4 Nontraditional Jobs for Pharmacists

SEPTEMBER 04, 2015
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor

2. Nuclear Pharmacist

About half of health care professionals in a recent study had no idea that pharmacists played a role in nuclear medicine departments, so there is a good chance that pharmacy students and pharmacists have not considered this career path.

Nuclear pharmacists promote the safe and effective use of radioactive drugs. According to the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS), nuclear pharmacists are involved in a host of activities such as compounding, quality control testing, dispensing, distribution, monitoring, and consulting on health and safety issues related to radiopharmaceuticals.

BPS recognized nuclear pharmacy as its first specialty in 1978. To be eligible for certification, pharmacists must have 4000 hours of training or experience with nuclear pharmacy practice.

Some academic opportunities to fill these required hours include undergraduate courses, post-graduate courses, an MS or PhD degree in nuclear pharmacy, or completion of a Nuclear Pharmacy Certificate Program, which is offered at Purdue University and Ohio State University, or through online programs at the University of New Mexico and the University of Arkansas. 

Training in a residency, internship, or at a licensed nuclear pharmacy or health care facility approved to handle radioactive materials may also count toward those 4000 hours of practice.

BPS’s exam for nuclear pharmacy covers storage, handling, compounding, dispensing, quality assurance, drug information, and professional consultation, among other topics.