Language Requirements

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

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

The legislative basis for these language competence standards is 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 accepts 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 

  1. 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 

  1. 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 she/he wishes to undertake.  

Language Test Requirements

The PSI 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. Following an updated benchmarking exercise, at its meeting of 23 June 2022, the PSI Council approved adjustments to the minimum acceptable score for the ‘Writing’ component across the four recognised tests. The revised scores are outlined in the table below:

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 6.5 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 21 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  300  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*. 

In general, 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 i.e. if the minimum score on one component is not met at a sitting, all components must be attempted at a subsequent sitting. The PSI does not accept one-skill retakes.

Super-Scoring

There is an allowance of super-scoring for two examinations (of the same format), if taken 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 for review. 

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 should inform the PSI which exam they have taken or intend to take (this information should be sent by email to registration@psi.ie). Applicants must ensure that PSI has verification access to their results and should contact the language competency provider if they do not know how to grant verification access to the PSI. Applicants should never provide their own login details/password to PSI.

Accepted Tests

IELTS, TOEFL, CAE and OET tests are the only tests accepted by the PSI.  Please note that home-based tests are not accepted. The PSI does not make any exceptions to the above. 

* 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.