If you are aspiring to be a pharmacy tech, passing the pharmacy technician certification exam is a very important step to help you achieve in your career. You have a choice between two certification exams that are nationally accepted.

These exams are available from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Taking and passing either of these exams will earn you the Certified Pharmacy Technician or CPhT title.

The purpose of the exams are to evaluate your understanding and skills of the duties to practice as a pharmacy tech, and also to recognize those pharmacy technicians who demonstrate an ongoing commitments to their field by meeting continuing education requirements.

Passing the pharmacy technician certification exam is definitely possible once you understand the key steps involved in the process.

These steps including understanding what the exams consist of and understanding how to prepare for the exams.

If you are interested in taking and passing the pharmacy technician certification exam, make sure you review the following guidelines so that you can pass the exam with flying colors.

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Understanding the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam

The PTCB pharmacy technician certification exam consists of 90 multiple-choice questions total and consists of various questions. A maximum of  2 hours is allowed to complete the computer-based exam. You will find out if you pass or fail immediately in most cases.

The test is offered throughout the year, seven days each week.pharmacy- technician- certification-exam

Ten of the questions are pre-test questions placed throughout the test that do not count toward your final score.

The rest of the questions explore your knowledge of skills and experience in 10 knowledge domains. These domains include:

  • Pharmacology for Technicians
  • Pharmacy Law and Regulations
  • Sterile and Non-sterile Compounding
  • Medication Safety
  • Pharmacy Quality Assurance
  • Medication Order Entry and Fill Process
  • Pharmacy Inventory Management
  • Pharmacy Billing and Reimbursement
  • Pharmacy Information Systems Usage and Application

The pharmacy technician certification exam by the NHA is computer-based and consists of 110 questions that are multiple choice.

You are given a maximum of two hours to complete the questions on the exam. Once you complete the test, it will be graded immediately and the results of pass or fail will be given to you.

You can view a demo of the exam format here.

The NHA exam poses question within three areas. These areas include the dispensing process, drugs and products of drugs, and duties and regulations of technicians.

Questions for the dispensing process includes the following (52% of exam):

  • Prescription information
  • Calculations
  • Preparation and dispensing prescriptions
  • Sterilization of products, unit dosing and repackaging

Questions in the area of drugs and products of drugs consists of (23% of exam):

  • Classification of drugs
  • Most frequently prescribed medications

Questions for the regulation and duties of technicians include (25% of exam):

  • Overview of technician duties and general info
  • Controlled substances
  • Other regulations and laws

How to Prepare for the Pharmacy Technician Exam

There are many different tools available for studying for either exams. These include study guides available from multiple resources. Some of the best study guides include those with math calculations including conversions and a review of regulations.

Many test questions focus on medications, contraindications of medications, and the side effects of medications. Understanding basic information about medications may help you get through the exam.

Dosage of medication is also an important point that will help you get through your examination. The PTCB website offers several pharmacy technician study guides that can help you get through the exam.

Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam Tips

When taking your examination read through all questions slowly. Eliminate any answers that are obviously wrong to narrow your selection of answers.

Next, select the best possible answer from the remaining choices. As you have 2 hours to take either exam, take your time!

If you are uncertain of an answer, come back to it so you do not take too much time on one question. These steps will maximize your score and help you pass.

Before applying for one a pharmacy technician exam, be sure that you meet the requirements set by the state board of pharmacy within your state.

Taking and passing the pharmacy technician certification exam by the NHA or the PTCB is a big step towards growing in your career.

Be sure to prepare yourself well ahead of taking the exam to make sure that you can perform at your best so that you can become a pharmacy tech!