excpt vs ptcb

ExCPT vs PTCB: Which is the Most Suitable for You?

ExCPT vs PTCB are the two most popular pharmacy technician exams throughout the US. So what are the differences between them? Check it out!

Updated at November 15, 2022

Pharmacy technician certification tests assess a person’s knowledge and abilities concerning carrying out duties associated with their employment. To get a license and a legal right to operate, pharmacy technicians must be certified (CPhT) in 24 states. In most circumstances, certification requires passing an exam.

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (also known as PTCE), given by the PTCB, and the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (also known as ExCPT), given by the NHA, are the two certification tests available for pharmacy technicians. So what are the differences between ExCPT vs PTCB and which is the most suitable for you? Check this article to find the answer.

On this website, we offer thousands of free PTCE practice tests to help you thoroughly prepare for this exam!

excpt vs ptcb

About the ExCPT Exam

To get the ExCPT, one must successfully finish the Pharmacy Technician Certification Program and obtain certification from the National Healthcareer Association (also known as NHA). The Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians, which is a component of the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), is in charge of supervising and running the examination. The ExCPT examination may be arranged online through NHA, and it is made available at PSI/LaserGrade Test Centers located throughout the US.

It is important to note that although all states that necessitate credentials for a pharmacy technician also acknowledge the ExCPT test and its resulting credential as valid, Washington, Louisiana, and North Dakota are the few attributes that acknowledge PTCB certification. It is important to note that these three states are among the states that require certification for a pharmacy technician.

About the PTCB Exam

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) is in charge of running the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). To become a qualified pharmacy technician via the PTCB, you are going to need to finish the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). All 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico recognize the PTCB Certification. Candidates may submit their applications for the test either via the internet or by telephone (phone number: 1-866-902-0593).

PTCE exams are available to public candidates throughout the whole year at Pearson VUE test centers located all across the US. Those individuals in the armed forces, as well as their families, who are interested in obtaining certification as pharmacy technicians may take the examinations necessary to do so at DANTES military test facilities. As recorded in 2020, the total number of PTCB-certified specialists in the United States is 706,678. PTCB certificate is recognized in all 50 states, including the District of Columbia.

What Are the Main Differences Between The ExCPT vs PTCB?


Both the ExCPT and the PTCE are administered via the use of a computer. The National Commission on Certifying Agencies has granted accreditation to the certification programs and examinations that are made available by both the NHA and the PTCB (NCCA). Applicants need to be at least 18 years old to be allowed to sit for either examination.

Either the completion of a formal school or training program or the accumulation of at least 1200 hours of authorized pharmacy-related work experience is necessary to sit for the ExCPT.

To qualify, applicants need to have completed high school or obtained an equivalent credential (such as a GED) and not been convicted of any felonies in the past. The price of the PTCE is $129, but the price of the ExCPT test is just $115.

Test Format

Both the ExCPT and the PTCE are regarded as being among the most difficult tests available. Both are also nationally recognized. Despite being organized differently, the questions in each assessment evaluate the same skills and knowledge.

The PTCB test lasts for two hours and consists of 90 questions, whereas the ExCPT exam has 100 questions to be answered in that time.

Both examinations consist entirely of multiple-choice questions, and each examination lasts for a total of two hours. In either scenario, pharmacy technicians are required to participate in ongoing education to maintain their certification.

The PTCE is broken up into three sections that correspond to the most important responsibilities of a pharmacy technician’s profession. The majority of the queries, which account for 66% of the total, concern assisting pharmacists in their work with patients. Questions also pertain to the upkeep of control systems for medicine and inventory (accounts for 12% of total questions), as well as the administration and management of pharmacies (accounts for 22% of total questions). The questions on the PTCB test are often more hospital-oriented than other exams. Math problems traditionally make up approximately one-third of this section, which also contains 90 other questions and 10 practice questions.

excpt vs ptcb

Please be advised that the PTCB will be implementing two modifications with an effective date of January 1, 2020. The first thing we have for you is an updated list of the prerequisites – both educational and otherwise – for taking the PTCE.

To sit for the test, a PT must either have graduated from an education program that has been approved by the PTCB or have a minimum of 500 hours of job experience. The second modification is an adjustment to the substance of the examination.

The ExCPT test is broken up into broad categories, much as the PTCE was. The administration of medicine is the primary topic of examination questions (45% of the total questions). Additional questions about pharmacy regulation and technician responsibilities (accounts for 25% of the total questions), medications and drug treatment (accounts for 15% of the total questions), and medication safety and quality assurance (accounts for 15% of the total questions). The ExCPT test has typically had a stronger focus on retail pharmacy due to its nature. It is made up of 90 questions, including10 trial questions.

Read more >> What Should You Know About PTCB Renewal? [2022 Updated]

Which Certification Exam is Suitable for You?

Confirming which organization is acknowledged by the state board of pharmacy in your area is the first step in choosing which test to take when it comes to a career in pharmacy. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) are both recognized as valid certification organizations for pharmacy technicians in many states.

The PTCE has been around for a longer period than the ExCPT and is thus seen to be in a more established position. As a result, it is recognized by a greater number of states throughout the nation.

Employers will have peace of mind knowing that you are eligible to work securely and efficiently with prescription drugs and treatments, along with licensed pharmacists, and in a pharmacy setting if you possess certification from either the PTCB or the NHA. This is regardless of which exam you choose to take.

By giving employers confirmation of your ability to deliver quality patient care and service, passing these examinations improves your employment and increases the chances that you will be promoted within your current organization. When hiring pharmacy technicians, many companies want to see certification first and foremost on the resume.

Final Words

Do you think the PTCB is more difficult than the ExCPT? So, it’s been a while since people have been spreading this story. However, we are going to be honest with you and tell you that the PTCB is not more difficult than the ExCPT. ExCPT vs PTCB are both equally challenging to deal with in comparison to one another.

Therefore, thorough preparation is paramount no matter what exam you register for. You should not, because this exam is easier than the other, ignore the study. Hard work pays off and you will ace the exam if you put enough effort and time into your studying process.