PTCB Certification Eligibility Requirements To Change in 2020

Education/Training Programs Can Apply Now for PTCB Recognition

February 28, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC -- Starting in 2020, PTCB, the nation’s leading certifying organization for pharmacy technicians, will change its eligibility requirements for the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) Program and update its Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). PTCB will offer two eligibility pathways for technicians submitting certification applications beginning January 1, 2020. One will be completion of a PTCB-recognized education/training program, and the other will be equivalent work experience. 

Announced in January 2018, these changes are based on data PTCB collected via Job Task Analysis survey responses from more than 40,000 pharmacy technicians and comments from the pharmacy community, including technician employers and educators, state and national pharmacy associations, and state boards of pharmacy. 

“PTCB relies on data and pharmacy stakeholder conversations in all we do with the goal of advancing medication safety,” said William Schimmel, PTCB Executive Director and CEO. “The new eligibility requirements are based on input from pharmacy professionals that certain knowledge, skills, and abilities are acquired most effectively through education/training or work experience. Pharmacy employers can be confident that PTCB-certified pharmacy technicians have demonstrated they have the knowledge to advance patient care in today’s pharmacy,” Schimmel said. 

Education/Training Program Recognition
In preparation for 2020, PTCB has launched an application process for education/training programs to become PTCB-recognized by attesting that their curriculum meets specified knowledge requirements. The process requires directors of education/training programs not accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists/Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ASHP/ACPE) and/or by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) to submit attestation. 

Programs that are ASHP/ACPE and ABHES-accredited are recognized as fulfilling PTCB’s curriculum requirements and are not required to attest. More than 600 programs have become recognized to date. “Our recognition process for education/training programs lays the foundation for implementing significant changes in CPhT eligibility requirements along with updates to the PTCE,” said Schimmel. 

New Eligibility Requirements
Students who complete a PTCB-recognized education/training program will be eligible to apply for, and earn, their CPhT credential starting in 2020. As an alternative, PTCB will offer a second eligibility pathway based on work experience for technicians who have completed 500 work hours and attest to fulfilling specified knowledge requirements. “While PTCB values education as a key component to earning certification, we also recognize the merit of work experience,” Schimmel said. “This pathway means technicians who’ve worked extensively in the field, but haven’t been in a position to complete PTCB-recognized education can still pursue our national certification.” 

“Aspiring CPhTs must show they have the necessary knowledge and skills to do their jobs safely and effectively,” said PTCB Certification Council President Kilee Yarosh, RPh, Market Director of Pharmacy Steward Healthcare, Warren OH. “PTCB’s eligibility requirements in 2020 go beyond high school and ensure those seeking to earn their certification are qualified and can successfully demonstrate competence.”

Exam (PTCE) Updates
Beginning January 1, 2020, PTCE content will be organized into four knowledge areas rather than the current nine, and will focus only on essential knowledge that applies across practice settings. Consistent with industry best practices and accreditation standards, PTCB periodically conducts a Job Task Analysis study approximately every 5 years as the foundation for its national certification program. “The data from PTCB’s study in 2016 informed the updates to be made in 2020, and reflect technician responsibilities in current pharmacy practice,” said Levi Boren, PhD, PTCB Senior Director of Certification Programs. PTCB also received more than 500 individual comments during a 90-day comment period on implementation of the education/training eligibility pathway. “PTCB listens to the pharmacy community. Our comment period allowed us to collect valuable feedback,” Boren added.

"PTCB's research-based changes are critical for keeping PTCB’s CPhT Program up to date on pharmacy practice and the vital role of pharmacy technicians," added Barbara Limburg, PharmD, PTCE Exam Development Committee Chair and former sterile compounding professor of pharmacy technicians at South Suburban College and Associate Professor at Chicago State University College of Pharmacy. 

More information is available on PTCB’s website, including the listing of PTCB-recognized education/training programs, program recognition attestation form, and updated PTCE content outline.