The National Patient Care Technician (NPCTA) is committed to performing a Job Analysis every 3 years so that the NPCTA credential accurately reflects the job skills and knowledge base for the competent practice of patient care in and out-of-hospital settings.
When a certification program is being initially created, the survey is sent to a group of individuals identified by various methods as being practitioners in the field. Subsequent surveys are generally sent only to those who are already certified. The purpose of subsequent surveys is to confirm that the initial knowledge, skills, and abilities are still relevant and necessary, to discard any that have become obsolete, and identify any new components that reflect current practice.
A Job Analysis is a list of tasks essential to the performance of a profession. The list defines the scope of practice for that profession, according to a consensus of the practitioners. The list of tasks is not meant to limit the job performed by those professionals, but to identify the core skills needed for entry into the profession. The purpose of the Job Analysis, for a certification program, is to determine the knowledge and skills that must be demonstrated by those seeking certification. The skill list is generally created by a focus group of those considered experts in the field, and then the items are rated thorough a survey of a larger number of practicing professionals that reflect the diversity of the identified population. Items that are rated as important or frequently performed by the majority of survey participants are included on the final list of required skills, and the tasks that are rated lower are not included. That final list becomes the blueprint for test development. Following this process ensures that the test, or assessment instrument, accurately reflects the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the job. The examinations are intended to measure not only the ability to perform skills, but also the knowledge base behind each skill and the abilities necessary to perform the job competently.
The National Patient Care Technician (NPCTA) exam development process was adopted from the NHCWA
NPCTA’s exam questions are developed by committees comprising CPCT’s and Physicians selected based on their item writing skills, experience and demographic characteristics (i.e., practice specialty, geographic region, practice setting, etc.). The test committee members each independently write a certain number of test questions or items, and then, each item then goes through an intense review by content experts and medical editors from which only some items emerge for pre-testing. Every NPCTA exam includes both scored and pre-test items, and examinees have no way of distinguishing between the two. This allows NPCTA to collect important statistics about how the pre-test items perform on the exam, which informs the final decision about whether a particular question meets the standards for inclusion as a scored item on future NPCTA exams.
The testing process serves as a second verification of the acquisition of knowledge and skills, providing an evaluation through a performance assessment and a written exam.