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Will the government remove hurdles for foreign pharmacists to practice in the US?

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2024 | Pharmacists And Pharmacies |

The process of hiring pharmacists is an important task for healthcare institutions seeking to maintain the highest standards of patient care and safety. When it comes to hiring, employers must carefully consider the qualifications of candidates, which vary significantly depending on their training background.

Unfortunately, there are often not enough candidates to fill open positions. In an attempt to provide additional, qualified options to fill these positions, the American Hospitals Association (AHA) has asked the Office of Foreign Labor Certification to expand the Schedule A Shortage Occupation List to include physicians and pharmacists. The list currently includes nurses and physical therapists. If successful, the move would ease the process for facilities to hire international workers including allowing sponsored work vias instead of permanent labor certifications.

How is the hiring process different for those trained at foreign institutions?

For pharmacists trained at foreign institutions, the hiring process involves additional layers of verification and assessment. These can include:

  • Verification of the foreign degree’s equivalency to U.S. standards through the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination Committee (FPGEC) Certification
  • Passing the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) if applicable
  • Completion of the NAPLEX and Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE), or other state-required exams

Employers must recognize the legal implications when hiring pharmacists with different training backgrounds. Compliance with federal and state regulations is non-negotiable, ensuring that all pharmacists, regardless of their training origin, meet the same practice standards. As such, foreign trained pharmacists are wise to review these requirements before they begin the application process.

What else should foreign pharmacists know about the hiring process?

State requirements can also apply. In New York, the foreign educated pharmacists must receive an intern permit prior and complete 2,080 hours of internship.

Whether trained domestically or at a foreign institution, the licensing process is complex. It is important to move forward carefully and make sure to complete all requirements to better ensure a smooth transition into your chosen profession.

Attorney John Rivas is responsible for this communication.

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