About the Exam
About The Examination
Purpose of the NPCTA Certification Examination
The primary purpose of the NPCTA Patient Care Technician certification examination is to protect the public interest by certifying only those candidates who have the necessary knowledge of patient care technician to practice. The Patient Care Technician examination is constructed to measure entry-level competence of candidates who have met eligibility requirements for certification of the non-credit respective credential.
Passing the exam is a necessary step in obtaining certification as a Certified Patient Care Technician.
The exam will be computer based and offered at testing centers throughout the world. Specific times to sit for the exam can be scheduled at any of the locations.
To register for the exam online and schedule a testing time and location, please use the following link. www.npcta.com
The certifying examination registration fee must be paid online using Visa, MasterCard Discover or American Express. The fee for the certifying exam is $125.
Admission Letters and Directions
Upon completing the online registration form and clearing of your online payment, you will receive an admission letter and location directions five days prior to the examination date at the email address you have used to register. This notice is required for test entry and instructs you about the rules and regulations, as well as the logistics, for the day of the examination.
If you have not received your admittance letter to the examination by the Monday prior to the examination, contact NPCTA's Examination Department at 855-601-8195
For any questions about the examination registration process, you may contact the NPCTA testing service:
The open period for registering for an exam ends 10 business days before the examination date.
Cancellation Policy and Rescheduling
There will be no exam administration rescheduling or cancellations permitted in the five business days prior to the scheduled examination administration. If a candidate reschedules a scheduled examination more than five business days prior to the scheduled examination date, NPCTA will apply the initial examination payment to the newly scheduled examination and charge a $25 rescheduling fee. If a candidate cancels a scheduled examination more than five business days prior to the scheduled examination, and does not reschedule, NPCTA will refund the examination fee but will charge a $25 cancellation fee. If a candidate does not reschedule or cancel a scheduled examination more than five business days prior to the scheduled examination date, and does not show up at the testing site to take the scheduled exam, or comes to the testing site without proper ID and/or the proper admission letter and is unable to take the scheduled examination, no refund of the examination fee will be made by NPCTA, and the candidate will not be allowed to apply that payment to a future testing date.
In the event that an applicant has a personal emergency medical situation, military deployment, or a death in the immediate family within five business days of the scheduled examination date and is thus unable to attend, he or she may submit documentation of such emergency to NPCTA for consideration of a refund. In this event, the candidate should call NPCTA at 1 (202) 446-1400 with notification of the emergency.
A candidate who is unable to take a scheduled examination but does not reschedule or cancel more than five business days prior to the scheduled examination may apply to the NPCTA for a partial refund. NPCTA will keep a cancellation fee of $25.00 USD, but will consider refunding the remainder to the candidate upon request.
The Day of the Examination
Arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the examination to allow time to park, locate the examination room, and visit the restroom. There are no scheduled breaks during the 2-hour examination. Proctors will be available to escort candidates to restroom facilities, if necessary.
Each candidate must present the admission notice, which is the confirmation received upon registration for the examination.
Each candidate must also present one government-issued photo ID containing the candidate's signature: a driver's license, passport, military ID card or government-issued ID card is acceptable; student IDs, bank cards, and other written forms of identification will not be accepted. Examples of acceptable IDs include a driver's license or picture ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles, passport, or military ID.
Candidates are advised to bring a sweater or jacket, in case the testing room is cold.
A drinking fountain will be available on site.
Candidates may leave the room as soon as they complete the examination and check out with the examination proctor.
Exam-Taking Advice Offered by the Exam Developers at NPCTA
Follow directions! If you read them too quickly, you may miss something important.
Read each item very carefully. Don't jump to conclusions based upon a quick skimming of the wording.
Avoid trying to spot the correct response. Identify the correct response by first eliminating the incorrect choices.
Answer each question - guess if necessary. Your score is based on the number of items you answer correctly; there is no penalty for guessing.
Use your time wisely. Take the questions in order, but do not waste time worrying about those you cannot answer with certainty. Guess intelligently, select and answer, and then bookmark items you're not sure of. If you have time at the end, return for a second look. By then, you may have remembered something.
