Credentialing Guidelines and Requirements

A Candidate Guidebook

PTCB Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) Program

Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) 

Pharmacy technicians who want to work more effectively with pharmacists to offer better patient care and service take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam® (PTCE®) to earn the PTCB CPhT national certification.

 

PTCB’s Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) Program is nationally accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

Scope of PTCB Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) Certification

PTCB Certified Pharmacy Technicians (CPhTs) support pharmacists in delivering patient care in a variety of settings, including community pharmacies, hospitals, and other facilities. Although CPhTs typically support the medication dispensing process, the legal scope of practice for CPhTs is defined by individual State Boards of Pharmacy.

CPhT Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for PTCB CPhT Certification, an applicant must satisfy the following requirements: 

  • Possess a high school diploma or equivalent educational diploma (e.g., GED or foreign diploma)*
  • Full disclosure of all criminal and State Board of Pharmacy registration or licensure actions
  • Compliance with all applicable PTCB Certification Policies
  • Passing score on the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)

*Applicants who are within 60 days of acquiring their high school diploma or equivalent will be eligible to apply for PTCB CPhT Certification. For more information, see CPhT Education Verification.


CPhT Education Verification 

CPhT applicants who are within 60 days of acquiring their high school diploma or equivalent educational diploma will be eligible to take the PTCE. PTCB CPhT Certification will not be granted until proof of high school completion (or equivalent) is provided to PTCB. Examples of acceptable documentation include but are not limited to the following:
  • Copy of high school diploma
  • Copy of high school transcript with graduation date
  • Letter from a school official on letterhead indicating school and graduation date
  • GED diploma/results
  • Foreign Diploma (Education Evaluation required, visit NACES or AICE for more information)

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)

Passing the PTCE is required to earn the CPhT credential. The PTCE is a computer-based exam administered at Pearson VUE test centers nationwide. The PTCE is a two-hour, multiple-choice exam that contains 90 questions: 80 scored questions and 10 unscored questions. Each question lists four possible answers, only one of which is the correct or best answer. Unscored questions are not identified and are randomly distributed throughout the exam. A candidate’s exam score is based on the responses to the 80 scored questions. One hour and 50 minutes are allotted for answering the exam questions and 10 minutes for a tutorial and post-exam survey.  
 

PTCE Content Outline 

PTCB completed its most recent update to the PTCE in 2013. Updates are periodically implemented to account for changes in pharmacy technician practice. Questions are not presented in the knowledge area order shown in the content outline; they are randomly distributed throughout the exam. A complete version of the content outline, which lists the knowledge required to perform the activities associated with each function, can be found in Appendix C. 
 

PTCE Passing Score 

A panel of subject-matter experts established a passing score for the PTCE using industry best practices. The method used by the panel, as directed by a psychometrician, is the modified-Angoff method. This method requires experts (panel members) to evaluate individual test questions and estimate the percentage of qualified pharmacy technicians that would be able to answer each question correctly. These estimates were analyzed for consistency and averaged to produce the passing score. The passing score and candidate results are reported as scaled scores. The passing scaled score for the PTCE is 1,400. The range of possible PTCE scores based on the test outline is 1,000 to 1,600. 
 
Preparing for the PTCE 

Candidates should thoroughly prepare prior to taking a PTCB Certification Exam. To help prepare for the exam, candidates should review the PTCE content outline. Familiarity with the material contained in basic pharmacy technician training manuals or books may be helpful. Supervising pharmacists may also be helpful in designing a study plan. PTCB does not endorse, recommend, or sponsor any review course, manuals, or books for any PTCB certification exam.  

The Official PTCB Practice Exam 

The Official PTCB Practice Exam is designed to familiarize candidates with the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). The Official PTCB Practice Exam is the only practice exam authorized by PTCB. PTCB offers two different Practice Exam versions and each is built to the same content specifications as the PTCE. 
 
The Practice Exam is priced at $29 each, or at the discount price of $49 for both versions. Educators and employers will benefit from offering technicians the extra practice of two practice exams through the package discount. Unlike practice exams from other providers, the Official PTCB Practice Exams have the same look, feel, and functionality as the actual PTCE. The sole function of the practice tests is to provide familiarity with content, format, and structure. 
 

Official PTCB Calculations Practice Questions App 

The PTCB Official Calculations Practice Questions App is available for iOS and Android devices. The app features 126 calculation questions that have been asked on the actual PTCE and focuses on calculations commonly used by pharmacy technicians. To provide the best preparation experience, questions were selected from previous PTCE exam questions based on a variety of calculation types, strong item performance, and similar style to the current PTCE. 
 
Although the exact practice calculations questions are no longer on the actual PTCE, this app will help users develop a feel for the types of calculations they will encounter when they take the real PTCE and strengthen their math skills. Test takers can take advantage of step-by-step explanations provided at the end of the practice questions to further enhance their study routine. Performance on the practice questions will not predict a candidate’s score or whether a candidate will pass the PTCE.