A person shall not engage in the practice of pharmacy in Iowa without a current and valid pharmacist license. Requirements and fees for original Iowa licensure depend on the method of such licensure: examination, score transfer, license transfer (reciprocity), and foreign pharmacy graduate certification.

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Licensure by Examination

To apply for an Iowa pharmacist license by examination, an applicant must: 

  1. Submit a License by Examination application to the Iowa Board of Pharmacy, including all required documentation and nonrefundable fees (unless eligible for fee waiver as provided on the application).
  2. Complete and return to the Board of Pharmacy the fingerprint packet and signed waiver (which will be sent to the applicant upon receipt of the License by Examination application) for facilitation of the required criminal history background check.
  3. Submit an application to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) for the required licensure exams (NAPLEX and MPJE-Iowa Edition), including any fee required by NABP.

Licensure by Examination Requirements

The licensure exam consists of two components: North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE). To be eligible for a license by examination, the candidate must pass both components within a period of one year beginning with the date the candidate passed an initial component. A candidate may request waiver or variance from this deadline pursuant to the procedures and requirements of 657—Chapter 34.

Step 1: Licensure by Examination Application

Submit completed Licensure by Examination application to the Iowa Board of Pharmacy.

Step 2: Criminal History Background Check

Upon receipt of a completed Licensure by Examination application, the Board of Pharmacy will send the applicant a fingerprint packet and waiver form. The applicant must return the completed fingerprint packet and signed waiver to the Board of Pharmacy for facilitation of a criminal history background check. The application requirements are not considered complete until the Board receives the completed fingerprint packet and signed waiver form.  

Step 3: Apply to NABP for NAPLEX® and MPJE-Iowa Edition

The Iowa Board of Pharmacy engages NABP to administer the required licensure examinations. Each applicant must apply with NABP to take NAPLEX and MPJE-Iowa Edition. Applicants must pass both exams within one year of passing an initial component. 

Step 4: Certification of Pharmacy Education

Each applicant must be a graduate from a college/school of Pharmacy accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) or obtain a Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination Committee (FPGEC) Certification. NABP requires, as a condition for exam eligibility, documentation of such graduation (U.S. graduates, submitted by the college of pharmacy directly to NABP) or FPGEC Certification (foreign pharmacy graduates). 

Step 5: Certification of Internship Hours

Applicants who graduated from an ACPE-accredited college of pharmacy are deemed to have completed the Board’s requirement to complete 1,500 hours of internship. Applicants who graduated from a pharmacy school or college outside the United States must submit (with their Pharmacist License by Examination application) documentation of their completion of 1,500 internship hours in the United States. 

The Iowa Board of Pharmacy will accept a NAPLEX score taken in another state and transferred to Iowa through NABP. To be eligible for Score Transfer, you must transfer your score to the Iowa Board within 89 days following your exam date. Applicants who do not transfer their NAPLEX score within 89 days will need to apply for licensure by license transfer/reciprocity through NABP. Please note: If you submit the wrong application, application fees are non-refundable administrative fees. Please call the Iowa Board of Pharmacy if you are unsure of which application to submit.

Licensure By Score Transfer Requirements

Step 1: Licensure by Score Transfer Application

Submit completed Licensure by Score Transfer application to the Iowa Board of Pharmacy.

Step 2: Criminal History Background Check

Upon receipt of a completed License by Score Transfer application, the Board will send the applicant a fingerprint packet and waiver form. The applicant must return the completed fingerprint packet and signed waiver to the Board of Pharmacy for facilitation of a criminal history background check. The application requirements are not considered complete until the Board receives the completed fingerprint packet and signed waiver form.

Step 3: Apply to NABP for NAPLEX score transfer and MPJE-Iowa Edition

For a passing NAPLEX score to be transferred to the Iowa Board of Pharmacy, an applicant must request the NAPLEX score transfer from NABP when registering for the exam or within the 89 days following the exam date. Applicants must successfully complete both examinations within one year of passing an initial component.

