PTCB Practice Test 2021- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board

What is the PTCE?


Healthcare is a significant part of society. Because of this, there needs to be careful consideration for healthcare professionals. There are various professions in this industry. One such would be pharmacy technicians.

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) has complete authority over the certification program for pharmacy technicians. It created the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination (PTCE). 

What is PTCB certification?

PTCE is a test that determines whether pharmacy technicians have the necessary knowledge and expertise to work in the field. Through the PTCB certification, there would be an assurance as to their credibility. 

Once the application requirements are met, and the PTCE is complete, the pharmacy technician will acquire the title, “CPhT” or certified pharmacy technician. As CPhTs, you have the responsibility to report for review any violations regarding drugs or pharmacy to the PTCB.

What is a pharmacy technician?  

Pharmacy technicians are people who work under the supervision of pharmacists. They are tasked with a lot of things from prescribing medicines to collecting and organizing medical information. They also work in different places such as hospitals, pharmacies, drug stores, etc.

How to become a pharmacy technician?

There are two ways to become a pharmacy technician; you can either do formal training or on-the-job training. Most states prefer for pharmacy technicians to have high school diplomas or received formal education such as postsecondary education programs. They can apply for pharmacy technician schools or go to vocational schools or colleges that offer the course. 

Furthermore, they can do on-the-job training, which doesn’t require formal training or a postsecondary education program. There are approved pharmacies and drugstores that can provide the training for them. Also, some schools even coordinate with retail drugstores for students to have hands-on experiences. They must have the necessary computer, math, and even interpersonal skills. They are evaluated and taught by the pharmacists they work with, and it is complete when they are knowledgeable enough to pass the licensure examination.    

What skills are required to be a pharmacy technician?

Obtaining your pharmacy technician certification means that you are officially a CPhT. CPhTs have a lot of jobs to do. Working in the healthcare industry means that you have to be supervised by a licensed or registered pharmacist. You can either work in hospitals, retail pharmacies, third-party insurance providers, healthcare facilities, drug manufacturers, among others. Here is a list of some pharmacy technician jobs:

  • Manage inventories of drug supplies
  • Prepare, package, and label drugs for prescriptions
  • Dispense prescription drugs to patients
  • Teach patients how to use their medical devices
  • Collect patients’ information
  • Over-the-counter duties
  • Manage medical records

Those are just some of the pharmacy tech jobs. There are still various things you can do, but there are also some that you are not authorized to do:

  • Make decisions that require judgment about drugs, and preparation and interpretation of prescriptions
  • Make use of the telephone when taking on new prescriptions or chart orders
  • Dispense prescriptions (unless verified by a pharmacist)

Format and Content PTCB of the Exam:

What is the test type for the pharmacy technician test?

The PTCE makes use of the multiple-choice test type. It consists of four possible options for each of the questions. There are 90 questions and 10 of which are unscored. Those unscored items are for surveys and exam tutorials. 

How long does it take to answer the exam?

It is a computer-based exam that lasts for two hours or approximately 120 minutes. The actual answering of the 80 scored items must be taken in 110 minutes. The rest of the other 10 minutes would be for those that are not credited. 

What is the content of the pharmacy technician exam?

The PTCB has updated the content outline of the PTCE. Before it only tackled three main general areas: Assisting the Pharmacist in Serving Patients (66%), Maintaining Medication and Inventory Control Systems (22%), and Participating in the Administration and Management of Pharmacy Practice (12%). Now, it has an updated content outline that will be effective on January 1, 2020.

SubjectDescriptionPercentage of the Content
  • Classification of Medications
  • Generic and Brand names for Medicines
  • Medication side effects and allergies
  • Appropriate Storage of Medications
  • Drug Stability
  • NTI medications
Federal Requirements
  • For disposing of and taking care of hazardous, non-hazardous, and other waste
  • For Controlled prescriptions
  • For Controlled substances
  • FDA recall conditions
Patient Safety and Quality Assurance
  • Risk and LASA medications
  • Strategies for error prevention
  • Pharmacist intervention issues
  • Procedures that must-have event reporting
  • The different kinds of prescription errors
  • Standards for Cleanliness and Hygiene
Order Entry and Processing
  • Compound and non-sterile products procedures
  • The required procedures, terminology, formula, etc. for doses, days supply, dilutions, and more
  • Drug administration supplies
  • NDC numbers, dates of expirations, and lot numbers
  • Returning non-dispensable, dispensable, or expired medications procedures and identification

In addition to that, the PTCB national certification also focuses on nine knowledge domains:

Knowledge Domain% of PTCE
Pharmacology for Technicians 13.75
Pharmacy Law and Regulations 12.5
Sterile and Non-sterile Compounding8.75
Medication Safety12.5
Pharmacy Quality Assurance 7.5
Medication Order Entry and Fill Process17.5
Pharmacy Inventory Management8.75
Pharmacy Billing and Reimbursement8.75
Pharmacy Information Systems Usage and Application10

Now you can implement all the necessary things like a real exam that we described by practicing our sample PTCB Practice Test 

Pharmacy Technician Practice Test (PTCB)- 1
Pharmacy Technician Practice Test (PTCB)- 2
Pharmacy Technician Practice Test (PTCB)- 3
Pharmacy Technician Practice Test (PTCB)- 4
Pharmacy Technician Practice Test (PTCB)- 5

How is the scoring computed?