Accommodation for those most comfortable in a language other than English
Candidates who do not normally work in English, or for whom English is a second language, may request in advance an accommodation, such as extra time to complete the examination (3 hours rather than 2 hours) and/or use of a dictionary provided by the exam proctor (to be approved by the examination proctor or administrator). This request should be made as early as possible, but no later than the examination registration deadline.
Please send your request to:
NPCTA - Board of Certification
320 Boston Post Road
Orange, CT 60015
There is only one (1) examination required for each certification. Each examination consists of 100 multiple-choice questions. Each test question presents the candidate with four (4) options of which only one option is correct. Candidates are permitted a total of 2 hours in which to complete the examination.
NPCTA’S examinations are administered in the following formats:
Paper and pencil
School administered, computer-based
Commercial test center computer-based
The sequence of questions on the examination is different for all candidates
What is the passing score? The score is reported on a scale where 70% is the passing score. A scaled score of 70% or higher is passing.
The passing score is determined by using the modified Angoff Method, where groups of subject matter experts rate each question on how likely a competent, but entry-level, student would answer it correctly. Based on the assumption that not all competent students will get every question right, but that each question should be clear and relevant enough to be answered correctly by most entry level students, the raters give each question a score based on how many competent students out of 100 would choose the correct answer. These scores are averaged to determine the passing score. This is a standard process used to set passing scores on many certification exams. The NPCTA Board has the final authority to determine the passing score, and may adjust the score upward or downward by one Standard Error of Measurement if they feel that the raters have judged the exam too harshly or leniently.
Because each question has a rating, and each form of the exam contains an assortment of questions from the Item Bank, the raw score (number of correct answers out of 100 questions) may vary slightly for each form of the exam. The forms currently in use have passing raw scores from 77-80, or approximately 80% correct answers. Reporting the score on a scale where 75 is the passing score allows a comparison of the passing or failing scores on different forms of the exam. For example, on an exam where the passing score is 77, a score of 78 would pass. On an exam where the passing score is 80, the score of 78 would not pass. A score below the passing score will be reported as a scaled score of 69 or lower, a score right at the passing score will be reported as a scaled score of 70, and a score above the passing score will be reported as 71 or higher.
Notification of Results
Examination results will be sent to candidates by regular mail; results will not be released over the telephone. In order to receive results, the candidate's postal address must be current; any changes to one's address must be submitted to NPCTA in writing
Candidates will be informed of their examination score and of the minimum passing score as stated below.
1) Paper and pencil results 24-hours online.
2) School administered, computer-based results immediately online.
3) Commercial test center computer-based results immediately online.
For security reasons, candidates will not receive a copy of the completed examination and will not have access to information about any of the specific questions and answers on the examination. Examination candidates may request from the Board of Directors general information about their relative performance in each of the domains on the examination.
NPCTA’S Schools Performance Report
The NPCTA will send an performance report of each exam section to the program director, exam coordinators or authorized school personnel the report identifies the group’s strengths and weaknesses based on the student’s scores from the NHCWA exam. In this way, program directors can find out which topics they cover well and which topics might need further instruction in order to best prepare the students. Examination candidates may request from the Board of Directors general information about their relative performance in each of the domains on the examination. Therefore, the NHCWA exam report system can benefit the instructors, as well as the students that he or she instructs. The program director or authorized school administrator will have access to log in and review their schools performance reports at any time.
Re-taking the Examination
The minimum waiting period before one may re-take the examination is one year. A candidate will be allowed to re-take the examination, when it is administered in the same season the following year, should this period be less than one year. An individual may attempt to pass the examination up to a maximum of five times a year. There is no reduction in the fee when registering to re-take the exam.
Test security is a paramount concern and focus. NPCTA provides multiple layers of protection and back-up systems for their servers that contain examination content and other data for storage and recovery. Data is transmitted only in encrypted form, or by secure carrier. When a candidate takes an examination, the examination content is not cached at test station computers; instead, each item or question is transmitted individually to the test station as the candidate proceeds through the examination. The candidate's responses are recorded immediately on the NPCTA server, to permit candidates to resume in the event of a power failure or other interruption. All examination responses are maintained only on NPCTA's secure server protected by a dual firewall.