, including requirements for licensure and credentials. Schools offering Pharmacy Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Education Programs Do I Need to Complete?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), individuals must complete 2-3 years of general college education before they may enroll in a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree (Pharm.D.) program ( These programs are required to become a pharmacist and take five years to complete. You may have to complete an internship. You'll learn about subjects such as drug therapy, patient procedures and healthcare management.

Required Education Doctor of Pharmacy degree
Licensure Requirement Mandatory; provided by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP)
Licensure Tests North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) and Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE)
Median Salary (2018)$126,120* (for pharmacists)
Job Outlook (2016-26)6%* (for all pharmacists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Licensing Do I Need?

Once you have completed your Pharm.D. program, you'll need to obtain a license before you can work as a pharmacist. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) offers various levels of licensing and resources for new and existing pharmacists. The NABP is a professional organization that assesses pharmacists to ensure they meet national standards in safety and health. Licensure by the NABP is required by all states; additional state requirements will vary (

What Does Licensing and Credentialing Involve?

There are two facets of the NABP licensure that you'll need to complete. First, you must take the preliminary examinations that lead to the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) credential. The NAPLEX will test you on healthcare safety, pharmacy practice and patient outcomes from drugs. Successful passage is needed because this test is used as a measuring tool by the board to ensure you're ready to safely prescribe medicine to patients.

The next step is passage of the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE) examination. The MPJE reviews your knowledge of the legal aspects of the pharmaceutical industry and is required by most states. Some states have their own version of this test. The MPJE will test your knowledge of federal and state regulations relating to pharmacy, as well as your understanding of the legal responsibilities of a pharmacist.

Finally, you'll need to document your hours worked at a pharmacy. These hours may be earned through a school internship or by on-the-job training under a pharmacist. Other requirements include a background check and a minimum age requirement. You'll need to check with your state for additional requirements.

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