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National Certification Exam Comparisons

Post: May 3, 2018


When the time comes for future pharmacy technicians to take the national certification exam, most states offer the option to take the PTCB's exam the PTCE or the NHA's ExCPT. This hasn't always been the case.

Not familiar with those acronyms? Here's a breakdown:

PTCB = Pharmacy Technician Certification Board

PTCE = Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam

NHA = National Healthcareer Association

ExCPT = Exam for Certification of Pharmacy Technicians

The Texas State Board of Pharmacy unanimously voted in February of 2017 to accept the ExCPT Exam as a national certification test for its pharmacy technicians. This started a ripple effect throughout the United States, possibly influencing the PTCB's decision to rescind its previous requirement that all technicians will have to be trained by an ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists) accredited program beginning in 2020.

During the past few years, the NHA has worked diligently to get the ExCPT exam to become accepted in the United States alongside the PTCE. In the midst of becoming an option in most states, the NHA also reworked the ExCPT - releasing it in February of 2018.

The PTCB is more established simply because it has been around longer. It is also in the process of reworking its exam, though the new one will not be released until 2020.

A recent evaluation of the two national certification exams by two third-party evaluators - at the request of the Texas Board of Pharmacy - scored the ExCPT exam higher than the PTCB's exam. These numbers signify that the ExCPT exam is not inferior because it is newer, but that the development and defensibility of the ExCPT scored above the PTCE.

The rumors floating around that the ExCPT is easier than the PTCB's exam are not true - the numbers don't lie.