Your Personal Roadmap to Take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam
You’ve committed your time and effort to successfully completing your pharmacy technician program, and now it’s time to take all that information and use it to pass the certification exam and become a Certified Pharmacy Technician. But how?
Step 1: Register for Your Pharmacy Technician Exam
If you’re taking the NHA ExCPT® exam, go to the NHA website. Here, you’ll take a short quiz to help you determine that you qualify to take the exam. If you qualify, the website will lead you to an application to schedule your exam. To qualify, you must have done one of the following:
If you’re taking the PTCB PTCE® exam, go to the PTCB website. You’ll need to create an account and apply for certification. Once approved, you’ll receive an email letting you know you can schedule your exam.
Both exams have requirements you must meet in order to be eligible. To qualify, you must have done one of the following:
|NHA ExCPT® Exam Qualifications||PTCB PTCE® Exam Qualifications|
|Successfully completed a pharmacy technician or pharmacy-related program within the last five years||Successfully complete a PTCB-recognized education / training program within the last 60 days|
|Completed one year of work experience inclusive of 1200 hours of supervised pharmacy work in the last three years||Completed at least 500 hours of work experience as a pharmacy technician|
|Completed a Registered Apprenticeship Program registered with the US Department of Labor|
Step 2: Get to Know Your Exam
For the NHA, 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).
For the PTCB, visit www.ptcb.org to access and download the current exam content outline that defines the content that will be measured on the exam. The exam consists of four content domains: Medications (40%), Federal Requirements (12.5%0, Patient Safety and Quality Assurance (26.25%), and Order Entry and Processing (21.25%).
Step 3: Schedule Exam Date
Consider relevant factors including program requirements, sponsorship, testing options and exam availability when determining the best time to take the exam. Create an account using your personal information, apply for and schedule your exam. 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.
Step 4: Get Organized
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. 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!
PTCB Study Aids
Make use of PTCE resources provided by PTCB partner organizations. Some free resources available include the Pocket Prep PTCE Mobile App and the Pocket Prep Pharmacy Calculations Mobile App, both available for Android and iOS. Use any workbooks that accompany your textbooks, video content, and PTCE online games. Consider investing in an online pharmacy technician question bank to practice taking questions that simulate the real exam.
NHA 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.
Step 5: 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!