Step 4: Certification of Pharmacy Education

Each applicant must be a graduate from a college/school of Pharmacy accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) or obtain a Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination Committee (FPGEC) Certification.  NABP requires, as a condition for exam eligibility, documentation of such graduation (U.S. graduates, submitted by the college of pharmacy directly to NABP) or FPGEC Certification (foreign pharmacy graduates).

Step 5: Certification of Internship Hours

Applicants who graduated from an ACPE-accredited college of pharmacy are deemed to have completed the Board’s requirement to complete 1,500 hours of internship. Applicants who graduated from a pharmacy school or college outside the United States must submit (with their License by Score Transfer application) documentation of their completion of 1,500 internship hours in the United States.

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Licensure by License Transfer (Reciprocity)

The Board of Pharmacy will accept the transfer of a license to practice pharmacy from most states via the NABP Electronic Licensure Transfer Program ® (e-LTPTM). The Board allows a pharmacist to transfer based on any license that is current and in good standing in another state. 

The fee to the Iowa Board for license transfer is $315, which includes the administration fee of $90, the biennial license fee of $180, and the criminal history background check processing fee of $45. An optional, three-month temporary pharmacist license may be requested, under certain conditions, for an additional fee of $20.

Licensure By License Transfer (Reciprocity) Requirements

An applicant for licensure transfer must be a pharmacist licensed in a state or territory of the United States with which Iowa has a reciprocal agreement, and the license by examination must be in good standing at the time of the application. All candidates must take and pass the MPJE, Iowa Edition. Any candidate who fails to pass the examination is eligible for reexamination.

Step 1: NABP Application for Licensure Transfer

Individuals interested in transferring their pharmacist license to Iowa must complete an NABP Application for Licensure Transfer. The online application is available on NABP’s website by selecting the "PROGRAMS" section and “Licensure Transfer.” An applicant for licensure transfer must be a pharmacist licensed in a state or territory of the United States with which Iowa has a reciprocal agreement, and the license must be in good standing at the time of the application. All candidates must take and pass the MPJE, Iowa Edition.  An application for licensure transfer is valid for 12 months following the date of issuance by NABP. A candidate for licensure transfer must successfully complete the MPJE examination and background check process within that one-year period. NABP will not grant extension to the licensure by license transfer application. NABP will submit the electronic application to the Iowa Board of Pharmacy.

Step 2: Iowa Board of Pharmacy Application for Licensure by License Transfer 

Submit the Board's online Licensure by License Transfer Application.

Step 3: Criminal History Background Check

The applicant will receive a criminal history background check packet/fingerprint card once the application and payment is received. The applicant must complete and pass the criminal history background check. 

Step 4: MPJE, Iowa Edition

The applicant must register with NABP to take the MPJE, Iowa Edition. The applicant must successfully pass the MPJE, Iowa Edition.

Step 5, if applicable: Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination Committee Certificate

Foreign pharmacy graduates must successfully pass NABP's Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Exam (FPGEE), the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and the Test of Spoken English (TSE), and provide a copy of their Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination Committee certificate to our office.

Step 6 (optional): Temporary License to Practice Pharmacy

Iowa Code allows an applicant for pharmacist license by licensure transfer to request a temporary license to practice pharmacy while they await to take the MPJE, Iowa Edition. Please note, all required elements of the applications, including the submission of nonrefundable fees and receipt of the results of the criminal history background check, must be completed prior to the issuance of a temporary pharmacist license.

A temporary license, once issued, is valid for three (3) months. If, at the end of the 3-month temporary license period, you have not taken and passed the MPJE, Iowa Edition, you may apply to renew the Temporary Pharmacist License by License Transfer by completing and submitting the renewal application and paying the required $20 renewal fee for an additional three months. 

