What Is The PTCB Exam Pass Rate?

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When you’re preparing to take the PTCB exam, it’s easy to worry.

Questions may race around your head:

Is the exam hard? What happens if I freeze up on the day? How can I best prepare?

And we’re going to be straight with you: The average PTCB exam pass rate over the last 7 years is only 59%.

Sounds scary, right?

But there’s no point in sugar-coating it. After all, the more you know, the better you can prepare. And we don’t want anyone going into their exam thinking it’s something you don’t need to study for.  I mean, you’re going to be handling controlled substances, so you had better believe that the PTCB wants to ensure that your knowledge is up to standard!

So, without further ado, let’s dive in for a closer look at the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board exam’s pass rate:

What is the PTCB exam pass rate in 2021? 

OK, so this year’s pass rate hasn’t been published quite yet.

But what we can tell you is that the pass rate in 2020 was 70%. This is much higher than the previous few years, where pass rates hovered between a measly 57%-58%.

So, what changed?

Could it have been a result of more people staying at home during the covid-19 pandemic? All that extra time usually spent socializing being spent studying instead?

Or is it because the PTCB changed its eligibility requirements to allow candidates who’ve worked extensively in the field, but haven’t been able to complete a PTCB-recognized education, to take their exam?

Or maybe it’s because more people used our PTCB Hero study guide? Well, we do have a 97% pass rate after all!

We can’t say for certain. But whatever the reason, 2020 was a good year for candidates taking the PTCB exam.

Now, as we mentioned, the last few years haven’t painted quite such a positive picture. So, how have pass rates changed over the years? 

Let’s take a look:

How has the PTCB pass rate changed over time?

The PTCB is the longest-running certification body for pharmacy technicians in the US. 

It was founded in 1995 by the American Pharmacists Association; American Society of Health-System Pharmacists; Illinois Council of Health-System Pharmacists; and Michigan Pharmacists Association and, between 1995- 2000, its pass rate stood at 80%.

Pass rates remained relatively high for the next 5 years, hovering between 78%-81%. Before dropping significantly down to 65% in 2006.

Between 2007- 2013, pass rates rose fairly steadily, making their way from 70% to 76%. Then tumbled to just 57% in 2014.

2014-2019 saw candidates pass only 57%-58% of the time. Then there was last year’s jump to 70%.

Now, the reasons for these changes are multiple. Of course, the exam itself has been changed and adapted over the years. So too have the resources available to candidates taking the test.

And whether 2020 was a blip or the start of a new era of higher pass rates is still to be seen. But we certainly hope to see more candidates pass.

But if you want to check how ready you are for your exam, you can try our free practice test here.

How many people pass the PTCB on their first try? 

Passing your PTCB exam on your first try might not be the be-all and end-all, but it certainly saves you time and money.

You see, candidates who fail a PTCB exam have to pay for each retake. They must also wait a minimum of 60 days from the most recent attempt to apply for the second and third attempts. If they fail on the third attempt, this timeframe increases to 6 months.

And after four attempts, “candidates must provide completion evidence of acceptable preparation activities to PTCB for review and approval before applying for additional attempts”. 

Now, the PTCB doesn’t publish data on how many candidates pass their exams on their first attempt. But based on the average pass rate of just 59%, we can assume plenty of people don’t.

OK, so that all sounds a little scary, right?

But try not to worry. If you want to improve your odds, all you need to do is study effectively. And that means taking the time to go over practice tests, plotting out your strengths and weaknesses, managing your time, and concentrating on studying the areas you don’t already know inside-out and backward.

Luckily, our PTCB study guide is packed full of practice questions and all the information you need to know in order to succeed (with none of the stuff you don’t). 

And don’t forget, 97% of candidates who use our PTCB Hero study guide pass on their first attempt. Plus, with our money-back guarantee, it’s completely risk-free! 

Michelle Jones
Michelle Jones

Michelle is Medical Hero's in-house expert on the PTCB exam and pharmacy technician careers.