California Now Requires an EC
for Internship Application
Note: The requirement that both FPGEE and TOEFL must be
passed within a 2-year period to obtain the EC has been changed. There
is now no restriction on the time interval a candidate passes
California State Board of Pharmacy has recently changed its requirement
for application for pharmacy internship.
The old regulation allowed a candidate who had passed FPGEE and had obtained
a SSN to apply for a pharmacy intern card. The intern card entitles the
candidate to pharmacy internship in a retail pharmacy and an institutional
pharmacy. Passing TSE was not a requirement for application for the intern
The new regulation adopts the Equivalency Certificate (EC) issued by NABP to
the candidates who have passed both FPGEE and TSE within 2 years. Under the
new California pharmacy law, a candidate must have the EC when he or she
files the pharmacy internship application.
Those who do not have an EC do not qualify for internship application.
Only those who have passed both TSE and FPGEE within 2 years are given an EC
and thus become eligible for the intern card application in California.
Any candidate who fails to pass both TSE and FPGEE within 2 years will not
be able to obtain the EC. If a candidate who passes FPGEE first but fails
TSE during the 2=year period following FPGEE will not be able to get an EC.
FPGEE score is only maintained and good for 2 years. If a candidate passes
TSE in the 3rd year after passing FPGEE, he or she has to retake FPGEE and
pass it within 2 years of passing TSE in order to be entitled to an EC.
There is increasing evidence that TSE is much harder for Mandarin-speaaking
Chinese than FPGEE. For that reason, a candidate from Taiwan or China should
manage to pass TSE first before he or she tries to pass FPGEE.
The California's switch to EC requirement will bar 90% to 99% of candidates
who have passed FPGEE first from a successful application for an intern card
because they will have hard time to pass TSE within 2 years of passing FPGEE.
If they are not highly motivated and persistent, they will eventually give
up taking TSE and all of the subsequent steps that lead to a pharmacist
license in the U.S.
Simply put, a candidate from Taiwan or China must manage to pass both TSE
and FPGEE within a period of 2 years and must also have a SSN when he or she
applies for an intern card in California. This is a real initial challenge
to all of those who wish to work as a pharmacist in the U.S.
My advice to the pharmacists from Taiwan and China is that one must study
for TSE and FPGEE at the same time but try to pass TSE before FPGEE. TSE
costs much less and may be taken in Taiwan and China but FPGEE is only
administered in the U.S.