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 360 BPS Board Certified Nuclear Pharmacists.
The BPS Board Certified Nuclear Pharmacist specializes in the procurement, preparation, compounding, dispensing, and distribution of radiopharmaceuticals, as well as the regulatory aspects governing these processes. In addition, the nuclear pharmacist serves as the medication expert within the healthcare team regarding clinical aspects of radiopharmaceuticals and non-radioactive drugs used in patient care.
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. A sample employer verification letter is available here: Sample.
(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.
**Effective January 1, 2013, residency programs accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and completed by the applicant within the past 7 years, or new residency programs granted Candidate Status for accreditation by ASHP are creditable for this purpose. Also, residencies accredited under the ASHP Accreditation Standard for International Pharmacy Practice Residency Programs meet the BPS eligibility criteria for PGY1 or Year 1 residencies.
Effective January 1, 2022, Year 1 residency programs or new residency programs granted Candidate Status for accreditation by the Canadian Pharmacy Residency Board (CPRB) are also acceptable for meeting BPS eligibility criteria that recognize Year 1 or PGY1 residency training. Residency training must be completed by the applicant within 7 years of the application date.
***Practice experience should be from within the past seven years prior to the application date.
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 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, 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.
For the Spring and Fall 2022 Examination, please refer to the Nuclear Pharmacy Content Outline found in the BCNP Examination Specification document 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: Personnel, 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;
- 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.