This pathway shows you how to apply for a Skills Assessment Outcome so that you can register and work as a pharmacist in Australia.

This process applies if:

  • you completed an approved pharmacy qualification, or been through an approved adjudication process, in Canada, Ireland, the UK or the USA
  • you're currently registered in one of those countries.

You'll need this Outcome issued to:

  • support a visa application with the Department of Home Affairs, or
  • apply for limited registration with the Pharmacy Board of Australia.

Overview

This pathway applies if you completed an approved* pharmacy qualification, or adjudication process, in either:

  • Canada
  • Ireland
  • United Kingdom (UK), OR
  • United States of America (USA)

*An approved qualification must be recognised by the pharmacy regulator in the country of qualification.

The qualification must also be the equivalent of either:

  • 4 years’ full-time academic study, if completed after 1 January 2006, OR
  • 3 years’ full-time academic study, if completed before 1 January 2006

Besides holding a completed degree, you must also be currently registered as a pharmacist in one of the countries listed above.

If any of the above points are not true for you, this process does not apply. See Skills assessments.

Skills Assessment structure

The process for requesting a Skills Assessment Outcome has 2 parts:

  1. passing the eligibility check
  2. passing the CAOP (Competency Assessment of Overseas Pharmacists) Examination

There is no expiry on the eligibility check.

Time frames

  • Eligibility check: 8 weeks. If you provide incorrect information when you apply, the process will take longer.
  • Exam dates: Find out more about exam dates and locations.

Cost

  • Eligibility check: AU$1310
  • Exam registration: AU$1950

Eligibility check documents

Get translations

Before you start, translate any non-English documents into English. It must be a translation of the full document.

We will not accept an extract translation of the document unless it is provided from an Australian Government Department, such as the Department of Home Affairs.

You must use a translator who is accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). We will not accept documents that have been translated by anyone else.

You will need to submit both original and English-translated documents.

When you apply for an Eligibility Check in the Candidate Portal, you will include the following:

Document checklist

Passport

Make sure the image is not cropped. It must include top and bottom pages.

If you do not have a current passport, you can complete your application with an alternative Australian or New Zealand identification document.

The only accepted alternatives include:

  • Australian / New Zealand Drivers Licence
  • Australian federal, state or territory government issued identity card
  • Australian government issued ImmiCard.

Official photo-bearing document

We require an official ID as proof of identity.

This must be an ID document issued by an overseas or Australian authority. It must include your photo.

Birth certificate

We require a birth certificate as proof of identity.

If you do not have a birth certificate you can provide a second photo-bearing document (see above).

Qualification certificate or letter of completion

You must include your qualification certificate or letter of completion if your certificate has not yet been issued.

You must provide an image of your original pharmacy qualification document. For example, a degree certificate. It must:

  • be for a pharmacy qualification
  • include details for the full degree (not a provisional or temporary certificate/letter)
  • include the issuing date

If you completed your degree in another country but are now registered in either Canada, Ireland, the UK or the USA you will still need to include scans of your degree certificate/s.

Academic transcript

The academic transcript issued by the education provider must:

  • include all pages in a single document
  • show all subjects/units and examination results for every semester of the program.

Evidence of registration

You must provide evidence that you're eligible to register as a pharmacist in the country you completed your qualification. Provide one of the following:

  • your initial or current registration document in the country where you graduated, OR
  • an endorsement letter, OR
  • an eligibility to commence letter.

To obtain this evidence, contact your pharmacy registration authority, not your university.

It must include the commencement and/or expiry date of the registration period.

If the document is to show ‘eligibility to commence the registration process’, it must refer to both you and your university by name.

Evidence of your pharmacist work experience (optional)

You do not need to have worked as a pharmacist to apply for an eligibility check.

However, if you request for us to comment on your work history to support your visa/migration application, we'll need to see evidence of your work experience.

We can only consider your work experience if you've worked:

  • as a fully registered retail or hospital pharmacist (not as an intern)
  • for more than 20 hours per week
  • for at least 12 months in the last 10 years.

