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Physics Med Physics: Moving from Australia to Canada

  1. Jun 11, 2016 #1
    Greetings fellow geniuses.

    As you may be aware from the title this thread is in regards to a career in Med. Physics.

    So I have lived in Canada for a decade and then moved down under. Now I have intentions of moving back to the cold weather :P.

    Anyhow I have an interest in a career in Med. Physics. I've done some reading on here in regards to becoming one in Canada and all I can say is holy **** that's tough but it's worth it.

    Hence I am asking for your opinion on which pathway is the best;

    Plan A) Do a M.Sc in Med. Physics here in Australia, work in a clinic for say 4-5 years tops and then move to Canada and continue working there?

    Plan B) Do the whole M.Sc/P.h.d in Canada and go through residency, etc. etc.

    All inputs are greatly appreciated.
    Thanks :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 11, 2016 #2


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    I'm a Canadian Medical Physicist and I'm not sure there's an objectively better option between the two. Generally speaking, certification through the ACPSEM is taken as equivalent to membership with the CCPM, I believe. So a lot will really depend on the specifics of the program and residency that you go through and what the best decision is for you.

    If the goal is to eventually come back to Canada, then there may be some advantages to doing your education and residency here. For one, many institutions tend to hire their own residents if a full time position comes up at the end of the residency. So it's a way to get your foot in the door. Also, your professional network will likely be stronger in the country where you study and gain clinical experience.

    My understanding is that the job market in Australia is better than it is in Canada right now (anecdotal), but that can easily change years down the road when you're looking for a position.
  4. Jun 11, 2016 #3
    Hi Choppy. Thanks for the reply.

    Yes the job market does seem to be better than Canada BUT the cost of living is through the roof (unless you work in regional).

    In regards to the statement which I've quoted would you assume it's possible to do the M.Sc/P.h.d here in Australia then do the residency in Canada? Or should I just do the M.Sc/P.h.d in Canada and continue on from there?
  5. Jun 11, 2016 #4


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    Yes, I think cost of living is getting out of control here too - at least in the major cities like Toronto and Vancouver. It's more reasonable in the smaller cities.

    It certainly would be possible for an Australian grad to obtain a residency in Canada. But whether it's probable, I'm pretty certain that you have a much better chance of landing a Canadian residency if you're a Canadian student. Most of the centres with Medical Physics residencies in Canada also have graduate programs, which tend to feed the residencies. In general there are more Canadian students who graduate than there are residency positions, last I checked. There certainly are occasions where students from outside the country are hired into residencies, but graduates from a school's own program tend to be seen as "internal" candidates - they're familiar with the hospital, faculty have had several years of experience with them to know how they handle stress, assess their work ethic etc. So I think that's what you're up against if that helps.
  6. Jun 12, 2016 #5


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    Choppy, let me ask a somewhat related question. As you've stated above, there are more Canadian students who graduate from medical physics programs than there are residency positions. The question then is this: to your knowledge, is there a good possibility for Canadian medical physics graduates to obtain a residency outside of Canada (say, in the US, the UK, Australia, etc.)? Or will Canadian graduates face the same hurdles that you mentioned to the OP -- that is, those graduates from medical physics programs in the US or Australia will look to "internal" candidates, thus putting Canadian medical physics graduates at a disadvantage?
  7. Jun 12, 2016 #6


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    Well, the knife cuts both ways. So Canadian medical physics graduates are likely to be at a disadvantage when applying to other residencies in other countries when compared against graduates of the institutions' programs. That doesn't mean that they shouldn't try or that they won't ever get in. The traits of the individual candidates are still the primary determining factors in these kinds of decisions. There are lots of examples of mediocre "internal" students being glossed over for outstanding external ones. And lots of Canadian graduates successfully go down to the US and elsewhere for their clinical training. In my experience most graduates from Canadian programs tend to end up working in the field in one way or another. If they don't get a residency directly out of graduate school they do post-doctoral work, get temporary clinical support positions, commissioning work, industrial positions (technical support, R&D, sales, product training, etc.), radiation safety positions, or get positions working outside of the country. And these days programs publish data on where their graduates end up - at least statistically if not specific details. So incoming students can see the track records of the institutions they're applying to.
  8. Jun 12, 2016 #7
    I was just going to ask whether if I do my M.Sc in Med. Physics I can work in some other related field in Canada. Although this quote doesn't fully answer that question it does shed light that there are such jobs out there :D
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