With over 50 million prescriptions for medicines dispensed each year, pharmacy is an integral part of New Zealand's health system. Careers in pharmacy in New Zealand are varied. You could work in one of the 900 community pharmacies found in malls, cities and rural towns throughout the country. As well as this, all major hospitals and many smaller hospitals have pharmacy departments. 

1. Registration

Pharmacists or intern pharmacists in New Zealand are required by law to be registered by the Pharmacy Council of New Zealand and to hold a current Annual Practising Certificate.
Check out our flow chart and see below for more information on the registration process.

Pharmacists registered in Australia

If you are registered in Australia and are of good standing, you are entitled to seek registration in New Zealand under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act. You are not required to sit registration or English examinations.
To start the registration process, you should contact the Registrations Officer at the Pharmacy Council of NZ. Please see the Pharmacy Council’s website for contact details, as well as further application information.
Once your application has been processed, you will be issued with a conditional Annual Practising Certificate. This allows you to practise in New Zealand under supervision. You are required to complete four weeks’ supervised practise. You will then be interviewed by a practising pharmacist on law and ethics in order to establish if you have adapted to New Zealand pharmacy practice – this is not a test of clinical knowledge, but rather it focuses on ethical and pharmacy practice issues, legislation and cultural competence.

Pharmacists registered in Canada/Ireland/Northern Ireland/UK/USA

You can apply for registration under the Recognised Equivalent Qualification Route (REQR). However, this option is only open to you if you completed your pharmacy degree or other approved programme in these countries. If you are registered in one of these countries, but did not get your qualification there, you are not eligible for registration under the REQR process. You can, however, apply under the Non-REQR process. See the Pharmacy Council's flow chart for more information.

REQR process

A practising pharmacist, who is of good standing, from one of the above countries can apply to sit the Competency Assessment of Overseas Pharmacists (CAOP) exam. Once you have passed this exam (you are allowed two attempts), you must undertake a period of supervised practice before you can register as a pharmacist in New Zealand. For more information, see the Pharmacy Council’s website.
If you are from Canada or the USA, you will also be required to complete the “Revisit the Workplace Programme”, which is offered by the New Zealand College of Pharmacists.
You will also have to meet the English language requirements

Pharmacists from other countries – non-REQR process

You will have to apply for registration under the Non-Recognised Equivalent Qualification Route (Non-REQR). All the steps you need to take are carefully outlined on the Pharmacy Council’s website. Firstly, you will need to submit all the required documentation for initial consideration. If this documentation is accepted, you will sit a screening exam. You can sit this exam as many times as you want until you pass. Once you pass this exam, you have two years to complete the registration process.
To complete this process, you must find a placement for the period of your intern training and enrol in an Intern Training Programme. At this time, you will be issued an Intern Annual Practising Certificate.
You must complete your Intern Training, Law and Ethics exam and attend an Assessment Centre. Finally, the Assessment Board will assess whether you are competent. If you pass this assessment, you will be issued a full Annual Practising Certificate.

2. Job offer

After you have gained registration with the Pharmacy Council, you can work independently in New Zealand. You will find jobs listed on the national health job website.

3. Work visa

To be eligible to work in New Zealand, you will need a work visa. You can apply for work visas from Immigration New Zealand. If you are an Australian national, you do not need to apply for a work visa.  
Got a question? Check out our forum to see if your question has already been answered or contact us directly.


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