In the portal, include your Work Experience Reference Templates combined with secondary evidence such as a payslip, income tax statement or Government issued letter.

You'll need to complete one template per employer.

Upload these as one single file

Resume or Curriculum Vitae (optional)

If you'd like us to assess your work history, you need to provide an up-to-date resume or curriculum vitae (CV).

It must include:

  • all periods of work undertaken as a registered pharmacist (with full/general registration)
  • employer's name of organisation, address and contact details
  • start and finish dates for all periods of work.

Agent authorisation form (optional)

If you want to nominate someone to communicate with us on your behalf, upload the original APC Agent Authorisation Form. Both you and your agent must sign the agent’s authority.

We will only communicate directly with one person. If you nominate an agent, we will communicate only with the agent.

Evidence of name change (optional)

Your name must appear the same way on all your documents.

If you have changed your name, you need to upload proof of any name change in the portal. If your name is spelt incorrectly in any of your documents, you will need to have them corrected by the organisation who originally issued them.

Documents that prove a change of name include:

  • a marriage or divorce certificate
  • a deed poll
  • change of name documents from an Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, or the relevant authority outside Australia
  • documents that show other formal names you've been known by.

Helpful resources

For more information on the criteria that your qualification needs to meet, see our Assessment Standards.

For specific details about the required documents, see our Skills Assessment Documents Policy.

You do not need to:

  • have any documents certified
  • show proof of English competency.

If you leave out any documents or provide incorrect information, the process will take longer than usual.

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Eligibility check process

The eligibility check is the first step in your journey to receiving a Skills Assessment Outcome and becoming a pharmacist in Australia.

Cost: AU$1310

Timeframe: 8 weeks

Step 1

Check that you are eligible to apply

Before you apply

Check that you're eligible to apply

You must:

  • have completed a pharmacy degree in Canada, Ireland, the UK or the USA
  • be currently registered as a pharmacist in one of the countries listed above
  • now want to register as a pharmacist in Australia.

If any of the information above is not true for you, this process does not apply to you. See Skills Assessments.

Step 2

Gather your documents

Gather your documents

You'll need to provide us with documents to:

  • show that you meet the eligibility criteria
  • support the claims you make in your application.

Get help with your application if you want to

You may want us to communicate with another person, such as a migration agent or family member, instead of you. This is not required - it is optional if you choose.

If you want to nominate someone else to work with us, download and fill in our Agent Authorisation form. Both you and your nominated agent must sign it.

Your nominated agent must use a different email address to yours.

You'll need upload the completed form in the Candidate Portal.

If you nominate someone else, we'll only talk to your authorised agent about your application.

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Step 3

Apply in the candidate portal

When you apply

We cannot guarantee that your application will be assessed in time to register for your preferred exam. It may help if you lodge your application at least 8 weeks prior the registration closing date.

  1. Sign in to our Candidate Portal
  2. Start your Eligibility Check
  3. Upload your documents
  4. Pay the fee online

Your card must be issued by a bank in your country of residence. If you have paymnt issues please contact us.

Step 4

Wait to hear from us

After you apply

It will take us about 8 weeks to complete your eligibility check.

If you provide the wrong documents or leave any out, the process will take longer than usual.

Send us more information if we ask

We may email you to tell you we need more information.

If we ask for more information, you have 6 months (180 days) to get this to us.

If we do not receive the correct information from you within 6 months, our system will close your application. If this happens, you'll need to re-apply and pay the fee again.

Receive your CAOP eligibility response

We'll tell you (or your agent) by email whether or not you can sit the CAOP exam.

Apply now

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The CAOP exam

The CAOP (Competency Assessment of Overseas Pharmacists) exam tests your knowledge, skills and ability to apply your knowledge. Passing it is a step in the process of limited registration as a pharmacist in Australia.

Duration of exam: 2 hours, 70 questions in total.

Cost: AU$1950 - Learn more about exam fees.

Eligibility: Ensure you are eligible to sit the exam by applying for an Eligibility Check.

