HomePharmacy Technician Certified Board Exam


What is the PTCB Exam?


The Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination (PTCE®) was created by PTCB to establish a baseline assessment to denote pharmacy techs that have acquired the education and expertise essential to work in the field. PTCB certification ensures that pharmacy technicians can effectively assist pharmacists to provide quality customer service and valuable vocational training. Certification improves the overall experience and service for healthcare providers, customers and industry personnel. Once a technician has met application requirements and has completed the PTCB exam, they can use the "CPhT" title.

It is the responsibility of the CPhTs to report to the PTCB for review any drug or pharmacy-related violations, felony conviction or State Board of Pharmacy action taken against registration or license immediately upon the incident and at any time of the recertification. Disqualification is reviewed and determined on an individual basis.

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) designs, upholds, fosters and controls the accredited certification program for pharmacy technicians, also known as pharmacy techs.

How to apply for the CPhT title and take the PTCE®exam:

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements to apply for PTCB Certification:

  • Reside in the U.S. or its territories
  • Have completed a PTCB-recognized education program OR have equivalent work experience (at least 500 hours of experience as a pharmacy technician)
  • Must have fully disclosed any criminal and State Board of Pharmacy registration or licensure actions
  • Must be in accordance with all related PTCB Certification policies
  • Must hold a passing score on the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam®(PTCE®)

The following items can lead to candidate disqualification upon the discovery or disclosure of:

  • Criminal behavior involving the applicant
  • State Board of Pharmacy registration or licensure action concerning or relating to the candidate
  • Violation of a PTCB Certification policy, including but not limited to the Code of Conduct

Once eligible, applicants must create a PTCB account online, apply for the certification and pay an exam fee of $129.00. You will receive notification via email once you have been authorized to schedule your exam appointment. You must schedule your exam within 90 days of notification. If you cannot attend your scheduled exam date or if you decide that you no longer wish to apply for certification, you must cancel your testing appointment and then contact the PTCB to withdrawal your application.

How to prepare

There are several resources available to applicants who wish to prepare for the PTCE® exam. You may visit the PTCB website to download and review the Guidelines and Requirements: A Candidate Guidebook. This is a free and valuable resource detailing the application requirements, exam content, what to expect and the process of completing the exam.

Applicants should become acquainted with the content outline of the PTCE® and research accredited pharmacy technician exams preparations centers, colleges and vocational schools. There are several practice exams as well as books that candidates can access. The PTCB has created a series of practice exams for applicants that allow candidates to explore and become familiar with subject knowledge and test format. Candidates may also review a similar tutorial provided by Pearson VUE to get a feel for the testing experience itself.

What is on the test?

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam® (PTCE®) is a computer-based exam administered at Pearson VUE test centers nationwide. PTCE® scores are used to identify pharmacy technicians who meet a particular baseline of knowledge and skills necessary to work as a certified pharmacy technician.

Applicants are given two hours to complete the 90 question, multiple-choice exam. The exam consists of 80 scored questions and 10 unscored questions. The test taker does not know which questions are scored and which are not. The test taker is presented with a question and four possible answers. There is only one correct answer. The exam score is determined by the number of correct answers out of a possible 80 scored questions.

The PTCE exam is organized into nine knowledge domains, each with numerous knowledge areas or sub-domains, as shown in the table below.

Knowledge DomainsDomain DescriptionPercent of PTCE ContentKnowledge Areas
2Federal requirements12.505
3Patient safety and quality assurance26.256
4Order entry and processing21.255

Maintaining your certification

CPhTs must renew their certification every two years in order to maintain their credential. CPhTs can renew during the renewal window which begins 60 days prior to the certification's expiration date.

CPhTs must complete 20 hours of continuing education (CE) during the two-year certification period, including one hour in pharmacy law and one hour in patient safety. Hours must be in the subject matters covered in the exam content outline or offered by providers accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) with the target audience designation 'T' (technician-specific).

In order to recertify, CPhTs must have a National Association of Boards of Pharmacy e-Profile ID on file with PTCB. This allows for CE hours to be automatically tracked online. CPhTs should check that all their CE hours are accounted for in their profile and then submit those hours along with a recertification fee to complete the recertification process.


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