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Physics Med physics grad school

  1. Jun 4, 2012 #1
    I am board certified Dosimetrist (CMD) and have been accepted to a Medical Physics Graduate Program but it is NOT Campep approved. If I attend and graduate will I be able to get into a Campep approved medical physics residency? Will I be dramatically less competitive vs. Phd applicants. I have a great deal of clinical knowledge and experience and now need to further my academic education to move up in the field. Will I be competitive in the job market as a
    MS physicist vs a PHD physicist?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 4, 2012 #2


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    It's highly unlikely unless the program becomes accredited while you are working your way through it. Most accedited residencies are also associated with accredited graduate programs which generally feed them. (And really how much of a flag would it be if the program wasn't accepting its own graduates?)

    MSc physicists can still be resonably competative in the market places. Some institutions prefer MSc-level candidates because (a) they are seen as more clinically- and less research-oriented, and (b) they are seen as costing less. Both of those are generalizations, but they are factors that the MSc medical physicist has in his or her favour. However the bigger question is board certification in my opinion. If you have it, you're qualified for just about any clinical position advertised. If you don't, you're competing with everyone else for the positions that don't require it.
  4. Jun 4, 2012 #3
    The program is just starting and I would be part of the inaugural class. I believe to submit a Campep review there has to be at least one graduating class (I would be it). That is why it would not be Campep approved (There is a bit of a catch 22 there). I am very hesitant to begin this program because of the devoted time, money, and if it does not lead to a residency there is no avenue to the ABR part 1. Do you know of any residencies that accept graduates from programs other than their own?
  5. Jun 4, 2012 #4


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    I don't mean to imply there is no cross-fertilization. It does happen. Sometimes a residency position opens up and there aren't any graduates from the current program immediately able to fill it - or you may have one or two who have done the bare minimum to pass their program. In these cases external candidates are looked at.

    If you're looking at the ABR, I believe that by 2014, the rule is you will need BOTH a graduate degree and a residency to be from accredited programs in order to write the second part. (I don't claim to be an expert on the ABR rules though.)

    One option for you might be to graduate from the program with an MSc, then stick through a PhD - where you will have accreditation by the time you graduate. Maybe that's not consistent with your timelines or financial constraints. However, if you are a CMD, then rather than just doing some QA, you might be able to work part time as a dosimetrist within the department.

    There may also be some grandfathering clauses in the accreditation process too. I don't know, but this would be worth looking into. When I started my PhD, my program was not accredited, but it achieved that status when I was part way through. I am considered to have come from an accredited program.
  6. Aug 29, 2012 #5
    This is all for the US:

    Just a note about the ABR - there are undergraduate level classes that are required to be taken as well as the CAMPEP accredited program and residency.
    To be able to sit for the 2014 boards you would have to register in 2013 (by October 31). In order to do that, you would have to be enrolled in a CAMPEP accredited graduate program.
    If you do not register in 2013, you will have to go on and do a residency at a CAMPEP residency program.
    I am thinking I'm a little late with this response - but hope it might help other people in the future. It's a little confusing at the moment with all the requirements, and I think it would be a bad idea for anyone to enter a non CAMPEP program at this point unless they are going to be accredited within the next year (which some are) - it's something to ask.

    So - as of right now - if you enroll in non CAMPEP program, unless they get accredited while you're there, you will never be able to become board certified as a medical physicist in the United States.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012
  7. Aug 29, 2012 #6


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    Do you have a source for undergraduate class requirements? This is the first I've heard of anything about needing specific undergraduate courses to qualify for the ABR exams. Most CAMPEP-accredited programs will have specific requirements for admission into their graduate programs (ie. a physics degree or equivalent), but those are established by the schools themselves, not the ABR.
  8. Aug 30, 2012 #7
    It's very possible that they changed this requirement. As of last year, submitting your undergraduate information was part of the process (if you didn't have an undergraduate physics degree). They're requirements page seems to have changed, again. (It's been changing yearly as they go through all these CAMPEP changes). Here's an older form that says they were doing random audits:


    I know of 4 people who applied within the past 2 years who had to go back and take undergraduate physics courses because their undergraduate degree was not in physics. You were required to have the equivalent of a minor in physics - even if you went to a CAMPEP school.

    There's this note on the ABR website:
    For candidates who are fulfilling requirements for previously submitted registrations, the coursework must be completed by December 31, 2012.

    Which must be referring to that. In order to get grandfathered in and be able to take the exam without being in a CAMPEP program, you would have had to have submitted an application already, and it looks like have your requested coursework completed by the end of this year to be eligible to take it. The people I know of who had to take undergraduate classes were in a CAMPEP program. The one person had to take E&M and another had to take Modern Physics. I'm not sure specifically what the others needed.

    The point though, is that the ABR has been very strict about things - so I wouldn't mess with it. If you're not going to a CAMPEP program, it's going to be difficult for you.
  9. Aug 30, 2012 #8
    From AAPM on this topic http://www.aapm.org/announcements/ABRCAMPEPPressRelease.pdf

    Once you pass the ABR, no one will care, IMO. It appears the program must at least be in the process of obtaining CAMPEP status. If you aren't ABR cert., you will be toast in the US market, IMO
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