Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam
Study Tips from an Expert

The pharmacy technician certification exam is a vital step in your career as a pharmacy tech. Without certification, many employers won't even consider hiring you. For other employers, it helps ensure that you get the best pay rate they offer.

Following is an interview with an expert, who provides helpful study tips to ensure your success on the exam:

Requirements for the Certification Exam

The only required education for the pharmacy technician certification exam is a high school diploma (or its equivalent). But there are other requirements for the exam: You cannot have any felony conviction(s), and you must have no drug or pharmacy-related convictions.

The Exam's Vital Stats

The most well-known and widely recognized pharmacy technician certification exam is issued by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). Their certification exam (the PTCE) has 90 questions, and you must complete the exam within 1 hour and 50 minutes.

There are now nine "knowledge domains" on the exam on the new outline that is effective on all exams starting November 1, 2013:

  1. Pharmacology for Technicians (13.75%)
  2. Pharmacy Law and Regulations (12.50%)
  3. Sterile and Non-sterile Compounding (8.75%)
  4. Medication Safety (12.50%)
  5. Pharmacy Quality Assurance (7.50%)
  6. Medication Order Entry and Fill Process (17.50%)
  7. Pharmacy Inventory Management (8.75%)
  8. Pharmacy Billing and Reimbursement (8.75%)
  9. Pharmacy Information Systems Usage and Application (10%)

This gives you a better idea of the topic areas where you need to study more than others. The highest score is 1600, but you'll need a score of 1400 (or roughly 87%) to pass the test. This minimum score is now 15% higher than with the previous version of the PTCE...making it all the more important to prepare well.

Why It's Smart to Take a Practice Exam Beforehand

Few people actually enjoy taking tests, and some people are downright nervous wrecks about them. Most people are somewhere in the middle, and are somewhat anxious.

The best way to minimize any anxiety about taking an exam is to prepare well ahead of time. Some study tips were given in the video interview earlier on this page, but the next thing that we highly recommend is to take a practice exam.

Why? Well, a good practice exam gives you an opportunity to not only practice your testing skills...it also tells you where your weaknesses are. You certainly don't want to wait until test day to discover that you are weak in pharm calculations or pharmacy laws.

A good practice exam should provide you with a complete report of your weaknesses after taking the exam, so that you can focus your studying in those areas.

And one final tip: Don't leave your studying until the last minute. Give yourself at least a month of regular study periods each day, or every other day, so that the information remains fresh in your mind. Don't leave large amounts of time (like weeks) between your study sessions.

You alone are responsible for your success on the exam...so take control, and make it happen!

You can learn about our practice exam here.

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