Both the PTCE (Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam) and the ExCPT (Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians) are exams which test a student’s ability to perform a pharmacy technician’s daily tasks. Students answer a series of questions regarding practical topics and current theories of medicine. Also, both are provided by accredited organizations and upon passing either exam an individual earns the designation of a Nationally Certified Pharmacy Technician. Meaning they can perform throughout the state of Virginia as a Certified Pharmacy Technician.
So, what is the difference of the two?
The PTCB exam has been around much longer than the ExCPT. The PTCB was established in 1995 by the American Pharmacists Association; American Society of Health-System Pharmacists; Illinois Council of Health-System Pharmacists; and Michigan Pharmacists Association.
Issued by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board the PTCB exam consists of 90 questions, of which 80 are scored, leaving 10 pretest questions. Each question is shown with four possible answers, only one of which is the correct or best answer. Participants are given an hour and 50 minutes to answer the exam questions; with an additional 10 minutes being allotted for a tutorial and post-exam survey.
The ExCPT was established in 2002 by the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT). It has always been electronic and is probably the reason the PTCB decided to go digital.
Issued by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) the ExCPT exam consists of 100 questions, 20 of which are not scored. The exam is 52% about the dispensing process, 25% regulations and technician duties, and 23% drugs and drug therapy. Participants of the ExCPT are given two hours and ten minutes to complete the exam.
You will find that most Pharmacy Technician programs like Building Blocks Services Learning Center’s Pharmacy Technician Course, prepares their students for both the PTCB and ExCPT. In most cases, however, it is argued that the PTCB is the best to have. This is because many people believe that there are more difficult drug questions and math equations on the PTCE. Therefore, it is a common belief that if a person can successfully pass the PTCE, they will most likely be a qualified employee. There is no evidence, however, to suggest that one exam is more difficult than the other. Even though both of the PTCE and ExCPT are the equivalent in a legal sense, there are still not looked upon that way by many potential employers and in many states.
Students should often decide the exam to take based on where they want to be employed and what requirements they require must be met. ExCPT is most used in retail and chain stores while the PTCE is used more throughout hospitals and clinics.