Let’s clear something first. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) is not the name of the exam. Whenever we mention the PTCB exam in this article, it refers to the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). PTCB is the certification board that conducts 12 knowledge and assessment-based certifications in the US to allow individuals to work as pharmacy technicians.
The certifications include 3 national programs. Such as:
Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT)
To earn a CPhT certification, applicants, after meeting eligibility criteria, are required to get a passing score on the PTCB exam. To deem your certificate active, you need to recertify yourself every 2 years.
Certified Compound Sterile Preparation Technician (CSPT)
CPhT-certified individuals can appear for the CSPT certification to demonstrate their skills in compound sterile preparation and commitment to safety.
Advanced Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT-Adv)
Certified technicians, who have completed at least four of the certification programs, and have 3 years of experience, can appear for the advanced certified pharmacy technical courses.
And 9 assessment-based certifications. Such as:
- Billing and Reimbursement
- Controlled Substance Diversion Prevention
- Hazardous Drug Management
- Immunization Administration
- Medication History
- Medication Therapy Management
- Point-of-Care Testing
- Regulatory Compliance
- Technician Product Verification
Do You Need to Prepare for the PTCB Exam?
PTCB exam requires you to be sound on 4 knowledge domains that include
- Federal laws surrounding healthcare
- Patient safety procedures
- Order processing.
We’re sorry for being the bearers of bad news, but you must prepare for the PTCB exams to get comprehensive knowledge of all 4 domains.
PTCB has an average pass rate of 72% from 1995 to 2021 with a major dip of 58% from 2014 to 2019. Although it has again gone up since the pandemic, there’s no guarantee that the numbers are gonna stay high.
If you are serious about being a healthcare technician, studying and revising the syllabus before appearing for the actual and PTCB practice tests is critical. However, you need to plan your preparation long before taking the first practice test.
How to Prepare for the PTCB Exam?
Everyone has their own distinct way to prepare for an examination. But the main difference between PTCB exams and other competitive exams is that PTCB acknowledges experience as a contributing factor. As PTCB isn’t mandatory if you already have experience working in the healthcare sector, your chances of getting certified increase a lot more.
Familiarize Yourself With the PTCB Exam Patterns
New revised syllabus of PTCB was introduced on January 1, 2020. From that point on, the 9 knowledge domain system was changed to become a 4 knowledge domain exam. Now, PTCB mainly focuses on medication and technician practices.
The syllabus is distributed among the 4 knowledge domains as per their importance. The medication domain, understandably, holds 40% weightage. Followed by patient safety (26.25%), order processing (21.25%), and federal requirements (12.5%).
90 multiple-choice questions are asked during 110 minutes. Of which, math and medicine play important roles. The number of math questions you may get depends on the question set.
A scaled system ranging between 1000-1600 is used to score the applicants. You must earn at least 1400 to get certified.
Gather PTCB Study Materials
It’s easier to crack the exam if you have study materials that are designed for the PTCB exam itself. Medical Hero study materials are precisely developed with PTCB exams in mind. The top medications, allergic reactions, proper storage, dosage, and math problems are provided in the study materials for your convenience.
Study materials are a one-stop solution for your PTCB exam. They save you from gathering the information yourself. They also offer solutions that are fast and accurate. If you take the long route, you might be able to solve the problems, but at the expense of precious time.
A comprehensive study guide and practice questions are also provided with the best study materials.
Make a Study Strategy
The smart study is the way to earn your PTCB certificate. If you indulge yourself in studying about the federal requirement 8 hours a day, you miss more important domains like medications and patient safety. Strategize your study plan depending on the weightage that a domain holds.
If you can study for 6 hours each day, devote 2 hours to medications, 1.5 hours each to patient safety and order processing, and the rest to federal laws. The more online classes and assessments you enroll yourself in and take, the better chance you have of passing.
If you can’t manage to take on every domain each day, break down the week according to the same ratio. But, cramming the same kind of information over and over again for a whole day makes it hard for you to remember the key takeaways.
Make a Schedule
Fall into a schedule as soon as possible. Train yourself to follow a routine every day until it becomes a habit. Making a schedule and sticking to it prepares your brain to accept and memorize information that it wouldn’t do otherwise.
When making a schedule, don’t make one then you don’t follow. If you already have a job, design the schedule around it. Don’t let your plans influence it. If you are planning to leave the job to focus more on the PTCB exam, change your schedule after you’ve left the job, not before.
Study in Short Spans
Studying for more than 2 hours continuously decreases the concentration span and you start to tire rapidly. Take necessary breaks between your study times and get back to the course once you’ve been able to settle down.
Take Official PTCB Practise Test
Official PTCB practice tests are paid mock tests that provide you with the same online exam structure and questions that have already been asked. The PTCB practice tests cost $29 each and feature the same 90-question pattern and 110-minute time limit. Although the sets aren’t scored, you can see the correctness of each question after you’ve completed the exam.
The Bottom Line
Despite PTCB certification not being mandatory, it’s been becoming a requirement for an increasing number of medical job profiles. Your chances of earning a PTCB certificate grow with the time devoted to the study material and the extent of your preparation. Follow the above-mentioned points to pass the exam on the first try.