Nuclear Pharmacy

Nuclear Pharmacy seeks to improve and promote public health through the safe and effective use of radioactive drugs for diagnosis and therapy. Currently there are more than 400 BPS Board Certified Nuclear Pharmacists.

The BPS Board Certified Nuclear Pharmacist (BCNP) program is a credential for pharmacists who have met the eligibility criteria below and who in their unique practice seek to improve and promote public health through the safe and effective use of radioactive drugs for diagnosis and therapy.

The purpose of the BCNP program is to validate that the pharmacist has the advanced knowledge and experience to optimize patient outcomes by:

  • Managing the procurement, compounding, quality control testing, dispensing, distribution, and monitoring of highly toxic radiopharmaceuticals used for PET scans and other diagnostic procedures.
  • Preparing medications and troubleshooting problems with scans.
  • Consulting on health and safety issues concerning radiopharmaceuticals as well as the use of non-radioactive drugs and patient care.
  • Playing an important role in quality control and cost management by thoroughly testing products before delivery.
  • Minimizing error and patient exposure to radiation.
  • Identifying whether a patient is on any interfering medications.

Effective January 1, 2019: All applicants intending to demonstrate eligibility for any BPS certification examination utilizing the practice experience pathway must provide an attestation from their employer, on company letterhead, that verifies this experience accurately represents 50% of time spent in some or all of the activities defined by the applicable certification content outline. In addition, this practice experience must have occurred within the seven years immediately preceding the application. For more information, click here.

(All practice eligibility requirements must be met prior to the candidate sitting for the examination)
The minimum requirements for the Nuclear Pharmacy specialty certification are:

  • Graduation from a pharmacy program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) or a program outside the U.S. that qualifies the individual to practice in the jurisdiction
  • A current, active license/registration to practice pharmacy in the U.S. or another jurisdiction
  • 4,000 hours of training/experience in nuclear pharmacy practice
  • Achieving a passing score on the Nuclear Pharmacy Specialty Certification Examination

The required 4,000 hours of experience may be earned in a variety of means:

  • Completion of training/experience required for an authorized nuclear pharmacist as identified by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Regulations (10 CFR) § 35.55 Training for an authorized nuclear pharmacist*
  • Residency in nuclear pharmacy: hour-for-hour credit to a maximum of 2,000 hours
  • Internship to satisfy requirements of state boards of pharmacy: hour-for-hour credit in a licensed nuclear pharmacy or facility authorized to handle radioactive materials, to a maximum of 2,000 hours
  • Nuclear pharmacy practice: hour-for-hour credit in a licensed nuclear pharmacy or health care facility approved by state or federal agencies to handle radioactive materials, to a maximum of 4,000 hours

*Limited to pharmacists who have graduated from a pharmacy program accredited by the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE) or have passed the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination Committee (FPGEC) examination. Supporting documentation to satisfy completion of training/experience required for an authorized nuclear pharmacist is a current, active radioactive material program (RAM) license issued by the NRC or a state with NRC Agreement State status.

The rationale for the appropriateness of the requirements for BPS certification programs are based upon the following:

  • BPS recognizes individuals who graduate from a recognized school or college of pharmacy within the candidate’s jurisdiction. Those jurisdictions recognize and evaluate programs on the extent to which it accomplishes its stated goals and is consistent with the concept that pharmacy is a unique, personal service profession in the health science field. In the United States, the responsibility for responsibility recognizing schools and colleges of pharmacy falls to the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).
  • The rationale for requiring licensure or registration of pharmacists within their jurisdiction is based upon the fact that for public protection, all pharmacists must be licensed or registered. This is considered a baseline requirement to be a pharmacist specialist. In the United States, BPS recognizes the licensure process administered by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) aims to ensure the public’s health and safety through its pharmacist license transfer and pharmacist competence assessment programs. NABP’s member boards of pharmacy are grouped into eight districts that include all 50 United States, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Australia, Bahamas, and all 10 Canadian provinces.
  • The experiential component is required to help assure practical application of components of the specialty knowledge being certified. There are multiple pathways to meet the practice experience requirement.  The faster eligibility pathways recognize accredited residencies through the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP). The ASHP residency accreditation program identifies and grants public recognition to practice sites having pharmacy residency training programs that have been evaluated and found to meet the qualifications of one of the ASHP’s residency accreditations standards. Thus, accreditation of a pharmacy residency program provides a means of assurance to residency applicants that a program meets certain basic requirements and is, therefore, an acceptable site for postgraduate training in pharmacy practice in organized health care.
  • Passing the BPS pharmacy specialty examination helps assure knowledge consistent with the validated content outline for the BPS specialty.

The appropriateness of the BPS program requirements are consistent with the Council on Credentialing in Pharmacy’s Resource Paper titled: Scope of Contemporary Pharmacy Practice: Roles, Responsibilities, and Functions of Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians.

Refer to the Nuclear Pharmacy Content Outline for details.

