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In this article, we will thoroughly go through the PTCB Exam Format. Pharmacy Technician Certification Board has developed a Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination (PTCE), for individuals who wish to be certified as pharmacy technicians. This credential allows pharmacy technicians to demonstrate that they are up-to-date on medication safety, and can provide effective patient care in a variety of pharmacy settings.

Because the board refers to the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination by both terms, “PTCE” and “PTCB Exam,” it is important that you understand they are the exact same thing. You can get and idea how the actual exam look alike, by clicking on the PTCB Practice Test Button below

The PTCB Exam

Here are some statistics about the PTCE.

  • According to the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board in 2021 71% of those who took the exam passed.
  • By 2026, the demand for pharmacy technicians will grow at a rate above average.
  • The number of pharmacist technicians has increased by 49% in the past decade.
  • PTCB certified pharmacy technicians have a 14% higher chance of staying in the profession than those who are not.

Candidates for the PTCB must have completed a PTCB Recognized Education/Training program OR equivalent work experience to be eligible as of January 2020:

Option 2: A Education/Training program that is recognized by the PTCB (or expected to be completed within 60 days). There are more than 1,400 education and training courses that have been approved.
Option 1: A minimum of 500 hours working as a Pharmacy Technician. This second option is available to technicians with experience who are unable to attend PTCB recognized programs. The PTCB will accept work experience in a variety of pharmacy settings.

PTCB Exam Format

Questions in the Exam

There are 90 questions divided into 4 knowledge areas and domains.

Time Limit

You will have two hours during the test to complete each 90-question exam (ten are unscored). Both a PTCE tutorial exam and a post-exam questionnaire are given ten minutes. One hour and fifty minutes is allotted to answer the questions on the Pharmacy Tech Exam. You will have to choose the correct answer out of four options for each PTCB exam question.

Exam Delivery

PTCB Certification Exam is computer-based exam that’s administered across the country. You will need to choose a Pearson VUE testing center from the list when you register for the PTCB certification exam.
You will learn how to navigate a testing screen and the format of the exam during the tutorial for pharmacy technician certification. You should also take practice pharmacy technician tests in order to become familiar with the format before testing.

Learn how to prepare for the exam with practice questions, videos, and study guidesYour Study Guide is Here

PTCB Exam Format Overview

PTCB questions have been divided by experts in pharmacy into four knowledge domains to assess the abilities of potential pharmacy technicians.

I. Medication (40%)

II. 12.5% Federal requirements

III. Patient Safety and Quality Assurance (26.25%)

IV. Order Entry and Process (21.25%)

You can leave comments during the test to correct any incorrect questions. The Certification Appeals Procedures will accept written challenges up to 30 days after the date of your exam. A panel of experts in the field will evaluate your answers and comments during scoring. These reviews can result in different scores for the official and preliminary reports.

PTCB Scores

Question Types: Scored vs. unscored

Only 80 of the 90 questions on certified pharmacist technician multiple choice are marked. The remaining 10 questions have not been scored, and are therefore unidentified. The PTCB test also distributes them randomly to avoid identifying the unscored PTCB questions.

The remaining 80 questions will determine your final score. Test yourself before the test to get an idea of how it will be structured.

PTCB Scores

The minimum passing score for the exam is 1400, and there are scores from 1000 to 1600.

A panel of experts in the field has established this score using a modified-Angoff technique. The panel of content experts must evaluate every test item using this method to find out what percentage of pharmacy technicians who are already certified would be able to answer the question correctly. The average of these estimates was used to determine the passing score.

You will receive your exam score

The PTCB score report includes information on your performance in each of the four domains. You can use this information to determine your areas of strength and improvement. If you don’t receive a pass score, then you can retake your exam. You should review the exam results to determine which domains of knowledge were harder. Then, go back and revisit those topics in your study guide for pharmacy technicians.

Exam Retake

For your second and subsequent attempts, you will have 60 days to take the test again. However, for every subsequent attempt after that point in time you will need to wait at least six months. You will be denied the opportunity to apply if you fail your PTCB test after four attempts. This is until you have completed and provided evidence of all preparation activities.

PTCB Online Course Preparation

PTCB Test Pro has an online PTCB preparation course that will help you be prepared. This course will provide all the resources you need to study. PTCB includes the following:

  • 60 Lessons Covering Every Topic
  • 1000+ PTCB practice questions
  • 20+ Video Tutorials
  • Electronic Flashcards: More Than 300
  • Money-back Guarantee
  • Get Free Mobile Access
  • There’s More!

Register Now

You will have to wait for your application to be approved before you can register. After your application has been approved you can schedule the PTCE for up to 90 days. You can register online for an appointment or contact Pearson VUE to schedule one. Pearson Professional Centers across the country administer this exam. Once your appointment has been confirmed, you will be sent a confirmation.

The application fee is $129 for the test.

Exam Cancellation

If you want to change or cancel your exam appointment after you’ve scheduled it, you must contact Pearson VUE. No fees are charged for cancellations or reschedulings, provided you do it at least 24 hour prior to the appointment. You will lose all fees related to exams if you do not do this or fail to show up for your scheduled appointment.

Test Day: What To Expect

Arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment on the day of your test. Bring a valid form of ID to the Pharmacy Certification Exam site. The PTCB will not allow you to sit the exam if your ID does not match your account name. Be sure that your identification matches when you register.

The majority of personal items will be required to be stored in lockers and are not permitted inside the testing rooms. A calculator is included in the test, so you cannot bring your own. However, staff at the testing center may provide one on request. If you bring prohibited items to the testing area, your testing session will be terminated and all fees forfeited.

You will first be required to agree and read all National Pharmacy Technician Certification Policies, including the Code of Conduct and Test Center Rules, before you can begin your examination. Then you will be shown an optional tutorial. This is a great opportunity for you to familiarize yourself with how to navigate the PTCB test and select an answer. It is best to take PTCB Practice Tests to get familiar with the format of the exam before taking it.


What is the number of questions on the Pharmacy Technician Exam?

There are 90 questions in the PTCB test. There are 80 questions that have been scored and 10 questions without a score. There are four answers to each question.

Can you use a Calculator on the PTCB National Certification Exam?

On the PTCB test, you are permitted to use a calculator. You will be unable to use your own calculator. A handheld calculator and an erasable whiteboard will be given to you.

What is the cost of taking the PTCB examination?

Application fee to become certified by PTCB and take the PTCB test costs $129

Can you pass the PTCB more than once?

The PTCB allows you up to four attempts to pass. You can apply and pay again for an exam 60 days after your last attempt if you failed the PTCB. You will have to wait six months if you do not pass the third time.

When will I receive the PTCB result?

You will receive the office score report approximately three weeks after taking the PTCB test. Four to six weeks following the test, you will receive your wallet card and certificate.

What is the process to become a Pharmacy Technician?

A high school diploma is required to become a pharmacist technician. On-the-job learning is a common way for many pharmacy technicians to learn. In many states, a pharmacist technician may be required to hold a certification or license.

How long will it take me to become a pharmacist technician?

Some schools offer programs for pharmacy technicians that take only 15 weeks, or as long as two years to earn an associates’ degree.

What is the average salary of a pharmacy technician?

The PTCB has published the following average rates per hour for Pharmacy Technicians:

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