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Physics Comparing masters degree options for an aspiring RSO

  1. Nov 22, 2017 #1
    Hey everyone,

    At present, I'm trying to determine whether I should pursue a masters degree in health physics vs medical physics in pursuit of a career in radiation safety. From what I've seen in RSO job postings, requirements can vary rather widely depending on the institution, state requirements, and individual hiring preferences. However, I've noticed most positions require an MS in HP and/or MP along with board certification by the ABHP, ABR, ABMP, and/or the Canadian equivalent. For the record, if I go for the MS in medical physics, I do not plan to pursue an ABR. Instead, I'll be going for my CHP starting with part 1 next year and part 2 once I've acquired enough work experience. I should note that I work full time, so I'm only considering online programs.

    Some general background information regarding my education/experience:
    - Graduated with a BS in nuclear and radiological engineering in 2014
    - Worked 3 years in radiation monitoring systems
    - Recently started work as a radiation safety specialist under a broad scope type A license with a large portion of RAM usage dedicated to medical research
    - I already have access to a CAMPEP accredited online MP program and could begin next semester. This would save me the trouble of potentially retaking the GRE and awkwardly bothering my references for a second time for graduate school applications. However, an MS HP seems more affordable and potentially more applicable for non-medical institutions.

    Based on your knowledge and personal experience, does it matter whether I get an MS in HP vs MP for the purpose of becoming a radiation safety officer?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 22, 2017 #2
    Excellent background for an RSO. I had beeen an RSO for over 30 yrs as a medical physicist ABR certified. If radiation safety is your primary interest I would think that an MS in health physics would give you a broader range of employment opportunities for example in the nuclear power industry or other industrial application of radiation/RAM which would not be covered very well in a medical physics program.
  4. Nov 22, 2017 #3


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    I would tend to agree with Gleem.

    An MSc in medical physics can get you into broad range of radiation safety positions, but most medical physics programs are focused on radiation oncology physics. So if you have no intention of going into that area then a big portion of the coursework and/or research may not be relevant to your final career.
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