For high stakes exams, testing companies make use of scaled scores and equating. It is for a fair and accurate scoring. The PTCB exam is a multiple choice type, which means that out of the four choices, there is only one correct answer. The raw score, which is the number of questions you have answered correctly, is then converted to a standardized scale. 

Since PTCB uses various and different forms every year, the level of difficulty may fluctuate. That is why scaled scores and equating are essential. With the use of statistical equating, the different PTCE forms’ scores are calibrated on a scale. It will make certain that regardless of the fluctuations in difficulty, the candidates will obtain almost the same scaled scores.       

What is the passing score for the PTCB exam?

The scaled passing score for the PTCE is 1400. It has a range of possible scores of 1000 to 1600. A panel of experts also dictates it. They use the modified-Angoff method, which means that they have to discern individual items and determine how many pharmacy technicians would be able to give the correct answers. These are then analyzed and averaged to get the passing score.  

PTCE Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between PTCE and ExCPT?

Most states require national pharmacy technician certification. Two national organizations offer it: the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT). The former, as previously mentioned, offers the PTCE while the latter provides the ExCPT or the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians. 

Both exams are quite similar, but there are a few differences. Both of them are computer-based and multiple-choice type, but the number of questions and time limit differ. For ExCPT, it is composed of 120 questions and 20 of which are pretest questions or uncredited items. It also takes two hours and ten minutes. 

Furthermore, the questions for ExCPT fall under three general areas, which are: Regulations and Technician Duties, Drugs and Drug Products, and The Dispensing Process. When you compare it to PTCE, the PTCB exam consists of 90 questions, 10 of which are unscored, the content is organized into nine domains and, lastly, it takes two hours.

How much is a pharmacy technician’s salary?

As a CPhT, you get to have more earnings and opportunities as compared to other non-certified pharmacy technicians. Being a CPhT means that you are credible and more employers would prefer to hire you. It is because it is considered that your certification indicates a high quality of service. 

A pharmacy technician’s pay differs because of various factors. Factors affect a pharmacy tech salary such as geographical location, educational background, and the kind of employer that the tech has. The average pay would be around $20,000 and more, and the highest would be approximately $40,000 and more. Five top states offer the highest salary: District of Columbia, Washington, Alaska, California, and Hawaii, respectively. 

What are the eligibility requirements to be a CPhT?  

For you to be able to become a CPhT, you must be able to have these requirements:

  • Before what was needed was a high school diploma or an equivalent diploma. But now, the PTCB has updated the requirement. For 2020, the candidate must also have the following attestations aside from the diploma:
  • The candidate must have completed a PTCB-recognized education or training program. Programs that the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists/Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ASHP/ACPE) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) have accredited will not be required to submit a Program Attestation. But for those that are not credited by them, then they need to provide one.  
  • Or, if you have not attended a program that is PTCB-recognized, then you can have the alternative of work experience as a pharmacy technician. It should be a minimum of 500 hours. 
  • You must give full disclosure of all your criminal records and State Board of Pharmacy registration or licensure actions.
  • You must give compliance to all the regulations and policies of the PTCB.
  • You must have a passing score on the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)

What does it take for your PTCB national certification to be disqualified or revoked?

As a CPhT, you must follow certain rules and regulations. You are supposed to uphold values and not taint your professional reputation. Three violations might revoke or disqualify your PTCB certification:

  • The candidate was involved in criminal conduct.
  • There were State Board of Pharmacy registration or licensure actions that included the candidate.
  • The candidate violated PTCB Certification policies that are including but not limited to the Code of Conduct. 

Know More:

Pharmacy Technician Jobs and Salary
Pharmacy Technician Resume
Pharmacy Technician Interview Questions
Pharmacy Technician Programs
Pharmacy Technician Continuing Education
Pharmacy Technician Requirements

PTCE Registration, Costs, and Policies

What should you do to take the PTCB exam?

First step. The candidates should create a PTCB account and apply online. The cost to take the exam is $129. Also, the candidate must have completed a PTCB-recognized education or training program. If you can’t attend one, then you can have the alternative of a minimum of 500 hours of work experience being a pharmacy technician. 

Second step. Submit your application. You have 30 days, and if you neglect to do it within that period, then your payment will be refunded. Although the administrative fees, which is $25, will be deducted.

Third step. Schedule your exam appointment. The scheduling permit is only good for 90 days.

Fourth step. The candidates should prepare for the PTCE. They can take PTCB practice tests, prep courses, and PTCB study guides. It is to ensure that they have adequately reviewed all the necessary subjects and topics to get their PTCB certification.   

What should you bring for the PTCE?