Step 1

Dates and locations

Dates and locations

Exam dates

Registrations period

Results released

15 - 17 April 2024

4 December 2023 - 12 March 2024

30 April 2024

19 - 20 August 2024

7 May - 15 July 2024

3 September 2024

18 - 19 November 2024

10 September - 14 October 2024

3 December 2024

Register for your exam!

Testing environments

You can choose to sit the CAOP exam either:

  • in-person at a test centre, or
  • as an online proctored exam via OnVUE (e.g. in your home or office).

Test centres

You can sit our exams in the following cities.

Country

City

Australia

Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Townsville

New Zealand

Auckland and Wellington

Canada

Toronto

Ireland

Dublin

United Kingdom

London, Plymouth and Edinburgh

Philippines

Manila

Fiji

Suva

Seat availability

Seat availability varies between test centres. Test centres can reach full capacity or may not be available for certain sessions.

We recommend you finish registering before you arrange your travel.

Online proctored exam

Online proctored exams, through OnVUE, allow you to conveniently sit your exam remotely, at home or work or a suitable location while being monitored by an online proctor. All communication with the proctor is in English.

You can sit the online proctored exam anywhere that has:

  1. a reliable device with a webcam
  2. a strong and consistent internet connection, AND
  3. a room where you will not be disturbed for the duration of the exam.

Learn more about PearsonVUE's OnVUE exams..

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Find the right testing environment for you

Test centres and online proctored exams both have their advantages and unique requirements. Before registering, check which testing environment is right for you.

You cannot switch between test centre and OnVUE after you've confirmed your appointment.

Need help deciding? Ask yourself these questions.

Test centre exam

OnVUE online proctored exam

Availability

1 session per day

24 hours a day

Changes to booking

Changes to test centre appointments can only be made during the registration period.

Changes are subject to seat availability, and cannot be made after registrations close.

Changes to OnVUE appointments can be made up to 1 hour before your scheduled exam time.

This is subject to the availability of the session.

Identification Documents (ID)

2 IDs required – refer to your confirmation email

1 ID required – refer to your confirmation email

Bathroom breaks

Permitted

Not permitted
Your exam will be stopped if you leave the room at any stage

Items allowed on your desk

Calculator

Any item on the Comfort Aid list

You will be provided a whiteboard notebook and pen

Calculator

Any item on the Comfort Aid list

A glass of water

Your mobile phone (only in case you experience technical issues)

Online tools

Calculator

Calculator

Online whiteboard tool

Scratchpad (CAOP only)

Arrival time

45 min prior to the exam

30 min prior to the exam - no later than 15 min prior to the exam

Invigilator

Test Centre invigilators

Artificial intelligence, greeters, and online remote proctors

Support during the exam

Test Centre invigilators

Online chat tool with your online remote proctor

Technical issues

Technical issues are rare.

Technical issues are much more common in OnVUE exams than in test centres.

Step 2

Register for the CAOP exam

Registration

1. Check that you're eligible to register

To sit the exam, you must have:

  1. completed your Eligibility Check with us, AND
  2. received an email from us telling you that you are eligible to sit the CAOP exam.

Need some help? To determine the correct pathway for you, see I want to sit the CAOP or KAPS examination.

2. Register for your exam

Registrations open at 9am and close at 5pm AEDT/AEST. Check these times in your local time zone with a time zone converter. They close about one month before exam day.

We cannot accept any late registrations.

Some locations fill up fast, so we suggest booking your exam as soon as possible when registrations open. You can choose an alternative test centre if your preferred centre is full.

Include support for any special accommodation request

Every test-taker is different. It is important we provide equitable access to testing. If you'd like to ask for special accommodation, you'll need to select the option as part of the registration process. You will be prompted to upload your supporting documents.

We'll review your request and your documents. We'll then email you the outcome of your request within two business days. If your request is approved, we will direct you to Pearson VUE to arrange the request details.

Your appointment date and time may change to allow for your request.

Read more about special accommodation.

3. Upload a photo of yourself

You will be prompted to upload a headshot. It can be 'selfie'.

Your headshot must be:

  • a full headshot (showing your full head and your shoulders)
  • in colour
  • taken within the last 6 months
  • high quality.

