The pharmacy technician certification exam, ExCPT, is being offered with online proctoring due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, according to the National Healthcare Association (NHA) presentation at the Pharmacy Technician Student Summit. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised a lot of questions for those working toward becoming certified pharmacy technicians. During a session titled, “Ask Me Anything: Bonus Session with NHA,” NHA Executive Director Jessica Langley-Loep and NHA Pharmacy Technician Content Strategist Jeremy Sasser took student questions on how COVID-19 is affecting the certification process and other questions, like how to study properly. 

The ExCPT exam covers a variety of topics a pharmacy technician needs to know. Most notably, it requires takers to be familiar with the top 200 drugs, which is updated on an annual basis and is based on government data that are updated annually. The test is 100 questions long, with 20 pretest questions and lasts 2 hours, 10 minutes. 

During the session, the presenters reviewed study techniques, including materials created by the NHA for the ExCPT exam. NHA offers materials ranging from $39 for an online practice test to $289 for PharmSeer, which is an online training tool. Although the test is online, security is the most important aspect. Takers may need to download additional software in order to take the exam.  

“The biggest piece of it is keeping the exam secure and making sure someone who is using remote proctoring isn’t able to somehow manipulate or otherwise cheat on the exam,” Sasser said. 

Presenters also stressed the importance of continuing education as a pharmacy technician. Taking the ExCPT and similar exams can help to further a technician’s career.

“Education is something that can never be taken away from you,” Langley-Loep said. “It’s an asset that you will always have, so definitely worth the investment. And you become an even better health care professional by continuing to educate yourself.”