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National American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX)

Last updated 4th Oct 2022


The term NAPLEX refers to an examination that assesses the applicant's knowledge and skills necessary to practice safe and effective pharmacotherapy. The National American Pharmacist Licensure Examination, or NAPLEX, is sponsored by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. The purpose of the exam is to ensure individuals are able to optimize therapeutic outcomes in patients in a safe and effective manner.


In the United States, local state boards of pharmacotherapy have the authority to grant an individual a license to practice their skill. The National American Pharmacist Licensure Examination, or NAPLEX, provides a common system to use as part of the state's qualifications assessment and subsequent licensure.

The NAPLEX attempts to assess if an individual can identify safe and effective pharmacotherapy practices, safely and accurately dispense medications, and use information to promote optimal health care. This objective aligns with the three areas of focus found on the examination, which tests the candidate's ability to:

  • Assess pharmacotherapy to assure safe and effective therapeutic outcomes;
  • Assess safe and accurate preparation and dispensing of medications; and
  • Assess, recommend, and provide health care information that promotes public health.

The test is administered electronically and consists of 185 multiple choice questions, of which 150 are used to calculate the candidate's score. Test takers have up to four hours and 15 minutes to complete the examination. The test uses an adaptive learning technology, which means the questions are dynamically selected based on an evolving assessment of the examinee's knowledge.

Raw test scores are presented on a scale that ranges from a low of zero to a high of 150, with a passing score being 75. Official results are typically available seven business days following the examination. Candidates are limited to five attempts to pass the NAPLEX. Additional attempts can be made with the permission of the state board. After failing to pass the exam, a candidate must wait 91 days before their next attempt.

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