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To renew your pharmacist license in California, you must complete 30 hours (1.25 hours per month) of continuing pharmacy education (CE) every two years. The law regarding CE can be found in section 4231 of the Business and Professions Code and in section 1732 of the California Code of Regulations.
CE coursework must pertain to the practice of pharmacy and be obtained from a provider who is recognized by one of the two accreditation agencies designated by the Board, the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) or the Pharmacy Foundation of California (PFC).
Pharmacists may use courses which have been approved for continuing education by the Medical Board of California, the California Board of Podiatric Medicine, the California Board of Registered Nursing or the Dental Board of California towards their California continuing education requirement. (Section 1732.2(b) of the California Code of Regulations.)
If a CE course is not accredited by the ACPE or the PFC, or approved as CE by the above-referenced licensing agencies, you may petition the board for CE credit by submitting a "Pharmacists Petition for Continuing Education Credit from A Non-Recognized Provider" form and a fee of $40 per hour of coursework. When submitting the petition, a copy of the completion certificate, a copy of the course brochure or advertisement, and course outline is required.
Law and Ethics CE Requirement
California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 1732.5(b), requires at least two of the 30 CE hours for a pharmacist license renewal be completed by participating in law and ethics courses provided by the Board of Pharmacy. The requirement applies to pharmacists whose licenses expire on or after July 1, 2019.
These courses are provided in video webinars on the Board’s website. Viewing both of these webinars satisfies the two hours required for law and ethics CE. These videos can be viewed at any time; no registration is required. Go to Law and Ethics webinars.
Note: The California State Board of Pharmacy is not an approved ACPE provider. The law and ethics webinars you complete are a requirement for your California pharmacist license renewal but are not sent to the NABP and will not appear on your CPE monitor. For this reason, pharmacists are required to retain their CE completion certificates for four years. If you are selected for an audit, you will be notified and asked to submit copies of your CE completion certificates to the Board.
In addition, the Board’s law and ethics webinars are required for pharmacists only. No other licensees are required to complete – nor awarded CE credit by the Board for completing – the law and ethics webinars.
All new licensees are exempt from earning CE for their first renewal cycle.
ENROLLEES IN HEALTH PROFESSIONS SCHOOL
An exemption from CE requirements for pharmacist license renewal may be granted to those licensees who are enrolled as full time students in a health professions school. However, please contact the Board for additional information regarding such exemptions.
CE EXEMPTIONS DUE TO HARDSHIP
Pharmacists may seek an exemption from the CE requirement based on instances of emergency or hardship. Requests must be submitted to the Board in writing and accompanied by supportive documentation.
Licensees may petition for credit for CE courses offered by non-recognized providers. The Pharmacist Petition for Continuing Education Credit from a Non-Recognized Provider form must be completed and submitted with the required fee for review and approval. The fee for this process is $40 per hour of coursework.
To renew your Advanced Practice Pharmacist license in California, you must complete 10 hours of continuing pharmacy education (CE) each renewal cycle pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 4233. This is in addition to the 30 hours of CE required for a pharmacist license renewal pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 4231 The 10 hours of CE required for your advanced practice pharmacist license shall be in a subject matter in one or more areas of practice relevant to the pharmacist’s clinical practice.
To ensure pharmacists fulfill their CE requirements, the Board routinely conducts random audits. The Board doesn’t use the CPE Monitor to directly verify CE. For this reason, pharmacists are required to retain their CE completion certificates for four years. If you are selected for an audit, you will be notified and asked to submit copies of your CE completion certificates to the Board.
You may not engage in any practice where a valid and active license issued by the board is required with an expired or inactive license.
California law requires that to practice pharmacy in California you must have a current, active pharmacist registration issued by the board. If you work as a pharmacist in California without a current, active pharmacist's license, you are engaging in the unlicensed practice of pharmacy and are subject to possible administrative action, including disciplinary action and/or a citation and fine.
If you do not wish to practice pharmacy as a pharmacist in California at this time but wish to retain your license in an “inactive” status, please submit to the board either: (A) your renewal application and designate “inactive” on the renewal application; or (B) submit a written request for status change in your license to the board, and returning your current active license. No proof of CE compliance is required. The license status will be changed, and an inactive license will be issued. However, if you renew your license as inactive, you are not authorized to practice pharmacy in California.
To restore an inactive license to active status prior to your next renewal, you may designate “active” on the license renewal application and document the number of completed CE hours. When returning to active status, you will be required pay the license renewal fee. After processing, an active license will be issued. Please allow up to six weeks to receive your active license in the mail after processing. From April 1 to June 30, 2014, the fee is $162; and on or after July 1, 2014, the fee is $207.
Frequently Asked Questions
Please refer to Frequently Asked Questions – Continuing Education for additional information.