If you usually cover your head for religious reasons, or you wear facial jewellery, your photo can include these items.

This photo is for your Skills Assessment Outcome.

4. Pay the registration fee

Your booking will be reserved for 72 hours and is ONLY confirmed when payment has been made. If payment is not received within 72 hours, your seat will be released. You must pay the fee by the registration closing date.

Please note:

  • We can only accept payment through Visa or Mastercard credit or debit cards.
  • Your credit card must be issued from a bank in your country of residence.

We'll send you a reminder email around 3 days before your exam.

Register for your exam!

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Step 3

Reschedule or cancel

Rescheduling

You can reschedule your exam in your Candidate Portal.

You can reschedule it to another date and time only during the registration period.

Cancellations

You can request a refund, however, it is subject to our approval. Read our refund policy carefully for further information.

You will either receive a full refund or a partial refund, depending on the timing of the cancellation, including either:

  • full refunds up to 5 days prior to the exam session, OR
  • partial refunds from 5 days prior to the exam session and within 4 weeks after the exam session.

See partial refund amounts.

You will need to cancel your exam in your Candidate Portal.

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Step 4

Study and prepare for the exam

Prepare for exam day

Familiarise yourself with the exam and be prepared for the day of your exam.

  1. Study using our study guide and sample paper.
  2. Prepare your identification documents, and what you are allowed to bring.

Step 5

Resulting and re-sitting

Results

We'll email you when your results are available. Refer to exam dates above for when they will be released.

You'll be able to view and download your results from the Candidate Portal.

We release all results as 'Pass' or 'Unsuccessful' only. We do not release any scores.

Advice for unsuccessful candidates

Sometimes candidates need more than one attempt to pass the CAOP Exam. Don't give up! Talk to your friends, colleagues and family and work out how best to prepare for the next exam.

APC provides a scale that displays the level required for a successful outcome. You can find this information in your Candidate Portal.

Re-sitting the exam

You can register to sit the exam again during the next exam period. When it opens register in Candidate Portal. You will need to pay the fee again when you register.

You have 2 attempts at the CAOP exam. If you are unsuccessful the second time, you'll need go through the Knowledge Stream process to receive your Skills Assessment outcome.

Some important information about your exam result

  • APC cannot comment on your performance nor provide feedback to candidates.
  • APC does not provide exam scores to candidates.
  • Following the finalisation of the results in our system, extensive checks are undertaken by our Senior Pharmacist and the Delivery Manager and are not subject to appeal.

Appeals process

APC offers an appeals process for matters other than the calculation of results. The process is to ensure no candidate is disadvantaged by matters outside their control. Please read about our Appeals Policy before sitting the exam. The policy tells you about the scope of an appeal. Learn more about our appeals process.

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Next steps

Skills Assessment Outcome

When you pass the CAOP exam, we'll email you a copy of your Skills Assessment Outcome within 10 business days of releasing results.

Once you have a Skills Assessment Outcome from us, you can use it to apply to the Department of Home Affairs to support a visa application.

Your outcome will be valid for 3 years from the date we issue it.

The Department of Home Affairs sets the validity period for your Skills Assessment outcome for visa applications. APC is unable to change the validity period.

If something significant changes after we issue your Skills Assessment outcome, you can ask us for an updated Skills Assessment.

Applying for limited registration

You will need to complete a period of supervised practice before receiving general registration. This period will be determined by PharmBA. You will need to:

  1. Identify and arrange your supervised practice setting.
  2. Submit PharmBA's required applications to them for approval.
  3. Wait for approval from PharmBA.
  4. Following approval, enrol in your supervised practice program and complete your supervised practice period to be able to apply for general registration as a pharmacist.

Finding a supervised practice setting

Some candidates contact professional organisations, family contacts, or extended networks to understand what opportunities exist at that time to find a supervised practice setting. Others may already have an offer to work in a pharmacy.

In any case, you must have your registration and arrangements approved by PharmBA before enrolling in and beginning supervised practice.

We suggest calling Ahpra to chat about your particular circumstances and goals.

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