How Do You Get a CPhT?

Working in a pharmacy is a rewarding career that can help you be part of the medical industry without having to go to med school. To become a certified pharmacy tech, all you have to do is take a PTCB-recognized training program and pass a certification test that qualifies you to do your job. Once you pass the exam, you can start your new career as a certified pharmacy technician.

What is CPhT certification?

Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) certification is evidence that you have the knowledge to work as a pharmacy tech. As a CPhT, you work directly under a pharmacist in filling and preparing prescriptions for patients. 

How do I get my CPhT certification?

To earn your CPhT credential, you have to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). Once you pass the PTCB exam, you become a CPhT and are able to work as a certified pharmacy technician. 

As of January 1, 2020, you have to take a PTCB-recognized training program or have equivalent work experience (a minimum of 500 hours) in order to take the PTCE. CareerStep’s pharmacy technician training program is ASHP/ACPE accredited and recognized by PTCB as a program that qualifies you to sit for the PTCE and earn your CPhT credential. 

Career Step’s pharmacy technician online program not only prepares you with the book knowledge you need to pass the PTCE, it also prepares you with hands-on experience through a 130-hour externship. For your externship, you work in a pharmacy with other pharmacy technicians and pharmacists, gaining real-world experience to help bolster what you have learned in the program. 

For many, the best part of CareerStep’s program is the flexible schedule. The online program progresses as you complete it, and you can fit it into your busy life. Whether you work at it full time or you only have time during nights and weekends, the program is always open and ready for you to work through.

The goal of CareerStep’s program is to make sure you have the tools and skills you need to pass the PTCE at the pace you are most comfortable with. 

What happens if you fail the PTCB exam?

If you do not pass the PTCB exam to earn your CPhT, you can pay and reapply to take the exam a second or third try 60 days after your most recent attempt. If you fail on the third try, the wait time until your next exam is extended to six months. 

What is the pass rate for the PTCB exam?

Overall, the pass rate for the PTCE is 71%. Recently, that average has been dropping, with some of the average pass rates going as low as 57%. 

How many questions can I miss on the PTCB exam and still pass? 

On the PTCB exam, you’ll see 90 multiple-choice questions that you will have two hours to answer. Of those 90 questions, only 80 of them are scored. The ten questions  not scored are not indicated in any way while you take the exam, and it is always recommended to answer every question rather than gambling on the answer not being scored. 

The remaining 80 questions are scored through a modified-Angoff method. A board of professional pharmacy technicians are given the same test and are asked to provide estimates for each question of how a qualified pharmacy technician would respond. Through this method of scoring, each question is given a different weight in the final scoring process. 

Getting a question wrong that is heavily weighted can be significantly worse than getting a question wrong that is not as weighted. In theory, it’s possible to miss multiple questions and only lose a few points but still pass by getting correct answers on the heavily weighted questions.

Because of the scoring method the PTCE uses, there is no strict number of how many questions can be missed that would still allow a passing score of 1,400 on a scale between 1,000 and 1,600. It is recommended that you focus on trying to answer as many questions right as possible rather than focusing on how many you can get wrong.

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