Nuclear Pharmacy

Nuclear Pharmacy was the very first specialty recognized by BPS in 1978 after receiving a petition from the American Pharmacists Association. Nuclear Pharmacy seeks to improve and promote the public health through the safe and effective use of radioactive drugs for diagnosis and therapy. A nuclear pharmacist, as a member of the nuclear medicine team, specializes in the procurement, compounding, quality control testing, dispensing, distribution, and monitoring of radiopharmaceuticals. In addition, the nuclear pharmacist provides consultation regarding health and safety issues, as well as the use of non-radioactive drugs and patient care. Those who are granted certification in this specialty may use the designation Board Certified Nuclear Pharmacist® and the initials BCNP, as long as certification is valid.

Eligibility Requirements (all practice eligibility requirements must be met prior to the candidate sitting for the examination)

The minimum requirements for certification in nuclear pharmacy are:
  • Graduation from a pharmacy program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) or program outside the U.S. that qualifies the individual to practice in the jurisdiction. Foreign trained pharmacists must pass the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination Committee (FPGEC) examination.
  • Current, active license 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 settings.

Academic-up to 2,000 hours:
  • Undergraduate courses in nuclear pharmacy: up to 100 hours experience for every quarter credit hour or 150 hours experience for every semester credit hour, to a maximum of 1,500 hours
  • Postgraduate courses in nuclear pharmacy: up to 100 hours experience for every quarter credit hour or 150 hours experience for every semester credit hour, to a maximum of 1,500 hours
  • MS or PhD degree in nuclear pharmacy: 2,000 hours
  • Successful completion of the Nuclear Pharmacy Certificate Program offered by Purdue University (217 hours) or The Ohio State University (214 hours), or the Nuclear Education Online (NEO) Program offered by the Universities of New Mexico and Arkansas (250 hours). Credit for other courses will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Training/Practice-up to 4,000 hours:
  • 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.

Examination Content

  • Domain 1: Procurement, Storage, and Handling (16 percent of examination)
  • Domain 2: Preparation, Compounding, and Dispensing (38 percent of examination)
  • Domain 3: Quality Assurance (17 percent of examination)
  • Domain 4: Health and Safety (19 percent of examination)
  • Domain 5: Drug Information and Professional Consultation (10 percent of examination)

Nuclear Pharmacy Content Outline


Recertification for Board Certified Nuclear Pharmacists® (BCNP) is a three-step process:

  • Self-evaluation: Review of the nuclear pharmacy practice activities/functions that have changed since initial certification or last recertification

  • Peer review: Documentation of nuclear pharmacy practice activities over the seven year certification period, which are then reviewed by the Specialty Council on Nuclear Pharmacy

  • Formal Assessment: This assessment of a practitioner's knowledge and skills will be accomplished through one of two methods:

    • Option One: Examination
      Achieve a passing score on the 100-item, multiple choice objective recertification examination based on the content outline. (Refer to the Nuclear Pharmacy Content Outline for details.)

    • Option Two: Continuing Education
      The continuing education option for recertification was implemented in 1976 with BPS’ designation of the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy's Correspondence Continuing Education Courses for Nuclear Pharmacists, beginning with Volume V, as an acceptable professional development program.

      A BCNP recertifying is required to earn 70 hours over the seven year certification period. At least 20 of these hours MUST be earned within the last three years of the certification period. There are no other restrictions as to which lessons in which years may be used to obtain the required number of hours, other than the lesson must have been issued in 1996 or thereafter (Volume V or later Volumes).
A current, active license to practice pharmacy is required for recertification.

As part of the recertification process, every BCNP is asked to complete an annual practice report form provided by BPS. The information is compiled by BPS at the beginning of the recertification process and sent to the BCNP for verification and updating. 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.