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.
An applicant for board certification in Nuclear Pharmacy must demonstrate all of the requirements listed below prior to sitting for the initial certification examination. Once all of the requirements below are met, an applicant will be deemed eligible to sit for the Nuclear Pharmacy specialty certification examination. If an applicant achieves a passing score on the Nuclear Pharmacy specialty certification examination, they may use the designation Board-Certified Nuclear Pharmacist, or BCNP.
- 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.
- Demonstration of practice experience through 4,000 hours of post-licensure practice experience1 in nuclear pharmacy. The 4,000 hours may be earned in a variety of settings, but must be from within the past seven years prior to application date:
- 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. This option is 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.
- Successful completion of PGY11 or PGY2 Nuclear Pharmacy residency within the past seven years, 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 hours2.
- 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.
1American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)-accredited/candidate status PGY1 pharmacy residency, residencies accredited under the ASHP Accreditation Standard for International Pharmacy Practice Residency Programs, or Canadian Pharmacy Residency Board (CPRB)-accredited Year 1 pharmacy residency.
2All applicants intending to demonstrate eligibility for any BPS certification examination utilizing the internship pathway must provide an attestation from their employer, on company letterhead, that verifies this experience accurately represents 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.
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 BCNP certification examination, 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)
Updates in 2023: Please note that the Nuclear Specialty Certification and Recertification examinations will transition to continuous testing starting in 2023.
To learn more about the transition to continuous testing, click here.
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.
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.