Language Competence Requirements

Language competence requirements apply to all qualified pharmacists who have completed their training outside of Ireland and who are seeking registration with the PSI.

A pharmacist’s language competence must enable them to communicate, understand and treat patients, and to discharge professional obligations as a pharmacist in Ireland.

The legislative basis for these language competence standards are derived from the Professional Qualifications Directive as implemented by the European Union (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2017, the Pharmacy Act 2007 (as amended) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (Registration) Rules 2008 to 2017.

Criteria

The PSI Council accept the following criteria as being satisfactory to assure language competence:

1) Training to become a qualified pharmacist has been carried out in a country that has English or Irish recognised as an official language of that country.

OR

2) The applicant has lived and practiced in a whole-time capacity as a registered pharmacist for three out of the preceding five years in a country that has English or Irish recognised as an official language. (Satisfactory independent evidence must be provided if relying on this criteria)

OR

3) A certificate issued by an internationally recognised body or authority, recognised by the PSI Council, attesting that the holder has attained a standard of competence in the English language. The PSI Council has approved language standards that must be met by an applicant in completing one of the recognised international language tests – an applicant may choose which of these tests s/he wishes to undertake. 

The Council reviewed its current exams and scores at its meeting on 20 September 2019 and adopted the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) C1 level as the minimum required standard for language proficiency, and recognised the following bodies’ language scores as satisfactory evidence of compliance with competence requirements.

Language Requirements

English Test/ Certificate
Details
  Minimum score
Base score required if super-scoring
International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
Academic format
Speaking
7
6.5
Writing
7
6.5 
Reading
7
6.5 
Listening
7
6.5
Overall Band
7
7
         
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
Internet based test (iBT)
Speaking 25
21
Writing
24
20
Reading
24
20
Listening 22
18
Total
95
95
   
Cambridge Assessment of English (CAE)
C1 exam
Listening 180 176
Reading
180 172
Writing
180 176 
Speaking 
180
172
Use of English 180 172 
Total C1 (180) C1 (180)
   
OET Pharmacy Listening
350 300 
Reading 350  300
Writing 350  300 
Speaking 350  300 
All components B (350)  B (350) 
Certificate issued by the State Examinations Commission attesting that the applicant has passed at least six subjects in the Irish Leaving Certificate examination with English or Irish being one of the subjects that has been passed in that examination*.

Applicants must meet or exceed the minimum score in each component, in addition to meeting the minimum total score. All components of the IELTS, TOEFL, CAE, and OET tests must be attempted at the same sitting.

There is an allowance of super-scoring for two examinations (of the same format) within six-months only. To avail of super-scoring, applicants must meet or exceed the base-score (see table) per component and overall for the exam to be considered valid. Across the two sittings, applicants must meet or exceed the required minimum score as defined in the table. Examples of super-scoring are available.

The test(s) must have been undertaken no more than two years prior to the date of submission or the applicant must provide satisfactory independent evidence of having resided and worked/studied on a full-time basis in an English-speaking environment** since having completed the evaluation.

Applicants must arrange to have the Test Report Form, in respect of the IELTS or TOEFL, sent directly to the PSI by the test centre where the applicant undertook the evaluation. Statements of results for the CAE and OET should be shared through the respective examinations’ online results portals.

  • * Pass means a Grade D or above on ordinary or higher level papers 1. Applied Leaving Certificate will not be accepted.
  • ** English is an official language of the country in which an applicant has resided and worked/studied on a full time basis since having completed the evaluation (refer CIA – The World Fact Book). Only countries listed on this website as having English as a first language will be recognised for this purpose.