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Important Updates to the PTCE

PTCB updated the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) on November 1, 2013. (Candidates who applied for PTCB certification before November 1 were given the previous PTCE.)
View a fact sheet on the updates.

Why Update the PTCE?
Approximately every five years, PTCB conducts a Job Analysis Study. This study is based on a first-hand survey of the current roles and tasks performed by pharmacy technicians in every practice setting across the United States. The results of the survey are then used to construct a new blueprint, or content outline, for the PTCE.

PTCB’s most recent Job Analysis Study was completed in February 2012, with more than 25,000 pharmacy technicians from across the United States participating in the survey. PTCB’s Certification Council and Board of Governors reviewed the 2012 Job Analysis Study and approved a new blueprint for the PTCE.

The updated PTCE reflects the new blueprint. The length of the PTCE (90 items across 1 hour and 50 minutes) and the type of questions (multiple choice) has not changed.

Updated PTCE Based on New Blueprint
The most noticeable update in the PTCE is the way in which content is organized. The previous exam blueprint distributed exam content into three functional areas, giving it a task focus, as shown in the following table. Each functional area had a series of knowledge statements associated with it.

Previous PTCE Blueprint Functional Areas
(Before November 1, 2013)

 

Functional Areas

Functional Area Description

% of PTCE Content

Knowledge Statements

1

Assisting the Pharmacist in Serving Patients

66

84

       

2

Maintaining Medication and Inventory Control Systems

22

26

       

3

Participating in the Administration and Management of Pharmacy Practice

12

38


The updated PTCE blueprint now being administered organizes content into nine knowledge domains, as shown below, each with a number of knowledge areas or sub-domains. This organization gives the updated PTCE a knowledge focus, and conveys more information about the type and relative amount of content in the exam.
 

Updated PTCE Effective November 1, 2013

 

Knowledge Domains

Domain Description

% of PTCE Content

Knowledge Areas

1

Pharmacology for Technicians

13.75

6

2

Pharmacy Law and Regulations

12.50

15

3

Sterile and Non-sterile Compounding

8.75

7

4

Medication Safety

12.50

6

5

Pharmacy Quality Assurance

7.50

5

6

Medication Order Entry and Fill Process

17.50

7

7

Pharmacy Inventory Management

8.75

5

8

Pharmacy Billing and Reimbursement

8.75

5

9

Pharmacy Information Systems Usage and Application

10.00

2


The vast majority of knowledge statements in the previous blueprint are covered by one or more of the knowledge areas in the updated PTCE blueprint. By extension, this means that the updated PTCE content is very similar to what was covered in the previous exam. As an aid to those familiar with the previous blueprint, PTCB is providing a crosswalk to identify where knowledge listed under the previous blueprint is organized within the updated PTCE.