PTCB Registration and Scheduling

Note: External link(s) below go to page(s) on &

Exam Percent Breakdown (R2)

  1. Pharmacology for Technicians
    13.75% Knowledge Areas 6
  2. Pharmacy Law and Regulations
    12.50% Knowledge Areas 15
  3. Sterile and Non-sterile Compounding
    8.75% Knowledge Areas 7
  4. Medication Safety
    12.50% Knowledge Areas 6
  5. Pharmacy Quality Assurance
    7.50% Knowledge Areas 5
  6. Medication Order Entry and Fill Process
    17.50% Knowledge Areas 7
  7. Pharmacy Inventory Management
    8.75% Knowledge Areas 5
  8. Pharmacy Billing and Reimbursement
    8.75% Knowledge Areas 5
  9. Pharmacy Information Systems Usage and Application
    10.0% Knowledge Areas 2
The most recent format above was updated in the latter part of 2013. You may read the full announcement here.

Application (R1)

Candidates apply for certification online. The cost to apply for certification and take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) is $129. Candidates and CPhTs who misrepresent their eligibility, or violate PTCB’s policies, may be subject to discipline. Candidates who successfully apply will be authorized to schedule an exam appointment.

Authorization to Test (R2)

Once an application is approved, candidates will be authorized to schedule and take the PTCE. The authorization to schedule period for candidates is 90 days. The authorization to schedule period for sponsored candidates may differ, as determined by the sponsor. If the authorization period expires before a candidate takes the exam, they will forfeit all fees and must reapply to take the exam (See Withdrawing an Application). Candidates have 30 days from the application submission date to submit supporting documentation (e.g., conduct disclosure, special accommodations). After 30 days, candidates with incomplete applications will receive a refund of any application fees paid, less an administrative fee of $25.

PTCE Exam (R2)

The PTCE is a computer-based exam administered at Pearson VUE test centers nationwide. The PTCE is a two-hour, multiple-choice, exam that contains 90 questions: 80 scored questions and 10 unscored questions. Each question lists four possible answers, only one of which is the correct or best answer. Unscored questions are not identified and are randomly distributed throughout the exam. A candidate’s exam score is based on the responses to the 80 scored questions. One hour and 50 minutes are allotted for answering the exam questions and 10 minutes for a tutorial and post-exam survey. Over 620,000 individuals have taken the PTCE, and the passing rate is approximately 75%.

Exam Score (R2)

A panel of subject-matter experts established a passing score for the PTCE using industry best practices. The method used by the panel, as directed by a psychometrician, is the modified-Angoff method. This method requires experts (panel members) to evaluate individual test questions and estimate the percentage of qualified pharmacy technicians that would be able to answer correctly. These estimates were analyzed for consistency and averaged to produce the passing score. The passing score and all candidate results are reported as scaled scores. The passing scaled score for the PTCE is 650. The range of possible PTCE scores is 300 to 900.

Exam Appointment (R2)

Candidates authorized to schedule, make appointments directly with Pearson VUE online anytime by visiting Candidate may also call (866) 902-0593 between 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday, to schedule an appointment. Candidates will receive a confirmation email after scheduling an appointment. It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure the time, date, and location listed on the confirmation email accurately reflects their selection. The PTCE is currently available at over 235 Pearson VUE test centers nationwide. To find the closest one, visit the Pearson VUE website and click “Locate a Test Center” or call (866) 902-0593. Most test centers are open Monday through Saturday, during normal business hours.


R1 = – Apply for Certification

R2 = – Certification Guidelines and Requirements: A Candidate Guidebook

ExCPT Registration and Scheduling

Note: External link(s) below go to page(s) & document(s) on

Exam Percent Breakdown (R3)

  1. Regulations and Pharmacy Duties ~35%
  2. Drugs and Drug Therapy ~11%
  3. Dispensing Process ~54%
DID YOU KNOW: The ExCPT Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) Detailed Test Plan contains a very extensive exam blueprint? Download or read the complete test plan in PDF format here.

Payment (R3)

The ExCPT costs $105 and is payable by credit card at the time the candidate registers online. Employers or schools may prepay for a specified number of candidates by making arrangements directly with their NHA account manager. Registered candidates who need to change an exam time for any reason must contact the PSI/LaserGrade call center at least 24 hours in advance to reschedule or cancel an exam without penalty.

Notification by Candidate of Cancellation of Scheduled Exam (R3)

Candidates who are unable to take the ExCPT at the scheduled time should notify PSI/LaserGrade at least 24 hours in advance to avoid penalties. Refunds are not provided but credit will be given for a future exam appointment. If an exam appointment is NOT cancelled by the candidate at least 24 hours before taking the exam or the candidate does not arrive during the scheduled time, the exam fee will be forfeited. Cancellation notices will only be accepted from the candidate; employers, family members or other individuals may not request a cancellation on behalf of candidates. An exception to this rule may be made by an employer who originally registered the candidate with PSI/LaserGrade and directly paid the examination fee.

ExCPT Exam (R3)

Candidates have two hours to answer 110 multiple-choice questions. Each question has four choices. One question is presented on the screen at a time. Candidates may mark the answers or they can skip questions and come back later. Final answers are submitted when the candidate indicates that he or she is finished. The exam is graded by the PSI/LaserGrade computer system and the candidate is given results immediately. A demonstration of the computer format used for exams administered by PSI/LaserGrade is shown on the PSI/LaserGrade website ( A brief practice/ demonstration session is available for candidates to practice on the computer before the exam actually starts.

Scoring (R3)

The passing score is established by the NHA ExCPT Expert Panel based on a standard of performance that experts in the profession have determined are acceptable for this certification program. With this method, each exam item is independently assessed by each panel member in terms of how likely minimally adequate or competent candidates (i.e., those who would barely meet mastery standards) would correctly answer that item. The panelists’ ratings are averaged to determine the passing score (also known as the “cut score”). The overall passing score is the mean of the individual ratings adjusted for the standard error of measurement and converted to a scaled score. The passing score for the ExCPT is a scaled score of 390 out of 500 possible.

Information Required (R3)

Candidates must give their full name, address, telephone number, email address (if applicable) and demographic information such as date of birth and gender. Candidates should also indicate whether they qualify for special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. (See Pages 19-20). These data are used to analyze test results and produce reports. Date of birth also helps verify identification at the test center.

Completion of registration form (R3)

The ExCPT is offered over 310 days per year at PSI/LaserGrade Testing Centers throughout the United States. Candidates may register by completing pre-registration on the website, followed by calling the PSI/LaserGrade toll-free number 1-800-211-2754 to arrange a test date, time and location. By providing a zip code, the candidate will be informed of the closest PSI/LaserGrade Testing Centers. Alternatively, these locations can be found on the Web at Exams can usually be taken within 24 to 48 hours of contacting PSI.


R3 = – PDF ExCPT Pharmacy Technician National Healthcareer Association NHA Candidate Handbook

NEXT: 03 Exam Day 👉 👈 PREVIOUS: 01 Prerequisite Information 🏠 Certification Exam Review