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Contact Information

Pharmacy Technician Certification Board

2215 Constitution Avenue NW

Suite 101

Washington, DC 20037

Office: (800) 363-8012

Fax: (202) 888-1699



About the PTCB

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) is a non-profit organization that was established in 1995 to promote medication safety by certifying pharmacy technicians who have the knowledge and skills necessary to perform their job duties competently.

The PTCB is a leading certifying organization for pharmacy technicians in the United States. The organization provides certification programs for pharmacy technicians, including advanced certificate programs for technicians who want to advance their careers.

To become a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT), individuals must meet eligibility requirements, which include completion of a PTCB-recognized education/training program OR 500 hours of work experience. Additionally, candidates must pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), which is administered by the PTCB.

The PTCE is a computer-based exam that tests candidates’ knowledge of pharmacy technician duties, including medication dispensing, prescription processing, medication safety, and pharmacy law and regulations. Once a candidate has passed the PTCE, they become a Certified Pharmacy Technician and can use the CPhT credential. To maintain certification, pharmacy technicians must complete a certain number of continuing education hours and submit documentation to the PTCB every two years.

Along with the CPhT certification, the PTCB offers the opportunity for pharmacy technicians to earn a Certified Compounded Sterile Preparation Technician (CSPT) certification and an Advanced Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPht-Adv) certification.

In addition to certification programs, the PTCB provides resources and support to pharmacy technicians, including a directory of certified pharmacy technicians and a job board for pharmacy technician positions.

Overall, the PTCB plays an important role in promoting medication safety and ensuring that pharmacy technicians have the knowledge and skills necessary to perform their job duties competently.


Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) CE Requirements

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board requires Certified Pharmacy Technicians to complete continuing education (CE) activities to maintain their certification. The CE activities are designed to ensure that pharmacy technicians stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field and are able to perform their job duties competently.

CPhTs must complete 20 hours of CE activities every two years. At least one hour of the CE activities must be related to pharmacy law, and one hour must be related to patient safety. The remaining 18 hours can be related to any topic that is relevant to pharmacy technician practice. Please note that the other PTCB certifications have their own continuing education requirements.

CPhT CE hours must be in a pharmacy technician subject matter as listed in the PTCE Content Outline or offered by ACPE-accredited providers with the target audience designation “T” (technician specific).

Beginning with renewal applications received after September 1, 2020, PTCB accepts a maximum of five (5) CE hours from ACPE-accredited providers with the target audience designation “P” (pharmacist-specific) if the subject matter is contained within the PTCE Content Outline.

The PTCB accepts CE activities from a variety of sources, including ACPE-accredited providers like freeCE. CE activities can be completed in a variety of formats, including live online webinars and on-demand courses.

Once a CPhT completes a CE activity, they must submit documentation to the PTCB to demonstrate that they have met the CE requirements. The PTCB requires documentation of CE completion to include the activity title, date of completion, number of hours completed, and the name of the provider.


Eligibility Requirements For PTCB CPhT Certification

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) offers the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) credential  for pharmacy technicians in the United States. This certification is designed to validate a pharmacy technician’s qualifications for technical work in pharmacy settings. 


Educational Requirements

  • Complete a PTCB-Recognized Education or Training Program – or have equivalent work experience.


Background Check

  • You must disclose any criminal and State Board of Pharmacy registration or licensure actions.
  • Compliance with eligibility requirements related to criminal records may vary by jurisdiction.


Exam Application

  • Complete an application process that typically includes submitting required documents and fees.
  • You’ll usually need to schedule your exam at a specific testing center, either online or by phone.



  • Payment of an examination fee is generally required at the time of application.


Other Requirements

  • Some states have additional requirements that you’ll need to meet to work as a pharmacy technician, such as state registration or further certification. Make sure you understand the laws and regulations in your specific jurisdiction.


After meeting these eligibility criteria, candidates must pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) to earn the CPhT certification. The PTCE is a computer-based exam consisting of multiple-choice questions that assess knowledge in areas such as medication, federal requirements, patient safety, and quality assurance, among others.

Once certified, maintaining your CPhT certification usually involves the completion of continuing education credits and the payment of a renewal fee every two years.

Please confirm these details through the official PTCB website or other trusted resources, as rules and regulations are subject to change.


How Much Does It Cost To Take The PTCB Exam? PTCB CPhT Exam Fee

Application and exam fee is $129


How To Apply And Schedule

  • Create a PTCB account
  • Within your account, apply for certification
  • After your application is approved, you will get an email which authorizes you to schedule the exam


Exam Content Outline

Per PTCB this is the exam outline:






Generic names, brand names, and classifications of medications 


Therapeutic equivalence


Common and life-threatening drug interactions and contraindications (e.g., drug-disease, drug-drug, drug-dietary supplement, drug-laboratory, drug-nutrient)


Strengths/dose, dosage forms, routes of administration, special handling and administration instructions, and duration of drug therapy


Common and severe medication side effects, adverse effects, and allergies


Indications of medications and dietary supplements


Drug stability (e.g., oral suspensions, insulin, reconstitutables, injectables, vaccinations)


Narrow therapeutic index (NTI) medications


Physical and chemical incompatibilities related to non-sterile compounding and reconstitution 


Proper storage of medications (e.g., temperature ranges, light sensitivity, restricted access) 



Federal Requirements                     



Federal requirements for handling and disposal of non-hazardous, hazardous, and pharmaceutical substances and waste


