CSPT – Certified Sterile Preparation Technician

Do you want to give your career as a certified pharmacy technician a boost? Additional skills and certifications can make you qualified for a whole new set of employment opportunities. Showing that you are willing to learn and grow as a technician are traits that appeal to potential employers. 


Many pharmacies require sterile preparation IV certification technician training. Completing your certificate is a valuable tool as a technician. This training is well worth the long-term investment in your career. 

What is the Sterile Compounding Certification?

A certified sterile preparation technician is trained in the careful compounding of medicine in a sterile environment. The certification puts a heavy emphasis on preparing pharmaceutical products safely and carefully. 


An ACPE-accredited course in sterile product preparation and IV certification can give you the knowledge and experience that you need to take the PTCB exam. At The National Pharmacy Technician Association, our course is designed to give you a thorough training in product preparation and antiseptic technique, including USP 797.

Our
PTCB-recognized course will help get you fully prepared to pass the exam. 


We offer a blended format with at-home training as well as in-person training at our state of the art NPTA training institute in Houston. The rigorous combination of coursework ensures that you get the highest level of learning. You’ll receive an official certificate when you successfully complete the course. 

CSPT Requirements

You must be an active CPhT to complete the CSPT training. There are two ways that you can meet the learning requirements. You may complete a PTCB-Recognized Sterile Compounding Education program like ours along with having a year of CSP work experience. You may also qualify by having three years of continuous compounded sterile preparation (CSP) work experience.


Our CSPT coursework covers everything you need to know to pass the exam. Your home study modules will take you through detailed information on aseptic calculations and techniques. You’ll study the properties of sterile products as well as how to prepare them. Our course also includes two days of valuable hands-on training at the NPTA Training Institute. 

Applying and Prepping for the CSPT Exam

Once you successfully complete your course, you’ll receive an official certificate of validated training. This will allow you to apply for the PTCB exam. You must submit your certificate along with a Competency Attestation Form signed by your supervisor. Once your application is approved, you’ll have ninety days to take your exam.


You can schedule your exam at hundreds of Pearson Vue testing centers. It’s a good idea to check out the tutorial and demo test available on the PTCB website. This will allow you to be more comfortable with the format so you can focus on the content. 


The PTCB provides a helpful guidebook to guide you in your CSPT exam prep. The specific details on the content can help you see what areas you need to focus on. Working through this clear outline can help you identify any knowledge gaps before taking the exam. 


There is also a list of the medications that are covered during in the exam. It’s a good idea to make sure you have a clear understanding of their uses and administration.


You can also use this list of helpful resources to prep for the exam. Reviewing the information in these resources can help ensure you are as prepared as possible. 

About the CSPT Exam

On the day of your exam, you’ll want to prepare as you do for any other test. Get a good night’s rest and eat a healthy meal before heading to the testing site. Your NPTA coursework will give you the confidence that you need to tackle the exam. 


The Pearson Testing Centers have strict rules regarding personal belongings, behavior, and breaks during exams. Make sure to review these rules to avoid a frustrating experience. If you need any accommodations, ensure that you have requested these when you applied for your exam.


Arrive at the testing site at least thirty minutes early. Make sure you have valid government-issued photo identification with the name matching your PTCB account. There are clearly defined guidelines about the identification required and not following them could risk your not being able to take your exam.


Knowing what to expect of your exam is made simple by the PTCB’s clear outline of the exam subject matter. The exam content consists of: 


  • 17% - Medications and Components (i.e. dosage forms, side effects, brand names)

  • 22% - Facilities and Equipment (i.e. engineering controls, environmental monitoring)

  • 53% - Sterile Compounding Procedures (i.e. hygiene, disinfection procedures)

  • 8% - Handling, Packaging, Storage, and Disposal (i.e. labeling and storage)


This content is tested using 75 multiple-choice questions. Sixty of these questions are scored while 15 are unscored. You’ll complete a tutorial then have an hour and fifty minutes to complete the test. Afterward, you may be asked to complete a post-exam survey. 


Fortunately, you’ll receive immediate results on the exam screen. These are unofficial but your official results will be posted to your PTCB account within a few weeks. Your certification will be available to download after you both pass the exam and submit your Competency Attestation Form. 

CSPT Renewal

You must renew your CSPT certification every year to stay in good standing. This ensures that you stay up to date on the latest safety and sterilization protocols. This can be done up to sixty days before the expiration of your certificate. You must be an active CPhT with PTCB to apply for recertification. 


There are also continuing education requirements to keep your certification in good standing. In order to qualify, you must complete five hours of compounding-specific CE coursework. Luckily, as an NPTA member, you have access to a growing list of ACPE-accredited continuing education courses.