PTCB Announces New Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination (PTCE) Content Outline and Updated Education/Training Requirement for CPhT Certification

January 11, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) announces two significant changes to its Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) Program that will take effect on January 1, 2020. The first is an updated Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) content outline, focusing the scope of the exam on core knowledge relevant across practice settings. The second is an updated education/training requirement. Both changes are supported by PTCB’s most recent job analysis of pharmacy technicians conducted in 2016. With these changes, PTCB reaffirms its commitment to ensuring that the certification of pharmacy technicians improves medication safety and patient care. Beginning today, PTCB is conducting a 90-day open online comment period to allow members of the pharmacy community to submit comments regarding implementation of the new education/training requirement.
New PTCE Content Outline: At the Pharmacy Technician Stakeholder Consensus Conference held on February 14 - 16, PTCB provided a preview of the next PTCE content outline and highlighted key changes such as the consolidation of knowledge domains from the current nine to four. PTCB has released the full updated content outline on its website along with a ‘crosswalk’ document to identify changes between the current and updated content outlines. The new content outline will go into effect on January 1, 2020, the same time as the updated education/training requirement.

PTCB Director of Certification Levi Boren, PhD, said, “By focusing the PTCE on critical knowledge that applies across practice settings, PTCB is being consistent with the current utilization of the CPhT as an entry-level credential and the data from the latest job analysis. These modifications to the PTCE content outline are part of a suite of changes that include the updated education/training requirement and new certification programs that PTCB is developing.”

Education and Training Requirement: Beginning in 2020, PTCB will require completion of a PTCB-recognized education/training program OR equivalent work experience. PTCB’s recognition of education/training programs will focus on the knowledge identified in the recent job analysis. PTCB will implement an attestation process to identify PTCB-recognized programs and verify that recognized programs comply with PTCB standards and requirements. The PTCB Certification Council will continue to monitor the evolution of pharmacy-profession-led education and training requirements for technicians.

The primary path to eligibility for CPhT candidates beginning on January 1, 2020 will be through completion of a PTCB-recognized program. An alternative path via work experience will serve experienced pharmacy technicians who were not in a position to attend a PTCB-recognized program in the past. Experienced technicians applying for certification will need to have their supervisor complete a detailed experience attestation on their behalf, which contains the same knowledge requirements used to evaluate recognized programs.

“We estimate that up to 30% of the current pharmacy technician workforce is not nationally certified, and the vast majority of those technicians have not had the opportunity to attend a formal education/training program,” said PTCB Executive Director and CEO William Schimmel. “The work experience eligibility path exists to ensure that experienced technicians are able to pursue national certification with PTCB. With the updated requirement, the bar is set for all candidates and there are two paths to reach it.”

“PTCB believes in the value of both education and work experience as pathways to prepare pharmacy technicians for the PTCE. These changes are being made in the interests of medication safety and advancing patient care,” said PTCB Certification Council President David Bright, PharmD, BCACP, Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ferris State University College of Pharmacy. 

PTCB will accept comments on the updated education/training requirement for 90 days, after which the PTCB Certification Council will meet to review and discuss the comments received. Detailed information about the new PTCE content outline as well as the public comment survey are published at