Nuclear pharmacists are licensed to prepare and dispense radioactive drugs called radiopharmaceuticals. They may also be involved in developing new radiopharmaceuticals and monitoring the health of patients treated with such drugs. While not every school of pharmacology deals with nuclear medicine, there are nuclear pharmacy programs offered at colleges and universities in every region of the United States.
Schools in the Northeast
At Temple University in Philadelphia, you can earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, or Pharm.D., by way of a nuclear pharmacy elective track. This track will lead you to a certificate in this specialty on top of the Pharm.D. At the State University of New York at Buffalo, the Center for Positron Emission Tomography makes use of the latest imaging technology to study a wide variety of radiopharmaceuticals. This center is used to train pharmacy students wishing to specialize in nuclear pharmacy.
Schools in the South
The University of Oklahoma has a dedicated department of Nuclear Pharmacy housed within its College of Pharmacy. This department is meant to serve as a model teaching facility for nuclear medicine technologists, health physicists, residents, physicians and nuclear pharmacists, as well as pharmacy students. Pharm.D. graduates who have received this training can earn a board certified specialty in nuclear pharmacy. At the Medical University of South Carolina, the Division of Nuclear Medicine offers a residency in nuclear medicine which has been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Successful completion of this residency will provide eligibility for certification by the American Board of Nuclear Medicine.
Schools in the Midwest
Ohio State University has a nuclear pharmacy located within its department of nuclear medicine. Pharmacy students interested in this specialty may elect to serve a residency here, where they will assist the nuclear pharmacist on staff with daily pharmacy operations, including safe preparation and disposal of radiopharmaceuticals. At Purdue University in Indiana, Pharm.D. candidates may enroll in the nuclear pharmacy courses offered as part of the professional curriculum. Studies include diagnostic imaging, positron emission tomography and nuclear medicine case studies.
Schools in the West
The University of New Mexico's College of Pharmacy offers a radiopharmacy graduate certificate that is awarded upon completion of 24 semester hours of coursework in this area. This program fulfills the requirements of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and state agencies for listing as an authorized nuclear pharmacist on a radioactive materials license. At the University of Utah, the nuclear pharmacy program is part of the department of pharmacotherapy. The university's training facility is considered to be the the largest radiopharmacy in the Intermountain West, a region that includes Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming as well as Utah.