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ECE and NABP: 20 Years of Cooperation

Learn how the ECE and NABP collaboration helps foreign-educated pharmacists.
March 27, 2024
8 Minute Read

Discover how the collaboration between the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE) facilitates the licensure journey for foreign-educated pharmacists in the United States, ensuring a streamlined process and thorough evaluation of educational credentials.

NABP blog post image with a pharmacy background

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) serves foreign-educated pharmacists by offering a path towards licensure as a pharmacist in the United States.  NABP’s Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination Committee (FPGEC) offers an examination to eligible candidates, and successful candidates may obtain FPGEC Certification.  All 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico require the FPGEC Certification for foreign-educated pharmacists to apply for a state license in pharmacy.
 

NABP & ECE


In 2004 NABP contacted ECE regarding the possibility of evaluating the educational credentials of foreign-educated candidates seeking licensure as pharmacists in the United States.  Prior to that, NABP had been handling evaluations internally.  Realizing the increasingly complicated and changing nature of foreign educational systems, the documentation challenges including falsification, and a growing backlog of cases, NABP sought the expertise of ECE after learning of ECE’s cooperative efforts with other professional licensing boards.
Key personnel from ECE traveled to NABP to meet with the executive director and staff of the FPGEC at their offices in Mount Pleasant, IL.  After determining that ECE was the right organization to entrust with the crucial process of collecting and evaluating the educational documents of candidates, a formal arrangement was made between ECE and NABP.  In the 20 years following the start of this collaboration, ECE has been the exclusive partner with NABP for preparing evaluation reports of foreign-educated individuals.

Working Together


The longstanding association between ECE and NABP is unique in its collaborative nature.  The FPGEC staff of NABP take a very active role in the evaluation process and in understanding the methodology and approach used in ECE’s evaluation reports.  There is regular and ongoing communication between the ECE® evaluation staff and the FPGEC Program Manager and their evaluation staff.  
Changes in foreign institutions’ documentation practices, unusual sequence of study and degree programs, curricular changes, and difficult research all require attention to detail to ensure that ECE® reports meet NABP’s standards and are understood within their larger process of determining  candidates’ eligibility for the licensure examination (FPGEE).  This cooperation between ECE® evaluation staff and the NABP’s FPGEC program management staff has been mutually beneficial. 
 

One benefit for ECE has been acquiring more information and resources on pharmacy programs and licensure around the world, while maintaining an important professional relationship and staying updated on the pharmacy licensure process in the United States. ECE® evaluators share their expertise with NABP, which promotes their own professional development. And the NABP has enjoyed access to the foreign credential evaluation industry’s most extensive resources and knowledge base.  
This unique relationship also involves in-person meetings between the two organizations: with only a one-hour and fifteen-minute drive along I-94 separating them, once every year or two ECE and NABP host the other for intensive one-day sessions to meet staff and talk about relevant issues.  Such topics have included changing policies within each organization, documentation retention, problematic cases, electronic documents and verification/authentication options, countries in crisis, updated resources, and information technology.

One Step in the Process


ECE tailored an evaluation report specific to NABP, based on their detailed documentation requirements and additional clarifying information within the report that is specific to NABP.  Completed evaluation reports are sent electronically along with digital images of the required educational documents directly to NABP through the ECE® Dispatch system.  The ECE® website has its own separate section devoted to the NABP evaluation process and specific documentation required.  The NABP’s website provides information about the FPGEE process, including the requirement for an ECE® evaluation report and links to ECE’s site.  


The FPGEC Candidate Application Bulletin is a pdf document available from the NABP website that includes crucial information regarding the process, examination policies, and educational requirements.  It is important to note that ECE is only involved in the evaluation of educational credentials of the candidates; additional documents relating to professional licensure in the home country, English language proficiency, and other supporting documentation are handled by NABP.  It is also important to note that ECE® reports are statements of educational equivalence; ECE does not make nor imply judgments regarding a candidate’s eligibility for licensure as a pharmacist in the United States.


The ECE® evaluation report represents one step in the process of a candidate for the FPGEE of the NABP.  Sometimes the result of an ECE® evaluation will determine that the candidate is ineligible to sit for the licensure examination (among other curricular requirements, both ECE and NABP information states that a five-year professional pharmacy program is required for all graduates since 2003, and a four-year professional pharmacy program is required for all graduates prior to 2003).  For this reason, some candidates apply to ECE first for an evaluation to determine that their pharmacy degree is officially recognized and has sufficient length before applying to the FPGEC.  However, most candidates know the likely result of the ECE® evaluation or have understood the experience of others from their county and will apply to ECE and NABP simultaneously.

Continued Partnership


ECE is fortunate to have a respected and trusted partner in NABP.  With ECE’s constant research efforts and process improvements, and open communication with NABP, the coordinated effort will continue to make the FPGEE process more efficient and manageable for international candidates aspiring to become licensed pharmacists in the United States.