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Reexamination Fees

A candidate who fails to pass the NAPLEX® once will be allowed to schedule a time to retake the examination no less than 45 days following administration of the failed exam. A candidate who fails to pass the MPJE®, Iowa Edition, once shall be allowed to schedule a time to retake the examination no less than 30 days following administration of the failed examination. Candidates who are unsuccessful in passing either component after two attempts shall not be permitted to sit for that component again until the Board has approved the candidate's written application. Determination of a candidate's eligibility to take an examination more than two times shall be at the discretion of the board. Those candidates are encouraged to obtain additional training prior to reapplication and retesting.

An applicant for reexamination must file an application on forms provided by the Board. A processing fee of $36 each will be charged to take the NAPLEX® or MPJE®, Iowa Edition, payable to the Board. In addition, candidates will be required to complete the appropriate NAPLEX® or MPJE® examination registration bulletin.

An applicant for reexamination may apply for the NAPLEX and/or MPJE on NABP's website using a credit card payment fee process.

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Affidavit of Non-College Sponsored Program

Notarized affidavits of experience in non-college-sponsored programs must be filed with the Board office after the successful completion of the internship. These affidavits shall certify only the number of hours and dates of training obtained outside a college-based clinical program. Credit will not be given for internship experience obtained prior to the individual’s registration as a pharmacist-intern. Please review 657 IAC 4.3 (155A) regarding additional intern hour credit.

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Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Information

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that reasonable accommodations be provided to qualified individuals with disabilities. This law defines disabilities as physical or mental impairments that substantially limit one or more of a person's major life activities (e.g., walking, hearing, speaking, seeing, reading, or writing).

Testing accommodations must be requested through NABP. To request accommodations pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, download and complete the Request for Testing Accommodations form on the NABP website.

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Foreign Graduates

Provisions of Iowa law allow foreign pharmacy graduates who have demonstrated an equivalency of education with U.S. pharmacy standards to sit for our licensing exams (NAPLEX & MPJE) to become licensed in Iowa. Equivalency standards, exams, and certifications are processed through the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination Committee (FPGEC).

To demonstrate education equivalency, a foreign pharmacy graduate applicant must take and pass the FPGEC’s Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Examination (FPGEE).

To demonstrate proficiency in basic English language skills, a foreign pharmacy graduate applicant must take and pass the FPGEC’s Internet Based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT).

Upon successful completion of the FPGEE and TOEFL iBT, a foreign pharmacy graduate application will receive Certification from FPGEC. Upon receipt of FPGEC Certification, a foreign pharmacy graduate applicant is eligible to sit for Iowa’s licensure exams. 

While citizenship is not a requirement for licensure, a foreign pharmacy graduate applicant must provide a valid social security number or individual tax identification number (ITIN). If an applicant is using ITIN, the applicant must also provide acceptable proof of lawful presence.

Foreign pharmacy graduates who are candidates for licensure in Iowa will be required to obtain a minimum of 1,500 hours of internship in one or more board-licensed pharmacies. Applicants must register with the Board. Internship credit will not be granted until the candidate has been issued an intern registration. Applications for registration must be accompanied by their FPGEC.

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Pharmacist License Renewal

License renewal is the licensee's responsibility. As a courtesy, the board office sends a license renewal notice to each licensee at least 60 days prior to license expiration, however the option to renew will not be available more than 60 days prior to your renewal date. The renewal notice is sent via email to the licensee’s last known email address. Failure of the licensee to receive the notice does not relieve the licensee of responsibility for renewing that license prior to its expiration.  A license can be renewed online or by paper application.

A license to practice pharmacy shall expire on the second thirtieth day of June following the date of issuance of the license. A new pharmacist license issued between April 1 and June 29 will expire on the third thirtieth day of June following the date of issuance. The license renewal form shall be issued upon payment of a $180 fee.

Failure to renew the license before July 1 following expiration shall require a renewal fee of $360. Failure to renew the license before August 1 following expiration shall require a renewal fee of $450. Failure to renew the license before September 1 following expiration shall require a renewal fee of $540. Failure to renew the license before October 1 following expiration may require an appearance before the Board and shall require a renewal fee of $630. The provisions of Iowa Code section 147.11 shall apply to a license that is not renewed within five months of the expiration date. 