  • Domain 1: Procurement, Storage, and Handling (16% of examination)
  • Domain 2: Preparation, Compounding, Repackaging, End-product Testing, and Dispensing (40% of examination)
  • Domain 3: Equipment and Environmental Requirements (16% of examination)
  • Domain 4: Licensing and Occupational Safety (16% of examination)
  • Domain 5: Drug Information and Professional Consultation (12% of examination)

Pharmacists who earn the designation Board Certified Nuclear Pharmacists® (BCNP) will be required to maintain their certification over a seven year period by completing one of the following professional development activities:

  • Option One: Recertification Examination
    Achieve a passing score on the 100-item recertification examination based on the content outline for the Nuclear Pharmacy Specialty in their seventh year following initial certification;

OR

  • Option Two: Continuing Education
    Earning 100 hours of continuing education credit provided by the professional development programs offered by Purdue University.

On January 2016, Purdue University College of Pharmacy assumed responsibility as the BPS Professional Development Provider for the recertification of Board Certified Nuclear Pharmacists (BCNP). Along with this new addition, BPS also announced an update in the continuing education requirement for recertification in Nuclear Pharmacy. Effective January 2016, all Board Certified Nuclear Pharmacists recertifying via continuing education will be required to earn 100 hours over the seven year certification period towards recertification in this specialty area.

Please note, pharmacists who attained BCNP prior to January 2016, this requirement will not apply to your current certification cycle.  Once you have completed the recertification process for your current cycle, your next cycle in this specialty will fall under these new guidelines and requirements. Therefore, you will be required to earn 100 hours of continuing education over the new seven year period in order to be eligible for recertification.

You can download the approved Continuing Education Transition Plan for all and NEW and CURRENT Board Certified Nuclear Pharmacists by clicking here.

More information on Purdue’s professional development program for BCNP recertification can be found here.

A BCNP recertifying via CE is required to earn 100 hours over the seven-year certification period. There are no restrictions as to which lessons in which years may be used to obtain the required number of hours.

At the time of recertification, the BCNP is also required to certify that (s)he is not currently under suspension by either the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission or a State Radiation Control Organization.

All candidates for recertification must have a current active license to practice pharmacy.

For full details regarding recertification, please refer to the BPS Recertification Guide.

Board Certified Nuclear Pharmacists are also required to pay the BPS Annual Certification Maintenance fee of $125 each year for years one through six and a $400 recertification fee in year seven. Individuals with more than one BPS certification will only be assessed one BPS Annual Certification Maintenance Fee each year.

Download PDF Fact Sheet

Nuclear Pharmacy seeks to improve and promote public health through the safe and effective use of radioactive drugs for diagnosis and therapy. Currently there are more than 400 BPS Board Certified Nuclear Pharmacists.

The BPS Board Certified Nuclear Pharmacist®:

  • Has the advanced knowledge and expertise required for the procurement, compounding, quality control testing, dispensing, distribution and monitoring of highly toxic radiopharmaceuticals used for PET scans and other diagnostic procedures
  • Prepares medications, troubleshoots problems with scans, and consults on health and safety issues concerning radiopharmaceuticals, as well as the use of non-radioactive drugs and patient care
  • Plays an important role in quality control and cost management by thoroughly testing each product before delivery, minimizing error and patient exposure to radiation, and identifying whether a patient is on any interfering medications

To become a BPS Board Certified Nuclear Pharmacist® (BCNP), a pharmacist must:

  • Graduate from a pharmacy program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) or a program outside the U.S. that qualifies that individual to practice in that jurisdiction (foreign-trained pharmacists must pass the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination Committee examination); and
  • Maintain a current, active license to practice pharmacy in the U.S. or another jurisdiction; and
  • Complete up to 4,000 hours of experience in nuclear pharmacy, including a residency accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP); an internship to satisfy requirements of state boards of pharmacy; and experience in a nuclear practice in a licensed nuclear pharmacy or health care facility (up to 2,000 of the 4,000 required hours can be academic hours, including undergraduate or graduate courses in Nuclear Pharmacy, an MS or PhD program in Nuclear Pharmacy, and/or successful completion of the Nuclear Pharmacy Certificate Program); and
  • Achieve a passing score on the BPS Nuclear Pharmacy Certification Examination.

BCNP’s are required to maintain their certification over a seven-year period by completing one of the following professional development activities:

Any BCNP seeking recertification must have a current active license to practice pharmacy; and is required to certify that they are not currently under suspension by either the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission or a State Radiation Control Organization.

Becoming BPS board certified enables pharmacists to:

  • Provide more comprehensive and complex patient care
  • Be prepared to step into pharmacy’s evolving position on the multidisciplinary treatment team
  • Improve their standing in a competitive employment market
  • Be recognized for their expertise by other healthcare professionals, employers, patients and insurers

 

Board certification through the Board of Pharmacy Specialties® is the gold standard for determining which pharmacists are qualified to contribute at advanced practice levels.

Through the rigorous examination standards mandated by the Board of Pharmacy Specialties®, the BPS board certified pharmacist is uniquely trained and educated to meet the continually expanding expectations of other healthcare team members and the specialized needs of the patients they serve.