The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) has updated its certification exam (called the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam or PTCE), which is delivered at test centers nationwide. The revised PTCE will become effective November 1st, however, those who apply to write the exam prior to this date will write the current PTCE.
How Were the PTCB Updates Made?
The changes to the exam were made based on the PTCB’s Job Analysis Study, which was completed in February 2012. The study surveyed 25,712 pharmacy technicians across the entire country and in all types of practice settings. “Consistent with industry best practices and National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) standards, PTCB evaluates the evolution of pharmacy technician roles by conducting this study on a regular basis,” states a PTCB press release from August 27, 2013. “Based on the newest data collected, PTCB analyzed the requirements of the occupation to update the PTCE.”
The study served to further define the role of pharmacy technicians in real-world settings. Data on pharmacy tech skills, knowledge and career tasks were collected and analyzed to develop a new outline for the PTCE.
A Comparison between the Current and New PTCE
Just like the current certification exam, the new PTCE will have 90 multiple choice questions.
While the current test has three knowledge areas (“Assisting the Pharmacist in Serving Patients,” “Maintaining Medication and Inventory Control Systems,” & “Participating in the Administration and Management of Pharmacy Practice,”) the updated exam will have nine domains. However, the new PTCE will still be “very similar” to the current format, states the PTCB’s Important Updates to the PTCE page. “The vast majority of knowledge statements in the current blueprint are covered by one or more of the knowledge areas in the updated PTCE blueprint.”
One change apparent on the PTCB’s new exam is there being more of a focus on information systems (relevant to the pharmacy setting) and safe medication practices.
The nine new PTCE knowledge domains, (in order of % coverage on the exam) are:
- Medication Order Entry and Fill Process (17.50%)
- Pharmacology for Technicians (13.75%)
- Pharmacy Law and Regulations (12.50%)
- Medication Safety (12.50%)
- Pharmacy Information Systems Usage and Application (10.00%)
- Sterile and Non-Sterile Compounding (8.75%)
- Pharmacy Inventory Management (8.75%)
- Pharmacy Billing and Reimbursement (8.75%)
- Pharmacy Quality Assurance (7.50 %)