If a license is not renewed before its expiration date, the license is delinquent and the licensee may not practice pharmacy in the state of Iowa until the licensee reactivates the delinquent license. A pharmacist who continues to practice pharmacy in Iowa without a current license may be subject to disciplinary sanctions.

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Pharmacist License Reactivation

A pharmacist whose Iowa pharmacist license has lapsed due to non-renewal and who wishes to reactivate their license should review 657 IAC 2.13(2) to determine the appropriate method for reactivation. 

An inactive pharmacist who has been actively practicing pharmacy during the last five years in any state or states which required continuing education during that five-year period shall submit proof of continued licensure in good standing in the state or states of such practice must submit the following:

  • The paper pharmacist license renewal application
  • A check or money order for $630 made payable to the Iowa Board of Pharmacy (Do not send cash)
  • Proof that you have met the CE requirements of your active license(s)
  • Verification of an active license in good standing

An inactive pharmacist who meets one of the following criteria is encouraged to contact Board staff to evaluate the requirements for reactivation:

  • Has been actively practicing pharmacy during the last five years in a state which does not require continuing education;
  • Has not been actively practicing pharmacy during the past five years, and whose license has been inactive for not more than five years; or
  • Has not been actively practicing pharmacy for more than five years 

All applicants seeking reactivation are required to complete a criminal history background check.  The applicant will receive a criminal history background check packet/fingerprint card once the application and payment is received. The applicant must complete and pass the criminal history background check.

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Continuing Education

The Iowa Board of Pharmacy requires 30 contact hours of pharmacist continuing education (CPE) for every two-year renewal period. New pharmacists obtaining license by examination in Iowa shall be exempt from continuing education requirements for their first license renewal.

“Renewal period” means the 27-month period commencing April 1 prior to the previous license expiration and ending June 30, the date of current license expiration.

Continuing pharmacy education (CPE) activities that carry the seal of the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) accredited provider will automatically qualify for Iowa pharmacist CPE credit. At least 15 hours of the required 30 hours of pharmacist CPE shall be in ACPE-accredited activities dealing with drug therapy topics. The last two digits of the universal activity number will be 01 or 02.

ACPE-accredited activity numbers with the letter L refer to live courses, H refers to home study or other mediated courses, and C refers to courses combining live and home study or mediated components. The final two numeric characters in the activity number identify the primary program topics: 01 = drug therapy/disease state management, 02 = AIDS therapy; 03 = law (related to pharmacy practice), 04 = general pharmacy, and 05 = patient safety. ACPE-accredited activity numbers ending in 01 or 02 qualify for drug therapy. A final character "P" designates the target audience is licensed pharmacists and a final character "T" indicates the activity is intended for pharmacy technicians. A pharmacist may use only pharmacist (P) courses to fulfill the continuing education requirements.

Pharmacists are also required to obtain two contact hours of CPE in pharmacy law. Law CPE must be from ACPE-accredited provider activities. The universal activity number for a pharmacy law activity will end in 03.

Two contact hours of CPE dealing with patient or medication safety are also required for pharmacist license renewal. These hours may be obtained from ACPE-accredited providers (universal activity numbers ending in 05) or from non-ACPE provider activities pursuant to subrule 2.12(2), paragraph "b".

Up to 13 CPE hours may be obtained through completion of activities provided by an accredited CME or other health professions provider if the activity content directly relates to the pharmacist's professional practice. CPE obtained via accredited healthcare providers other than ACPE must document and report CPE via a continuing professional development portfolio pursuant to rule 657-2.17(272C), CPE offered by a non-accredited provider will not be accepted toward fulfilling pharmacist CPE requirements.

A pharmacist currently enrolled in health-related graduate studies may apply for exemption from continuing education requirements during the period of that enrollment. Exemption may be prorated based on the period of enrollment and the license renewal period. Applications for exemption from CPE requirements should be completed as soon as possible following enrollment in the graduate program. Applications for exemption submitted with license renewal applications may delay the renewal processes beyond license expiration.