You must bring your government-issued photo ID because you are not allowed to take the exam without one. You should not have any personal items in your person. They will be left in a secure area. It is advisable that you do not bring valuables because the testing center won’t be responsible for their safety. Furthermore, do not bring any writing instruments because the test administrator will provide those for you. 

When will you receive your scores?

You can access your test scores in about 1 to 3 weeks through your account by going online to the PTCB login page, or it is emailed to your address. You can also appeal your failed score through hand scoring. You have to pay $50 to have it rescored. It takes four to six weeks to process it. It is also rare that the panels change scaled scores.

Can you retake the PTCB exam?

Yes, you can. The PTCB exam has a retake policy. If you don’t have a passing score, then you must wait 60 days from the first attempt to take the second and third. For the next few attempts, then you must wait for six months. The same testing fee is required. But if you still fail four times, then you are required to show evidence of acceptable remediation that is done after the final testing attempt. 

Where can you take the PTCE?

You can apply for it, and you can then schedule your exam either through online or call Pearson VUE at (866) 902-0593). The PTCB exam is administered at Pearson Vue test centers across the U.S and also military centers. Your scheduling permit is also only for 90 days. 

How can you contact the PTCB?

For any of your questions and inquiries, you can visit their official website at, or you can contact the PTCB phone number, which is 1-800-363-8012.

What are the PTCB exam dates?

The PTCE is actually offered all throughout the year at Pearson VUE test centers. It means that there is no limited number for scheduling your exam dates. You just have to view available exam appointments and schedule your desired time and date after your application for the PTCE is approved. Usually, test centers offer them Mondays to Fridays, and a few offer it on Saturdays. As previously mentioned, you have 90 days to schedule your date. 

If you want to find Pearson VUE test center locations that offer the PTCB exam near you, you can visit this link: 

How can you verify your PTCB Certification status?

PTCB verification requires you to log in to your account at You can also fill out the search form in this link PTCB Credential Status Verification. Any of the following information might show up for your possible status. 

Active: Currently certified. 

Expired: Not currently certified, but eligible for reinstatement. 

Uncertified: Not certified and must reapply.

Suspended: Not certified. Certification is suspended.

Revoked: Not certified. Certification has been revoked.

What is PTCB renewal?

Most states regulate their pharmacy technicians. That is why the PTCB requires recertification. It happens every two years and starts from the tech’s certification date. Moreover, it requires CPhTs to have a continuing education related to pharmacy technology for a total of 20 hours. One hour of it must be allotted for Pharmacy Law, and another hour is for Patient Safety.

At Target, how much are the pharmacy technicians paid?

On average, pharmacy technicians at Target get paid $14/hour. It usually ranges from $11 to $18. If you factor in the bonuses and other compensations, pharmacy technicians at Target earn at least an annual salary of $29,345.

At Walgreens, how much are the pharmacy technicians paid? 

A pharmacy technician at Walgreens will earn an average of $12/hour. It ranges from $9 to $25. The annual salary for a typical Walgreens pharmacy tech would then be around $25,988. The bonuses and other compensations are included in it.   

Study Tips to get your PTCB certification

Tip #1: You should know the content outline first.

The PTCB has updated the content of the exam, and it now focuses on nine knowledge domains. You must find PTCE study guides and practice tests to help you review your knowledge about these domains. 

Tip #2: You should know more about the exam format.

All exams can be accessed online at Pearson VUE testing centers. You need to know that you have to finish it in two hours and that it is a multiple-choice type with 90 questions. It is so that you can balance your time as you go through the items.

Tip #3: You should go to a review course.

The most important thing, as previously mentioned, is to review the knowledge domains thoroughly and properly. You can sign-up in in-person reviews and prep courses. Through them, you would be able to study the domains as much as you can. 

Tip #4: You should take a PTCB practice test. Various websites offer free PTCB exam practice tests.

You should avail one of them because they would be able to provide you with a simulation of what the exam is all about. You can practice on your own online, and you will then be given suggestions regarding the answers you have provided. Through practice tests, you will be better equipped in taking and acing the PTCB exam

To understand the importance of practice tests, you can answer these multiple-choice questions from The Learning Express: Pharmacy Technician Exam.

1. What type of tip will you find on a syringe meant to hold a needle in place?

  1. luer lock
  2. glass
  3. slip-tip
  4. Reusable

2. Of the following drug classifications, which one would the drug fluoxetine be found in?

  1. H2 receptor blocker
  2. beta-blockers
  3. SSRI
  4. ACE inhibitors

3. Which category of the drug would be indicated for the treatment of pain?

  1. antitussive
  2. analgesic
  3. antipyretic
  4. antihyperlipidemic

4.Tenormin® or atenolol would be in which classification of drug?

  1. proton pump inhibitors
  2. angiotensin 2 receptor blockers (ARBs)
  3. ACE inhibitors
  4. beta-blockers

Tip #5: Find other sources to help you.

 You can get more information and help from other sources. Aside from free PTCB practice tests, free PTCB practice exams, in review and prep courses, you can also opt to use PTCB study quizzes and PTCB exam study guides to help you. Here are some links that can prove to be beneficial to you: