PTCB Test Breakdown

PTCB Certification Exam Review

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCB) determines whether individuals have demonstrated the knowledge and skills necessary in order to practice as a pharmacy technician. If you’re wanting to become a pharmacy technician, you will first need to pass the PTCB exam. Use our free PTCB practice questions to get started.

PTCB Certification Exam


PTCB Exam Study Course

PTCB Certification Review

Exam Administration
PTCB Exam Length
• 2 hours to complete
• 90 questions long (multiple-choice)
• 10 pre-test questions which do not count for or against final score

PTCB Secrets Study Guide
PTCB Secrets Study Guide

Distribution of Content for the PTCB Exam
• 13.75% – Pharmacology for Technicians
• 12.50% – Pharmacology Law and Regulations
• 8.75% – Sterile and Non-Sterile Compounding
• 12.50% – Medication Safety
• 7.50% – Pharmacy Quality Assurance
• 17.50% – Medication Order Entry and Fill Process
• 8.75% – Pharmacy Inventory Management
• 8.75% – Pharmacy Billing and Reimbursement
• 10.00% – Pharmacy Information System Usage and Application

Overview of the PTCB Exam Content

1.Pharmacology for Technicians
• Generic and brand names of pharmaceuticals• Therapeutic equivalence
• Drug interactions (e.g., drug-disease, drug-drug, drug-dietary supplement, drug, OTC, drug-laboratory, drug-nutrient)
• Strengths/dose, dosage forms, physical appearance, routes of administration, and duration of drug therapy
• Common and severe side or adverse effects, allergies, and therapeutic contraindications associated with medications
• Dosage and indication of legend, OTC medications, herbal and dietary supplements

PTCB Flashcard Study System
PTCB Flashcard Study System

2. Pharmacy Law and Regulations
• Storage, handling, and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes (e.g., MSDS) • Hazardous substances exposure, prevention and treatment (e.g., eyewash, spill kit, MSDS)
• Controlled substance transfer regulations (DEA)
• Controlled substance documentation requirements for receiving, ordering, returning, loss/theft, destruction (DEA)
• Formula to verify the validity of a prescriber’s DEA number (DEA)
• Record keeping, documentation, and record retention (e.g., length of time prescriptions are maintained on file)
• Restricted drug programs and related prescription-processing requirements (e.g., thalidomide, isotretinoin, clozapine)
• Professional standards related to data integrity, security, and confidentiality (e.g., HIPAA, backing up and archiving)
• Requirement for consultation (e.g., OBRA’90)
• FDA’s recall classification
• Infection control standards (e.g., laminar air flow, clean room, hand washing, cleaning counting trays, countertop, and equipment) (OSHA, USP 795 and 797) • Record keeping for repackaged and recalled products and supplies (TJC, BOP) • Professional standards regarding the roles and responsibilities of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and other pharmacy employees (TJC, BOP)
• Reconciliation between state and federal laws and regulations
• Facility, equipment, and supply requirements (e.g., space requirements, prescription file storage, cleanliness, reference materials) (TJC, USP, BOP)

3. Sterile and Non-Sterile Compounding
• Infection control (e.g., hand washing, PPE)
• Handling and disposal requirements (e.g., receptacles, waste streams) • Documentation (e.g., batch preparation, compounding record)
• Determine product stability (e.g., beyond use dating, signs of incompatibility) • Selection and use of equipment and supplies
• Sterile compounding processes
• Non-sterile compounding processes

4. Medication Safety
• Error prevention strategies for data entry (e.g., prescription or medication order to correct patient)
• Patient package insert and medication guide requirements (e.g., special directions and precautions)
• Identify issues that require pharmacist intervention (e.g., DUR, ADE, OTC recommendation, therapeutic substitution, misuse, missed dose)
• Look-alike/sound-alike medications
• High-alert/risk medications
• Common safety strategies (e.g., tall man lettering, separating inventory, leading and trailing zeros, limit use of error prone abbreviations)

5. Pharmacy Quality Assurance
• Quality assurance practices for medication and inventory control systems (e.g., matching National Drug Code (NDC) number, bar code, data entry)
• Infection control procedures and documentation (e.g., personal protective equipment [PPE], needle recapping)
• Risk management guidelines and regulations (e.g., error prevention strategies) • Communication channels necessary to ensure appropriate follow-up and problem resolution (e.g., product recalls, shortages)
• Productivity, efficiency, and customer satisfaction measures

6. Medication Order Entry and Fill Process
• Order entry process
• Intake, interpretation, and data entry
• Calculate doses required
• Fill process (e.g., select appropriate product, apply special handling requirements, measure, and prepare product for final check)
• Labeling requirements (e.g., auxiliary and warning labels, expiration date, patient specific information)
• Packaging requirements (e.g., type of bags, syringes, glass, pvc, child resistant, light resistant)
• Dispensing process (e.g., validation, documentation and distribution)

7. Pharmacy Inventory Management
• Function and application of NDC, lot numbers and expiration dates
• Formulary or approved/preferred product list
• Ordering and receiving processes (e.g., maintain par levels, rotate stock)
• Storage requirements (e.g., refrigeration, freezer, warmer)
• Removal (e.g., recalls, returns, outdates, reverse distribution)

8. Pharmacy Billing and Reimbursement
• Reimbursement policies and plans (e.g., HMOs, PPO, CMS, private plans)
• Third party resolution (e.g., prior authorization, rejected claims, plan limitations)
• Third-party reimbursement systems (e.g., PBM, medication assistance programs, coupons, and self-pay)
• Healthcare reimbursement systems (e.g., home health, long-term care, home infusion)
• Coordination of benefits

9. Pharmacy Information System Usage and Application
• Pharmacy-related computer applications for documenting the dispensing of prescriptions or medication orders (e.g., maintaining the electronic medical record, patient adherence, risk factors, alcohol drug use, drug allergies, side effects)
• Databases, pharmacy computer applications, and documentation management (e.g., user access, drug database, interface, inventory report, usage reports, override reports, diversion reports)

Resource Links
Secrets of the PTCB Exam Study Guide: PTCB Test Review for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board Examination

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Jay Willis

Jay Willis joined Mometrix as Vice President of Sales in 2009, and has developed several key strategic relationships that have enhanced the distribution of Mometrix products. With nearly 20 years of sales experience in the publishing industry, his dedication to providing the highest quality experience for customers, coupled with his sales and marketing expertise, has resulted in significant growth of the Institutional Sales division. Learn more