Petition for Credit for Health-Related Learning

The Iowa Board of Pharmacy may, in individual cases, grant credit from Iowa continuing education (CE) requirements to pharmacists who are continuing their formal education in a health-related graduate programs. Graduate program enrollment encompassing only a portion of a renewal period will not exempt the pharmacist from the CE requirement for the full renewal period, but the requirement may be reduced commensurate with the period of enrollment.

To request credit, submit a completed petition form and any additional documentation that you wish for the Board to consider. Petitions received at least three weeks in advance of a scheduled Board meeting will be placed on the agenda for consideration at that meeting. Petitions received less than three weeks in advance of a scheduled Board meeting will not be placed on the agenda for consideration until the following meeting

  1. Complete and submit the Petition for Credit for Health-Related Learning.
  2. The application must be submitted to the Iowa Board of Pharmacy prior to expiration of your current license to practice pharmacy.  It is recommended that the application be submitted as soon as possible following enrollment in the graduate program or commencement of the pharmacy residency program.
  3. Incomplete applications will not be considered. 
  4. Attach documentation of enrollment in the program/residency that provides a description of the program/residency.

Mandatory Reporter Training

Mandatory Reporter Training - House File 731 amends requirements

As of July 1, 2019, a pharmacist who qualifies as a mandatory reporter under Iowa Code section 232.69 or 235B.16 for child abuse or dependent adult abuse is required to complete training provided by the Iowa Department of Human Services. A minimum of two hours training (for each type of reporting the pharmacist qualifies for) is required within six months of initial employment or self-employment and additional training of at least one hour is required every three years. These amended requirements are a result of 2019 Iowa Acts, House File 731. The Department of Human Services has developed training programs for both child abuse and dependent adult abuse reporters and be accessed by clicking this link.

More information about the DHS training programs can be found here

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Duplicate Wall License

Each pharmacist, during any period the pharmacist is working in a pharmacy, shall display an original license certificate (wall license) to practice pharmacy in a position visible to the public. A current license renewal certificate, which may be a photocopy of an original renewal certificate, shall be displayed with the original license. Additional original license certificates may be obtained from the Board for a prepaid fee of $20 each.

To request an additional original license certificate (wall license), please provide your full legal name (if your name has changed since initial licensure provide a copy of the legal name change document), full mailing address, license number, and enclose $20 check or money order (do not send cash) for each license ordered, and mail to:

Iowa Board of Pharmacy
6200 Park Ave, Suite 100
Des Moines, IA 50321

Additional original license renewal certificates may be obtained from the Board office at no additional charge.

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Notifications to the Board

Individuals are required to report to the Board, within ten days, a change of name, address, or pharmacy employment.

Changes to your address, email address, phone number, and employment may be made through your online profile.

Name changes can be made using the Individual Licensee/Registrant Online Notification of Name Change form. To change your name you must attach a copy of the legal name change document (name change petition, marriage certificate, divorce decree, etc.)

Criminal Conviction or Disciplinary Action Notifications

A licensee who has been convicted of, or entered a plea of guilty, nolo contendere, or no contest to, a crime, other than a minor traffic offense, shall report such conviction or plea to the board within 30 days of adjudication.

A licensee who has been the subject of disciplinary action in another state, to include but not be limited to citations, reprimands, fines, license restrictions, probation, or license surrender, suspension, or revocation, shall report such action to the board within 30 days of adjudication.

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Preceptor

  1. A preceptor shall be a licensed pharmacist in good standing with the licensing authority in the state in which the person is practicing pharmacy.
  2. A preceptor may supervise no more than two pharmacist-interns concurrently.
  3. A preceptor shall be responsible for all functions performed by a pharmacist-intern.

Iowa does not register preceptors.

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Applications and Forms

Online Applications

Paper Applications

Forms

 

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