Additional State Pharmacy Exams

Other than the NAPLEX and MPJE, individual states may require additional examinations for licensure by their boards. Pharmacy schools will prepare one for these additional exams as well.

While most states have deemed that examination via the NAPLEX and MPJE is sufficient for licensure, some require additional examinations. Presumably, these states have additional testing requirements for special situations created by their state laws that are not reflected in the other examinations. Some have instituted additional examinations that test one’s practical skills as a future pharmacist.

While the NAPLEX and MPJE can assess one’s knowledge of pharmacy and of pharmacy law, neither has the ability to assess one’s practical skills. Neither examination contains a component in which an examinee is asked to perform a task similar to one that they would be asked to perform in the routine course of work as a pharmacist.

The states and other jurisdictions that do not require the MPJE – Arkansas, California, Guam, Puerto Rico, Virginia, and the Virgin Islands – may have specific requirements particular to their jurisdictions. Without another form of examination, these states and other jurisdictions would have no means by which to assess an individual’s knowledge of pharmacy law.

Arkansas and California each have their own state jurisprudence examination that is required of those seeking licensure in those states: the Arkansas Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam and the California Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam, respectively. Virginia has the Virginia Federal and State Drug Law Examination. Information for licensing outside of the United States can be obtained by contacting the board of pharmacy in the desired jurisdiction directly.

New York State requires a written and oral compounding exam in order to become a licensed pharmacist. This exam is an additional requirement for licensure beyond taking the NAPLEX and MPJE. The written portion of the exam assesses the test taker’s ability to recognize errors and omissions as well as to differentiate between drugs that look alike or whose names sound alike. The other component of the exam, sometimes referred to as the “wet lab,” assesses test takers’ ability to complete an oral dosage form, a topical dosage form, and a parenteral dosage form. As an alternative to this exam, one may present a certificate detailing the completion of the pharmacy practice residency competencies.

North Carolina and Georgia also have practical exams that are required for licensure. The purpose of the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy Written Practical Examination is to ensure that individuals demonstrate minimal proficiency as a pharmacist. The exam assesses skills that should have been mastered during the internship component of one’s education. The Georgia Practical consists of several parts; the applicant must pass each section with a score of 60% or better and have an overall average of 75%.

For those seeking licensure in North Dakota, a practical exam is also required. The North Dakota Practical Examination consists of:

  • A patient scenario with a specific disease and a medication profile. The licensure candidate is asked to review the patient profile and medication, to make suggestions regarding potential modifications to the patient’s medications, and to compound one prescription for the patient.
  • An Errors and Omissions Examination consisting of 20 questions. The licensure candidate is asked to identify whether there are errors or omissions on prescription bottle labels.
  • An Oral Examination, during which three or four candidates applying for licensure are tested simultaneously by two Board Members who ask one or two questions of each candidate.

While most states require the NAPLEX and the MPJE, there are a few special cases that require a state law exam instead of the MPJE or that require additional examinations beyond the NAPLEX and MPJE.

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