2022 Edition

PTCE and ExCPT Guide

PTCE and ExCPT Summary
What: The PTCB and ExCPT are optional certification exams for pharmacy techs.
Who: Candidates for certification must have a high school diploma.
Where: The PTCB is offered at PearsonVUE test centers, and ExCPT is offered at PSI test centers.
When: Tests are available year-round.
How: Questions are multiple choice.
Type: Both tests are computerized.
Why: Tests lead to pharmacy tech certification
Time: 110 minutes for the PTCE and 130 minutes for the ExCPT
Language: English
Preparation: Many different materials are available to help candidates study
Cost: There is a fee.

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination (PTCE) and the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT) are two exams taken by pharmacy technicians to become certified professionals.  The two examinations are optional, yet beneficial, to individuals seeking employment as pharmacy technicians.


 The PTCE is taken by pharmacy technicians. Though it is not a required aspect of working as a pharmacy tech, it may allow individuals to work more effectively side-by-side with pharmacists, not to mention opening up promotion opportunities and the possibility of a higher salary.  It is developed and administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and taken at PearsonVUE test centers.

 The PTCE is a computerized exam consisting of 90 multiple-choice questions, ten of which are classified as pretest questions and do not count towards scoring.  The exam must be completed in 110 minutes.  Individuals are given two hours to complete the PTCE.

The PTCE has four areas of focus:

1. Medications
2. Federal Regulations
3. Patient Safety and Quality Assurance
4. Order Entry and Processing
Online registration for the PTCE is available at ptcb.org.  In order to be qualified to take the PTCE, individuals must have a high-school diploma or its equivalent, have no felony convictions, no drug- or pharmacy-related convictions, and no denial, suspension, revocation, or restriction of registration or licensure, consent order or other restriction by any state board of pharmacy.

PTCE scores range from 1000 to 1600, but only scores of 1400 and above are considered passing.

ExCPT – Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians

The ExCPT is another exam for pharmacy technicians in any type of practice in the United States.  It is developed by the National Healthcareer Association and taken at a PSI test centers.

The ExCPT is computer-based and made up of 120 multiple-choice questions.  Only 100 of these questions are scored. Two hours and 10 minutes is given to complete the test.  The questions on the ExCPT cover four major areas:

1.  Overview and Laws
2.  Drugs and Drug Therapy
3.  Dispensing Process
4.  Medication Safety and Quality Assurance

Individuals sitting for the ExCPT will be given an official report at the conclusion of their exam which will let them know their score and whether or not it is considered to be passing.

For both exams, a government-issued I.D. is required to be shown at the test center.  Sometimes two forms of identification are required.  Scrap paper or a white board is often provided, and individuals can consult exam administrators as to other rules and regulations.

Prepare to get Certified

Tests.com has worked with Dominque Culpepper, RPht, CPht, an instructor in pharmacy technician studies, and Brad Gillespie, PharmD, who currently works with the NIH and is a former reviewer for the FDA, to design a Pharmacy Tech Practice Test to help you prepare for your certification exam.  Tests.com's TestSim online interactive platform allows you to tailor your tests to the subjects you want to study and to form tests that fit your study schedule.  Form tests of 30, 40, 50, 100 or even hudreds of questions.  Get instant scoring and review.  The answers are fully explained for ideal study.  You can even simulate the actual exam by setting the number of questions and timer to the time period allowed for the actual test.  Get experience reading multiple-choice questions and taking timed tests.  Tests.com will help you pass your certification exam and set you on your way to a successful career as a pharmacy technician.

To learn more about the PTCE and ExCPT, please visit the PTCE and ExCPT Directory.

Pharmacy Technician Practice Exam

Quality starts with who wrote the material.
Our practice exam writer
Lisa Thompson, RPht, CPht,
is an adjunct instructor in pharmacy technician studies at Barry University. She has been in the pharmacy industry for over 30 years and has been a reviewer for McGraw Hill and Elsevier in the field of pharmacy.

Domanique Culpepper, RPht, CPht,
is an instructor in pharmacy tech studies at Everest University and has worked as a pharmacy tech for over 10 years.. She is a member of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

Fabian Stone, CPht,
is an adjunct instructor in pharmacy studies at the University of North Georgia.

Bradley Gillespie, PharmD,
is a registered pharmacist and director of drug development for a company working with the NIH. He is widely published on the subject of pharmacology and is a former FDA pharmacology reviewer.

There are two ways to become certified—through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and through the National Healthcare Association (NHA). Check your state to see which form of certification is accepted. The PTCB and the NHA both require the taking of an exam prior to certification.   

The PTCE consists of 90 questions and is arranged into nine knowledge domains:

- Medications
- Federal Regulations
- Patient Safety
- Quality Assurance
- Order Entry
- Order Processing

The ExCPT has 120 multiple choice questions and focuses on three general areas:

- Technician Duties
- Drug Products
- Dispensing Process