How Do I Become a Radiopharmacist?

Whitney Leigh White

To become a radiopharmacist, you must learn how to dispense and compound radioactive materials that are often used in cancer medications. Educational requirements to become this type of pharmacist include a two- and four-year Doctorate in Pharmacy, also known as a Pharm-D. Most states and provinces across the globe also mandate that you pass licensing exams and/or specialized certification processes. The occupation requires you to possess certain types of skills, including superb judgment and decision-making capabilities, as well as top-notch analytical competencies. In addition to excellent memorization, to become a radiopharmacist, you need good finger dexterity and visual color discrimination.

A radiopharmacist fills all prescriptions that include drugs with radioactive components.
A radiopharmacist fills all prescriptions that include drugs with radioactive components.

Your duties as a radiopharmacist require you to have a wide-range of extensive knowledge in anything related to the industry. In addition to understanding the chemical composition of substances, you need to know how they process and transform when combined with other constituents. Other areas of specialized knowledge necessary to become a radiopharmacist include biology, medicine, dentistry, and also customer service.

It generally takes about six years to finish a Pharm-D program. Even after successfully graduating, most employers and federal, state, or provincial regulations mandate that you complete continuing educational courses or workshops to maintain your license. Some schools that offer a Pharm-D program may also require you to attend some type of residency training, which usually last between one to two years. Your first employer as a radiopharmacist will most likely have you work with an experienced radiopharmacist before working on your own.

The medical nature of a career in radiopharmacy makes it an occupation in which you must master certain skills. One of the most prevalent skills needed is being able to use scientific rules and/or methods to solve problems. It is also valuable to be proficient in operational and system analyses. Since this job involves interacting with physicians and patients, excellent social skills and great communication capabilities are advantageous to have. Most times, you will be working with pictures, numbers, procedures, and words, making it pertinent that you have a first-rate memory.

Your sight and coordination should be in good condition to become a radiopharmacist. Even if you must wear glasses or contacts, you need the ability to see both far and near. Finger dexterity is important because you will likely be working with small materials by grasping, manipulating, and assembling them. Manual dexterity, the ability to detect the differences between colors, and a steady hand and arm are other health-related capabilities needed to become a radiopharmacist.

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