The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board was established in 1995 and has worked towards developing a national standard for pharmacy technician certification. In order to obtain the PTCB Certification a candidate must have a high school diploma or equivalent, pass the PTCE, pass the background check, and comply with all PTCB policies. There is also a $129 application fee. Over 400,000 technicians have been certified since the founding of the PTCB.
Passing the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam, or PTCE, is the most challenging step to certification. The PTCE has 90 multiple-choice questions and you are given 110 minutes to answer them. Of these 90 questions only 80 will count towards your final score. The other 10 questions are simply being evaluated for future examinations. There is no way to know which questions count, so you need to try your best for every question. The exam is scored using a statistical method that calibrates your score based on the difficulty level of your questions. Scores range from 300 to 900 and you need a score of 650 to pass. But due to this statistical scoring method, there is no way to know how many answers you need to get right in order to get a 650. This can be very frustrating to some people, but worrying about the scoring method will just distract you from your test prep.
The content of the exam covers three areas. Sixty-six percent of the exam is on assisting the pharmacist in serving patients. Twenty-two percent of the exam in on maintaining medication and inventory control. While only twelve percent of the test is on pharmacy administration and management.
Thorough PTCB Exam Preparation is the key to passing the PTCE. You will want to start with a highly-rated review book. Be sure to check out our PTCB Study Guide overview, where we review the best study material that’s available. You should begin by carefully working through your exam prep book. As you go through the chapters be sure to try the chapter review questions, and make a note of the sections you have the most trouble with. After you have reviewed the entire book, go back and hit the difficult sections one more time. At that point you are ready to begin working through practice questions.
There are some great practice tests available online, including the free PTCB Practice Test that we have on our site. The more practice questions you attempt, the better prepared you will be. But whenever you miss a practice question, make sure you take the time to review the related material again until you understand it completely. When you begin to get 90% of your practice questions correct, then you should be ready to take the PTCE.
Make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before your exam, and eat a healthy breakfast in the morning. It’s fine to carefully review your notes one more time in the morning, but don’t try to cram in too much information. Last-minute cramming will just stress you out and make you nervous. You really just want to relax and be focused. Take the first few questions slowly, and don’t worry if a question stumps you—just make your best guess and move on. Stay relaxed and confident in your preparation, and you will be able to pass the PTCE on your first attempt. Once you are certified, your CPhT designation will be a great asset in your pharmacy tech career.