The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging describes nuclear pharmacy as one of several specializations within the pharmacy profession. Nuclear pharmacists are specially trained in a nuclear pharmacy program to obtain and administer radioactive pharmaceuticals for the purposes of nuclear imaging and medical procedures. There are several factors that may impact the pay of a nuclear pharmacist, including their professional setting, where they work, and years of experience.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average annual salary for all pharmacists in May 2012 was $114,950. Pharmacists working in general medical and surgical hospitals, including nuclear pharmacists, were reported to have earned an average annual salary of $113,180. Nuclear pharmacists may also be employed in universities and colleges of pharmacy. The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy reports that full-time professors of pharmacy earned an average of $152,778 in 2012.
Salary by Region
There are nuclear pharmacies located in every state, providing ample opportunities for nuclear pharmacists to find gainful employment. Some states report a higher average salary for pharmacists than others. BLS reports that Alaska and Maine are among the highest-paying states for pharmacists, at $129,170 and $128,030 annual salaries, respectively. Nebraska has the lowest annual salary for pharmacists, paying $100,830 on average.
Becoming a nuclear pharmacist requires additional training, beyond that of traditional pharmacy school. In addition to attending a college of pharmacy that offers preparatory training in nuclear pharmacy, some states require that you complete a clinical residency prior to practicing as a nuclear pharmacist. Once you have completed your training, you must then pass the licensing exam offered by the Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties.
Student Loan Reimbursement
Some employers of nuclear pharmacists may be able to offset lower salaries with loan-repayment assistant programs. These types of repayment programs assist recent graduates by providing a cash stipend to be applied toward your existing student loan debt in exchange for a guarantee that you will remain in that company's employee for an agreed-upon amount of time. If you have accumulated $75,000 in student loans while earning your pharmacy degree, and your employer offers you a salary of $111,000 a year with a $400 monthly student loan repayment stipend, the $4800 per year in student loan stipends may place you in a better financial situation that accepting a job at $114,000.