My Experience with the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam

My Experience with the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam

Note: This article is written in the first person style, narrating my personal experience with the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). It aims to provide insights into the exam process and offer guidance to aspiring pharmacy technicians.


Becoming a certified pharmacy technician is an essential step towards a rewarding career in the pharmaceutical industry. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) is a rigorous assessment designed to test the knowledge and skills required for this role. Having recently completed the exam myself, I would like to share my experience and shed light on what the PTCE entails.

Want to learn more about the educational requirements and job prospects for Pharmacy Technicians? My article, ‘What do you need to be a Pharmacy Technician‘ has got you covered.

Lesson 1: Understanding the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam

The pharmacy technician certification exam serves as a standardized assessment that evaluates a candidate’s competence in various aspects of pharmacy practice. It measures their knowledge of pharmacy procedures, medication safety, pharmaceutical calculations, and pharmacology principles. The exam is administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), a leading organization responsible for certifying pharmacy technicians in the United States.

Lesson 2: Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam Format

The PTCE is a computer-based exam consisting of 90 multiple-choice questions. It is designed to be completed within two hours. The exam covers a wide range of topics, including pharmacy law and regulations, medication safety, inventory management, and pharmacy operations. Additionally, it tests candidates’ knowledge of medication dosage calculations, drug interactions, and pharmacy terminology.

Lesson 3: Exam Preparation

Preparing for the pharmacy technician certification exam requires a comprehensive study plan and dedication. To ensure success, I followed a structured approach that included the following steps:

  1. Reviewing Course Material: I revisited my pharmacy technician training program’s study material and focused on topics that were likely to appear on the exam. This involved understanding drug classes, learning common drug names, and familiarizing myself with pharmaceutical calculations.
  2. Practice Exams: I made extensive use of practice exams available online and in preparation books specifically designed for the PTCE. These practice exams allowed me to simulate the actual exam conditions and identify areas where I needed further improvement.
  3. Study Groups and Discussions: Collaborating with fellow pharmacy technician students and professionals through study groups and online forums provided a valuable opportunity to exchange knowledge, clarify doubts, and gain insights from different perspectives.
  4. Utilizing Study Resources: I made use of various study resources such as textbooks, flashcards, and online educational platforms to supplement my understanding of the exam material. These resources offered in-depth explanations and examples to reinforce my knowledge.
  5. Time Management: Creating a study schedule and allocating specific time slots for each topic helped me stay organized and ensured that I covered all the necessary material before the exam.

Lesson 4: My Exam Experience

On the day of the exam, I arrived at the designated testing center feeling a mixture of nerves and excitement. The exam room was equipped with individual computer stations, and after checking in, I was assigned a seat. The proctor provided clear instructions and guidelines before the exam commenced.

As I began the PTCE, I found that the questions were well-structured and covered a wide range of topics. Some questions required direct recall of information, while others tested my ability to apply pharmacy knowledge to real-life scenarios. The time constraint added an extra layer of pressure, but I maintained a steady pace to ensure I had sufficient time for each question.

Throughout the exam, I reminded myself to carefully read each question and all available answer options before making a selection. Some questions required careful consideration, as multiple answer choices seemed plausible. I made use of the “mark for review” feature to flag questions that required additional thought, allowing me to revisit them later with a fresh perspective.

The PTCE is a computer-based exam with 90 multiple-choice questions. The questions cover a wide range of topics, including medication safety, pharmacy law and regulations, pharmacology, and pharmacy operations.

Benefits of passing Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam

  • Increased job opportunities: Many employers require their pharmacy technicians to be certified. This means that if you’re certified, you’ll have more job opportunities available to you.
  • Higher salary: Certified pharmacy technicians typically earn a higher salary than non-certified pharmacy technicians.
  • Increased knowledge and skills: The PTCE covers a wide range of topics, so passing the exam will help you to improve your knowledge and skills as a pharmacy technician.
  • Recognition of your skills: Becoming certified is a way to demonstrate your skills and knowledge to employers and patients.

How to prepare for Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam

  • Take a pharmacy technician training course: This is a great way to learn the basic skills and knowledge you need to pass the exam.
  • Study the PTCB’s Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam Guide: This guide contains a comprehensive overview of the topics covered on the exam.
  • Take practice exams: There are many practice exams available online and in print. Taking practice exams will help you to get familiar with the format of the exam and the types of questions that are asked.
  • Get enough sleep and eat a healthy breakfast on the day of the exam: This will help you to stay focused and alert during the exam.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I register for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam?

To register for the PTCE, you need to create an account on the PTCB website ( and complete the online application. Once your application is approved, you will receive an authorization to schedule (ATS) email, which contains instructions on how to select a testing center and schedule your exam.

2. What is the passing score for the PTCE?

The passing score for the PTCE is determined by the PTCB based on the difficulty level of the exam questions. Normally, the passing scaled score is 1400. It is important to note that the passing score may be subject to change, so it is advisable to visit the PTCB website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information.

3. How often is the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam offered?

The PTCE is available year-round at various testing centers across the United States. It is typically offered multiple times a week, allowing candidates to choose a convenient date and time for their exam. The PTCB website provides information on testing center locations and available exam dates.

4. Can I retake the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam if I do not pass?

Yes, if you do not pass the PTCE, you are eligible to retake the exam. However, there are specific waiting periods imposed by the PTCB before you can retake the exam. As of my knowledge cutoff date, the waiting period was 60 days from the date of your previous attempt. It is crucial to thoroughly review the exam content and focus on areas that require improvement before retaking the exam.


The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam is a vital step towards becoming a certified pharmacy technician. Through my personal experience, I have come to appreciate the exam’s rigor and the level of knowledge it assesses. Proper preparation, dedication, and a thorough understanding of pharmacy practice are essential for success in this exam. By pursuing certification, aspiring pharmacy technicians can enhance their career prospects and contribute to the safe and effective delivery of pharmaceutical care.


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