How To Study for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exams
Many states require that pharmacy technicians pass an examination testing their skills before they can become certified and begin working. There are two big exams, the PTCE and the ExCPT. Aspiring pharmacy technicians can take either exam. Before registering, it’s a good idea to check and see which one your state accepts.
Studying for the PTCE Exam
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam, or PTCE, is the most common test that you must pass in order to begin working as a pharmacy technician. It is recognized in every state, and for a long time it was the only exam available to test the knowledge of pharmacy technicians. It costs $129 to register for the examination. The exam is offered year round at Pearson testing facilities. It is computer based, not paper based, which means that results are available immediately after you take the exam.
The exam tests candidates’ knowledge in three ways: helping the pharmacist serve customers (around seventy percent of the exam), keeping drug and stock control systems in order (around twenty percent), and assisting with the administration and management of a pharmacy’s practice (around ten percent). This corresponds nicely with pharmacy technicians’ most common duties, which are administrative in nature. Be sure to study your math before taking this exam, as the math questions (which usually relate to dosage calculations) are usually the trickiest part of the test for most people.
Studying for the ExCPT Exam
This is the other exam that you can take to prove that you can do the job. It only costs $105 to register for this one, and many people think that this exam is the easier one to pass, too. For this reason, a lot of pharmacy techs take this exam. But beware. This exam is newer, and many states still do not recognize it. It’s fine to only take this one, and not the other, but only if you are sure that your state and future employers recognize it. If you want to be sure that your exam scores will get you certified in any state, the PTCE is still the better choice.
There are many different ways to prepare for both examinations. Some people simply buy preparation materials, and study on their own for a few weeks. These prep materials are available at the website for either exam board, as well as at major bookstores (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Ebay are all good places to look). Some people manage to pass the exams just fine on their own. Those who are not self-motivated learners, or people who want to get hands-on experience before seeking certification, should consider enrolling in a pharmacy technology training program. These are available online, or at your local community college. The average pharmacy tech program lasts twelve months, and covers everything you might need to know for the exam.