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:

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
  • hold certificates of good standing in all jurisdictions where you've been registered at any time in the past 10 years
Please note: You are not eligible for the Competency Stream if you trained outside of the UK and registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council via the EU treaty / directive.

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 two 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

  • Initial eligibility check: We start assessing applications within 8 weeks of receiving them. The processing time can take longer than 8 weeks if your application is incomplete.
  • Exam dates: See Exam dates and centres once you know you're eligible to sit the exam.

If you leave out any documents or provide incorrect information when you apply, the eligibility check will take longer.

Cost

  • Eligibility check: AU$1310
  • Exam registration: AU$1910

Documents

This section describes what documents you will need at each step of the process including:

To start your Eligibiliy Check, head to the Candidate Portal.

Eligibility check documents

When you apply for an eligibility check, you need to include your:

Passport

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.

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
  • evidence of completing an approved adjudication process in Canada, Ireland, the UK or the USA.

Combine files into one file.

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 be fully registered as a pharmacist in Canada, Ireland, the UK or the USA.

To show this, arrange for the registering authority to send us a scan of:

  • your Certificate of Current Professional Status OR
  • Certificate of Good Standing from each professional body you have been registered with during the past 10 years.

Ask the registering authority to email these directly to us at assessments@pharmacycouncil.org.au.

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 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 experience, 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.

Get translations

Translate any non-English documents into English. We will not accept an extract translation of the document. It must be a translation of the full document.

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.

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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Exam documents

Registering for the exam

Once you've passed the eligibility check you can register for the CAOP exam. You'll need to upload a scan of a recent, passport-sized photo.

Passport-sized photograph requirements

Your photo must be:

  • passport sized (35 to 40mm wide and 45 to 50mm high)
  • a full headshot (showing your full head and your shoulders)
  • in colour
  • taken within the last 6 months
  • high quality.

The uploaded photo:

  • cannot be a scan of your full passport
  • cannot be a cropped scan of the photo from your passport.

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

Special accommodation

If you have a disability or health-related needs, you may request extra support or an adjustment on the day of the exam. We call this type of support special accommodation.

Examples of special accommodation requests might include:

  • more time to complete the exam
  • being able to leave the exam room for breaks
  • more leg room at your exam desk if you're injured

You'll need to provide evidence to justify your request.

Asking for special accommodation

If you've asked for special accommodation, you'll need a scan of a medical certificate from a recognised healthcare worker. This certificate must include:

  • a date of issue that's no more than 12 months before the exam date
  • your name and date of birth
  • the recognised healthcare worker's name, profession and contact details
  • the specific help you're seeking on the day of the exam

For details on what we require when you apply, see our Special Accommodation Policy.

Sitting the exam

Identification (ID) documents

Exam in a test centre

You'll need to show 2 forms of identification (ID).

At least one must be an acceptable form of primary ID from the list below.

OnVUE online proctored exam

You'll need to show 1 form of ID.

Your ID must be valid (unexpired) and also be original, not a photocopy or digital ID.

The name on both forms of your ID must match the name you used to register for your exam. Email us before the exam if your name on any ID form is different to the one you used to register.

Usually, ID documents would be issued by the country where you're sitting the exam. If you do not have an acceptable primary ID from that country, use an international travel passport from your country of citizenship as your primary ID.

If you have an issue with any of your ID documents, email us on info@pharmacycouncil.org.au at least 3 business days before the exam to request a pre-approval.

ID Type

Requirements

Primary ID

This ID document must be issued by your government and contain:

  • your full name
  • your date of birth (DOB)
  • a recognisable photograph
  • your signature.

Types of acceptable primary ID include:

  • international passport
  • government-issued national identity card (with a photo)
  • government-issued citizenship card (with a photo)
  • Australian or New Zealand driver’s licence.

IDs that we cannot accept for online proctored exams:

  • Renewal forms with expired ID’s
  • Government-issued name change documents with Government ID
  • Photocopy or digital ID

Secondary ID

(Test centre candidates only)

This ID document must either contain:

  • your name and signature, OR
  • your name and a recognisable photo.

Types of acceptable secondary ID include:

  • debit (ATM) card
  • credit card
  • any document on the primary ID list.

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Process

This section describes what you will need to do at each step of the process.
 

Step 1

Apply for eligibility check

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 the country where you completed your degree
  • hold certificates of good standing in all jurisdictions where you've been registered at any time in the last 10 years
  • now want to register as a pharmacist in Australia.

If any of these conditions are not true for you, this pathway does not apply to you. See Skills Assessments page.

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.

You'll also need to ask your registering authority to send scans of your registration documents directly to us.

Get help with your application if you want to

Anyone can help you fill out forms or give you general help with your application.

But you may want us to correspond with another person, such as a migration agent or family member, instead of you.

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.

Please note that your nominated agent must use a different email address to yours.

You'll need to scan and upload the completed form in your application where it says 'If you use an agent'.

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

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When you apply

Sign in to our Candidate Portal

Create an account in our Candidate Portal using your name and address.

In the portal, you will:

  • set up a candidate profile
  • request an eligibility check.

Upload your documents

Make sure you have all the correct documents, and that they're correctly prepared.

Pay the fee online

We can accept payment by credit or debit card. Your card must be issued by a bank in your country of residence.

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After you apply

We'll email you to let you know when we've received your application.

Wait to hear from us again

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

If you leave out any documents or send us incorrect information, it will take us longer.

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.

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Step 2

Register for the CAOP Exam

Before you register

Check that you're eligible to register

To register for the exam, you must have received confirmation from us that you're eligible to sit the exam.

Choose where you'll sit the exam

You can choose to sit either:

You cannot change delivery mode after you've confirmed your appointment. Please see a comparison between test centre and online proctored exams for details.

Test centre exam
If you want to sit your exam in a test centre you can sit in any of the listed cities on the exams dates and centres page.

OnVUE online proctored exam
If you want to sit the online proctored exam via OnVUE you can sit it anywhere that has:

  • a reliable device with a webcam that meets the system requirements
  • a strong internet connection, AND
  • a private room where you will not be disturbed for the duration of the exam.

Candidates sitting the online proctored exam will also need a smart phone to verify their identification and to be contacted by the remote proctor in case of a technical issue.

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When you register

Check the date of your exam

Go to the Exam dates and centres page to find out where and when the next exam will be.

Make any special accommodation requests

You can request special accommodation during the registration process. You will be prompted to upload your supporting documents.

For example, if you need to, you can request to have a break. All breaks must be scheduled and pre-approved.

We'll review your request and your documents. We'll then email you the outcome of your request.

Register for your exam

Test centre exam

OnVUE online proctored exam

  1. Once registrations open, sign in to our Candidate Portal.
  2. Use the drop-down menu at the top of the Candidate Portal to go to My Dashboard.
  3. Go to Section 2: 'Register and Complete the CAOP Examination’, then click on 'Book an exam'.
  4. Upload a recent, passport-sized photograph.
  5. Select your preferred exam centre, date and time.
  6. Click 'Proceed to checkout'.
  7. Confirm your details.
  8. Agree to our policies.
  9. Review the exam booking summary page.
  10. Submit your order.
  1. Check system requirements for the online delivery platform OnVUE.
  2. Run the OnVUE system test prior to registering for the exam with the device you intend to use on the exam day.
  3. Once registrations open, sign in to our Candidate Portal.
  4. Use the drop-down menu at the top of the Candidate Portal to go to My Dashboard.
  5. Go to Section 2: 'Register and Complete the CAOP Examination’, then click on 'Book an exam'.
  6. Upload a recent, passport-sized photograph.
  7. Select “At a home or office”.
  8. Select your preferred date and time.
  9. Click 'Proceed to checkout'.
  10. Confirm your details.
  11. Agree to our policies.
  12. Review the exam booking summary page.
  13. Submit your order.

Learn more about the online proctored exam.

Our exam provider, Pearson VUE, will email you to confirm that they've temporarily reserved a seat for you. Paying your fee in the next step will secure your seat.

Pay the registration fee

Paying the fee secures your seat at the exam.

  1. Agree to our policies again.
  2. Click on 'Return to APC website'.
  3. Click 'Pay now'.
  4. Pay the registration fee online.
  5. Click 'Confirm payment'.

Please note:

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

We'll email you a receipt for your payment after we process the order.

Rescheduling your exam

Test centre exam

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

Online proctored exam

You can reschedule your exam up until 1 hour before your exam's scheduled time.

You cannot change delivery mode after you've confirmed your appointment. Please see a comparison between test centre and online proctored exams for details.

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After you register

Wait for your exam reminder

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

Read this email carefully. It will include:

  • your appointment details
  • FAQs
  • identification requirements
  • the check-in process on exam day
  • policies and procedures.

Prepare for the exam

We offer several resources that will help you prepare to sit the exam. These include:

Step 3

Sit the exam

Before you sit the exam

Check what to take to the exam centre

Reference books
The CAOP exam is 'restricted open-book'.  This means you can bring with you 1 copy of each of the approved reference books including any edition of:

  • Australian Medicines Handbook (AMH) – an evidence-based independent medicines reference book
  • Australian Pharmaceutical Formulary (APF) – an everyday guide to pharmacy practice
  • British National Formulary (BNF) – which includes treatment summaries for all drugs commonly prescribed in the UK

Your reference books must not contain any annotations, handwritten notes or loose additional notes.

However, you may highlight or flag parts of the text before the exam.

Test centre exam

Bring with you:

For details on what we require as ID, see Exam dates and places.

Pearson VUE will provide you with:

  • an online calculator
  • a whiteboard notebook
  • an erasable marker pen.

Do not bring with you:

  • a wristwatch
  • a mobile phone, tablet or any other electronic device
  • pens or pencils.

During the pandemic, you must bring and wear your own face mask while you’re at the test center and throughout your exam. Read the latest health & safety requirements at Pearson VUE-owned test centers.

Online proctored exam

Bring with you:

  • Mobile phone
  • ID documents
  • Calculator
  • Any item on the Comfort Aid list
  • A glass of water
  • Reference books.

For types of ID documents, see OnVUE information.

Pearson VUE will provide:

Do not bring with you:

  • a wristwatch
  • pens or pencils
  • stylus/stencil pens.

You cannot have blank sheets of paper or notebooks at your desk during the exam.

Familiarise yourself with the exam

Exam structure

You'll have 2 hours to answer 70 questions.

Of these, 62 are scored questions, and 8 are unscored.

An additional 15 mins is allowed to familiarise yourself with the exam tutorial, and 5 minutes at the end of the exam to complete a survey.

Exam content

The CAOP exam covers 5 content areas:

  • Develop a patient-centred, culturally responsive approach to education management.
  • Implement the medication management strategy or plan.
  • Monitor and evaluate medication management.
  • Compound medicines.
  • Promote health and well-being.

Exam scoring

The pass standard for the exam is set at a level that demonstrates competency. The pass standard also takes into account the performance of candidates in prior sittings. This analysis of results over previous years ensures fairness and equity over a period of time. The level of difficulty remains constant across time.

You will receive a results certificate indicating your outcome.

Learn more about what's in the exam in the CAOP Examination guide.

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Step 4

Wait to hear from us

Receive your results

We'll email you or your agent after your results are available. Expect this to be around 2 weeks after you sit the exam.

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

If you do not see your results in the Candidate Portal, email us on info@pharmacycouncil.org.au and provide your:

  • full name
  • 6-digit candidate reference number.

Each candidate receives a results certificate indicating their outcome.

We release all results as 'Pass' or 'Unsuccessful' only. We do not release the mark we calculated for your exam. The pass standard for the exam is set at a level that demonstrates competency. This is based on the performance of candidates in prior sittings and analysis of results over previous years.

Learn more about results in the CAOP Guide.

If you pass ...

Once we release the results, we'll email you a copy of your Skills Assessment outcome within 5 to 10 business days.

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

If you are unsuccessful ...

You can see how you performed on a scale that displays the level required for a successful outcome. You can find this information in your Candidate Portal.

You can register to sit the exam again during the next exam period. You may only sit the CAOP exam 2 times. If you are unsuccessful the second time, you'll need go through the Knowledge Stream process to receive your Skills Assessment outcome.

Rules regarding appeals against APC processes can be found in our Appeals Policy.

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Next steps

Once you have a Skills Assessment outcome you can:

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.

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