Federal requirements for controlled substance prescriptions (i.e., new, refill, transfer) and DEA controlled substance schedules


Federal requirements (e.g., DEA, FDA) for controlled substances (i.e., receiving, storing, ordering, labeling, dispensing, reverse distribution, take-back programs, and loss or theft of)


Federal requirements for restricted drug programs and related medication processing (e.g., pseudoephedrine, Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies [REMS])


FDA recall requirements (e.g., medications, devices, supplies, supplements, classifications)



Patient Safety and Quality Assurance    



High-alert/risk medications and look-alike/sound-alike [LASA] medications


Error prevention strategies (e.g., prescription or medication order to correct patient, Tall Man lettering, separating inventory, leading and trailing zeros, bar code usage, limit use of error-prone abbreviations)


Issues that require pharmacist intervention (e.g., drug utilization review [DUR], adverse drug event [ADE], OTC recommendation, therapeutic substitution, misuse, adherence, post-immunization follow-up, allergies, drug interactions)


Event reporting procedures (e.g., medication errors, adverse effects, and product integrity, MedWatch, near miss, root-cause analysis [RCA])


Types of prescription errors (e.g., abnormal doses, early refill, incorrect quantity, incorrect patient, incorrect drug)


Hygiene and cleaning standards (e.g., handwashing, personal protective equipment [PPE], cleaning counting trays, countertop, and equipment)



Order Entry and Processing                   



Procedures to compound non-sterile products (e.g., ointments, mixtures, liquids, emulsions, suppositories, enemas)


Formulas, calculations, ratios, proportions, alligations, conversions, Sig codes (e.g., b.i.d., t.i.d., Roman numerals), abbreviations, medical terminology, and symbols for days supply, quantity, dose, concentration, dilutions


Equipment/supplies required for drug administration (e.g., package size, unit dose, diabetic supplies, spacers, oral and injectable syringes)


Lot numbers, expiration dates, and National Drug Code (NDC) numbers


Procedures for identifying and returning dispensable, non-dispensable, and expired medications and supplies (e.g., credit return, return to stock, reverse distribution)


Scored Questions Vs. Unscored Questions

The PTCE is an electronic test consisting of 90 multiple-choice queries, out of which 80 are graded and 10 are not. The ungraded questions are intermingled randomly within the test and are not marked as such.


Retaking The Exam

Applicants must register and pay a fee for each attempt at a PTCB certification exam. If an applicant does not pass, they must wait for their official score report before they can apply to retake the test. While there’s no limit on the number of times one can attempt the exams, it’s strongly advised to adequately prepare before each try. PTCB exams are highly consistent in their quality, so failing once often means a candidate will likely fail again unless they improve their understanding of the test material.


For the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), there are no waiting periods for the second and third tries. However, a six-month wait is required before making a fourth attempt. After four tries, applicants must show proof of approved preparation activities to PTCB for evaluation and permission before making any more attempts. Any preparatory activities done prior to the most recent test will not be taken into account.

Approved methods of preparation for the PTCE include:

  • A minimum of six months of tutoring from a qualified pharmacist or PTCB CPhT (a PTCE Preparation Attestation Form is required)
  • Finishing an informal review course or a non-accredited training program
  • Completing a training program that is accredited by ASHP/ACPE
  • Earning a pharmacy technician associate degree (A.S.)


Build Knowledge Of Drugs

Pharmacology is a large part of the PTCE exam. Lean into pharmacology to give yourself a better chance at passing the PTCB exam. 


PTCB Test Online Prep Course

There are several great online preparation programs to get you ready for the PTCB exam. Take advantage of someone else doing the leg work. Work smarter, not harder.


Preparing For The PTCB Exam

  1. Make sure you’re solid on pharmacology
  2. Solidify your math skills
  3. Prioritize study time daily
  4. Enroll in a practice exam


How Many Times Can You Fail The PTCB?

For the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), there are no waiting periods for the second and third tries. However, a six-month wait is required before making a fourth attempt. After four tries, applicants must show proof of approved preparation activities to PTCB for evaluation and permission before making any more attempts. Any preparatory activities done prior to the most recent test will not be taken into account.


What To Expect On Test Day

Expect to be slightly stressed. To prevent this, practice breathing techniques to calm yourself. Eat enough food to not be focused on hunger. Consider avoiding heavy carbohydrate meals to avoid a “food coma”. As long as you have prepared and studied, go in with confidence knowing you prepared well for the exam. 


How Many Questions Are On The Pharmacy Tech Exam?

90 total questions. 80 of them are scored. 10 are not scored.


How Much Do Pharmacy Technicians Make?

According to, pharmacy technicians make between $12- $27/hour.


Are You Allowed To Use A Calculator On The PTCB National Certification Exam?

The PTCB exam comes with an integrated calculator feature. Using your own calculator is strictly prohibited. Nonetheless, if a test-taker asks for a hand-held calculator and the testing center has one on hand, it can be provided for use upon request.


How Long Does It Take To Get The PTCB Results?

Generally, your official score report will be accessible in your PTCB Account around two to three weeks after you’ve taken the exam. PTCB does not offer expedited processing for exam results or certification details. If you successfully pass the PTCE, your certified status can be confirmed on PTCB’s Certification Verification webpage.

freeCE is proud to offer PTCB-recognized specialty training programs for pharmacy technicians. Check them out here!


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