A couple of years ago (in 2017), one of my readers reached out to me inquiring about the new Compounded Sterile Preparation Technician (CSPT) certification exam offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). It was the first I heard about the new credential. I did some research, answered her questions, and didn’t give it much thought afterward.


Now, at the end of 2019, as I’m immersing myself in the PTCB’s new PTCE content outline (effective January 1, 2020), I’m noticing some pretty significant changes. Per a statement on the official PTCB website, the new PTCB exam will focus on core subjects relevant “across practice settings” (i.e., topics with relevance in both retail and hospital pharmacy settings).


The decision to eliminate specific topics from the PTCB exam content outline was based on data collected from the PTCB’s Job Analysis Study conducted in 2016.


So, which major topics were eliminated? Sterile compounding and billing/reimbursement. That’s right! According to the PTCB, these topics will not appear on the PTCB exam going forward (effective January 1, 2020). The PTCB website indicates that these changes are intended to be consistent with the “entry-level nature” of the CPhT credential.


Considering the existence of the new CSPT credential, the move to eliminate sterile compounding content from the PTCB exam makes sense. Otherwise, there would be potential for overlap between the two exams.


So, the bad news is that the PTCB exam is changing, leading to some uncertainty for test-takers who plan to take the exam in 2020. However, the good news is that the PTCB exam content outline for 2020 is smaller and more focused. What does that mean? Well, it could be easier to pass!


Regardless of whether you view the upcoming changes to the PTCB exam as positive or negative, there is nothing you can do about it except be prepared. The powers that be have spoken. And that’s why we’ll be working on new materials to help people pass the upcoming version of the PTCB exam. Check back soon for an announcement regarding the publication of our next study guide, PTCB Exam Simplified, 4th Edition!


Note: Despite the changes coming to the PTCB exam in 2020, the exam will remain a 90-question, multiple-choice exam, and examinees will still have 1 hour and 50 minutes to complete the exam.