NHA's CPhT Certification Program

The vast majority of pharmacy employers seek candidates with the proper certification.  In fact, many pharmacy employers require certification in order to even consider the candidate for employment.  The CPhT certification is essential to getting your foot in the door for an initial interview.  This certification is earned through the NHA with the passing of the ExCPT exam.  Pass the ExCPT exam, obtain the CPhT certification and you will be that much closer to obtaining rewarding and high-paying work with a pharmacy employer in the role of pharmacy technician.  

Pharmacy technicians handle doctors’ prescription requests, create and maintain patient records, manage inventory, measure out medication and package/label those medications.  These coveted professionals work in pharmacies, drug stores, grocery stores, hospitals and medical offices.  However, you are likely pondering, “How long does it take to become a pharmacy technician?” and what is involved in obtaining the certification necessary for such a professional role.  Pursue this career and you will need the CPhT certification provided by the NHA to set the stage for success.  Let’s take a closer look at how to become a certified pharmacy technician.


Eligibility Requirements

You can sit for the ExCPT to obtain NHA CPhT certification if you have earned or are within 60 days of earning a high school diploma or GED or other equivalency test recognized by the candidate’s state or residency*

*Arizona residents must have completed their high school education before sitting for the ExCPT and must provide evidence that have completed their high school education at the PSI testing center in order to sit for the exam.  

You must also successfully complete one of the following pathways in order to be eligible to sit for the ExCPT:

Pathway 1: Within the past 5 years you must have

  1. successfully completed a pharmacy technician training program offered by an accredited or state approved institution or provider, or

  2. successfully completed a pharmacy technician apprenticeship program that is registered pursuant to the guidelines of the U.S. Department of Labor; or

  3. successfully completed a formal pharmacy technician training program offered by any branch of the U.S. Military; or

  4. Successfully completed an employer-based training program or a program offered by a national pharmacy association that

    • Is recognized by the Board of Pharmacy of the state in which the candidate completes the training program; or

    • Has been verified by the candidate’s employer to provide academic preparation including technical skills and knowledge, sufficient to prepare the candidate to adequately perform the duties of an entry-level pharmacy technician.

Pathway 2: You must have completed at least 1200 hours of supervised pharmacy related work experience within any one (1) in the last three (3) years.

If your training program was completed more than 5 years prior to your registration date,  you must meet the work experience pathway, Pathway 2, in order to be eligible to sit for the ExCPT.

Exam Fee

The exam fee is $117.

How to Apply and Schedule

Create your NHA candidate profile on the NHA website, www.nhanow.com.

After you have created your profile, you are ready to apply and register for the exam.  

Log into you candidate profile and follow the steps to register for the ExCPT.  All pharmacy technician exams must be scheduled through PSI, their third-party testing facility, even if your profile is associated with one of their institutions. 

Candidates must read and agree to an attestation prior to completing registration.  Candidates must also pay the exam fee prior to completing the registration process unless your exam is sponsored your employer or school and your account is associated with one of their institutions. You have two hours from the time you register to pay your registration fee; after two hours your exam application is voided and you will need to re-register.

A confirmation email will be sent to you after your registration is complete.

Once you have completed the registration process, you may schedule your exam with PSI directly from your NHA account. Log in to your NHA account and follow the online directions to schedule your exam through PSI.

About the Exam

The ExCPT exam is provided at the PSI Testing Center closest to your location.  Valid identification must be provided in order to take the exam.  Exam-takers should understand the test will be completed in a single session.  The exam consists of 100 questions including 20 pre-test questions. Candidates are allowed 2 hours and 10 minutes to complete the exam.

Candidates taking the ExCPT exam are provided with a simple, non-programable calculator by PSI.  A candidate may not use his/her own calculator.  Notes, resources material, books, or any electronic device (including a cell phone) are also not allowed in the testing center.

ExCPT test takers who take the exam at a PSI testing center receive a preliminary score report immediately upon completion of the exam. After exam results are analyzed for anomalies or errors or, if any incidents are reported, for test misconduct, NHA posts the final results of the exam to the exam-taker’s account within a couple business days of scoring the test. 


Exam Content Outline

The ExCPT exam format is taken without the exam-takers’ personal calculators and other electronic devices such as smartphones.  However, if such a device is necessary, the exam proctors will provide it.  In general, the exam pertains to the general duties, scope of practice and role of the pharmacy technician.  The exam touches on controlled substances, laws and regulations pertaining to the pharmaceutical industry.  The exam covers drugs and drug therapy including drug classification and frequently prescribed medications. 

The exam includes questions pertaining to the dispensing process.  In particular, the exam centers on the medication order intake/entry.  The preparation and dispensing of medications is covered in addition to calculations, sterile/nonsterile products, repackaging, unit doses, compounding and more.


The NHA CPhT certification requires renewal every couple years in order to remain current.  There is a $55 fee to be paid every two years to renew NHA certification.  Certified pharmacy technicians are required to engage in a minimum of 20 hours of continuing education in the two years leading up to recertification.  Continuing Education must be related to pharmacy technician practice and must include one (1) hour of pharmacy law and one (1) hour of patient safety per each two-year certification period.


About NHA

NHA’s mission is to empower people to access a better future. Since 1989, NHA has prepared and awarded one million certifications to healthcare students and professionals, providing them with nationally recognized measurements of competency paired with easy-to-use study tools and personalized customer service.