You’ve committed your time and effort to qualify for the NHA CPhT through approved education, training, and/or work experience, and you’re ready to become a Certified Pharmacy Technician. But how?
Verify That You Qualify
First, go to the NHA website. Here, you’ll take a short quiz to help you determine that you qualify to take the exam. To qualify, you must have done one of the following:
- Successfully completed a pharmacy technician or pharmacy-related program within the last five years
- Completed one year of work experience inclusive of 1200 hours of supervised pharmacy work in the last three years
- Completed a Registered Apprenticeship Program registered with the US Department of Labor
If you qualify, the website will lead you to an application to schedule your exam.
Schedule Your Exam
Create an account with the NHA (National Healthcareer Association) and you’ll then be allowed to schedule an exam. When you do this, be sure to take into consideration the time you’ll need to complete your program and/or sponsorship and prepare thoroughly! Give yourself enough time so you don’t feel overwhelmed on exam day. If your exam is sponsored, you will be provided a voucher number from your sponsor to cover the exam fee. For self pay, you should be prepared to provide credit/debit card information at this time.
NHA ExCPT Test Plan
Visit www.nhanow.com to access and download a copy of the current ExCPT Test Plan. The test plan defines the content that will be measured on the exam. The exam consists of 100 questions covering 4 content areas: Overview and Law (25), Drugs and Drug Therapy (15), Dispensing Process (45) and Medication Safety and Quality Assurance (15).
Collect and organize your existing resources provided by your program. This should include any textbooks, notes, flash cards, online resource materials, practice exams, handouts, and proprietary content from a recognized program.
Additional Study Aids
The NHA Pharmaseer + ExCPT Bundle includes Pharmaseer, an online ExCPT study guide, and online practice tests. This resource is a good option for new candidates with no prior pharmacy technician education or training. If you completed a training program to qualify for the exam, consider using your program materials and investing in an online question bank to simulate the real exam. If you are working in a pharmacy while preparing for the exam, your pharmacist’s and coworkers are invaluable review and quiz resources. Make certain to use them!
Create a Study Plan
Create a written study plan based on the time you are able to commit to studying before your exam date. Set aside at least 6 hours per week (2 hours per day/3 days a week) for study and review up to the week before your scheduled exam. Each study session should focus on one content area, and you should dedicate more time to review the content areas in which you are weakest. For example, on days dedicated to Medications, use your Top 200 Drugs Flashcards to review drug information, and on days dedicated to Order Processing and Entry, perform dosage calculations and transcribe practice prescriptions.
The last week leading to your exam date should consist of only two practice test attempts. The closer you get to test time, the more relaxed you should be. You have put a lot of time and effort into this, and you are ready. The only thing left is to do it. The day before the exam, take time to do something you enjoy as a stress deterrent. Review the information provided concerning requirements such as dress code and restrictions regarding what is not allowed in the testing facility. Prepare your items for tomorrow, go to bed early, and get a good night’s sleep.
Eat a light breakfast, dress comfortably, give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the testing facility, remember your government ID, and DO NOT LEAVE ANY QUESTIONS BLANK! Good luck! You’ve got this!
Author: Kimberly Marshall, RPh