Becoming a Pharmacy Technician

rows of pill bottles on a pharmacy shelf
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Tips for Passing the Pharmacy Technician Exam

Pharmacy technicians play an important role in health care, filling prescriptions by reviewing medication and dosage and mixing or compounding the ingredients. This rewarding career has 20 percent predicted job growth between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and can lead to work across the country in pharmacies, grocery and drug stores, and hospitals. 

To become a pharmacy technician in Texas, you need to take the computer-based Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. You will have one hour and 50 minutes to complete 90 multiple-choice questions, receiving a score between 300 and 900. You need a minimum of 650 to pass, but questions are worth different amounts of points according to the number of qualified pharmacy technicians who should be able to answer correctly. The pharmacy technician test has a 75 percent pass rate, and, with proper preparation, you too can be successful.  

Content of the Pharmacy Technician Test ‘The exam is divided into nine different “knowledge domains.” These are:

  • Pharmacology for technicians
  • Pharmacy law and regulations
  • Sterile and non-sterile compounding
  • Medication safety
  • Pharmacy quality assurance
  • Medication order entry and fill process
  • Pharmacy inventory management
  • Pharmacy billing and reimbursement
  • Pharmacy information systems usage and application

  How to Study for the Test


You will increase your chances of passing the test if you take a course specifically designed to prepare you for the certification. In these programs, you study all nine of knowledge areas in depth along with skills needed for the job, such as keyboarding, computer applications, and pharmacy operations and procedures.


There are a variety of materials available on the Internet that can help you prepare for the test. These include study guides, free practice tests, and practice exams available for purchase offered through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). You should also check out this list of flashcards to revise pharmaceutical terms that could crop up in your exam.

Study Methods

Allocate time to study daily, including a combination of individual study and group study with other students from your course. Studying with others is a great way to discuss topics and test yourself, as being able to explain a concept to someone else is a sign that you understand it well. When studying at home alone, create a well-lit space free from distraction and stick to your schedule. Taking as many practice exams as possible is another great way to prepare. This gives you the chance to familiarize yourself with the wording of questions and the setup of the exam; plus, you may discover that there are particular areas that you need to revisit. As you study, take practice tests at regular intervals to check that your progress is up to scratch. Lastly, read back through the materials that you covered in your course. Highlight any points that you had forgotten in your notes or textbooks, and come back to them right before the exam to ensure that you remember them now.  

Retaking the Test

If you fail the test the first time, there is no need to worry. You may retake the exam up to four times, waiting 60 days between the first two retries and six months after your third attempt. However, if you use all the materials at your disposal, including a course to prepare you for the certification, you should be able to pass straight away.   If you are looking to take and pass this test you’re in for a long road. The process of studying, preparing, and taking the test can be daunting. The more important thing to do, rather than being confused by specific actions, is to set up a method to succeed. By preparing a strategy which includes the way you will study, how you will set aside the time and money for study materials, and other overarching aspects of the process you set yourself up for success. Creating a plan, and following it, is the first step to achieving this dream.

Want to learn more about how National Certifications might help you in today’s job market?

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