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Physics Medical physicist thinking of moving to US

  1. Aug 11, 2017 #1
    Hi all,

    I'm just home from a trip around the US and I've fallen in love with some of the beach towns just south of LA. I'm currently working as a medical physicist in Ireland. Two years ago I completed the UK medical physics training scheme and have UK state registration. Having done a search for medical physics jobs in California online, it seems impossible to get a job in the US without ABR registration, which I obviously am not eligible for. Does anyone know if it is possible for me to get a medical physics job in the US?

    Thanks for any advice.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 11, 2017 #2


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    Here are how things normally progress:

    1. You need to find a job opening that you are qualified for.

    2. Then, after you apply, and they short-list you, you often may either do a phone or skype interview, or you'll be asked to show up in person.

    3. Then, if they like you or you are the best candidate for the job, they will offer you a position.

    4. They will then start the process of getting you a permit to work in the US. This often will start off with a H-1B visa (if there's any left at that time of the year).

    5. Finally, after a maximum of 3 years, they'll work towards getting you permanent residency.

    I'm telling you all this so that you know the process. It isn't just a matter of whether it is "possible" to find a job in the US. It is a matter of finding the opportunity and the willingness of the potential employer to go through all that process for a non-citizen. And keep in mind, you will be competing with not only other US citizens for the job, but also non-citizens that are already residing in the US, either about to graduate or already holding temporary jobs. Most private employers tend to want to hire those that are already authorized to work in the US, because the process of obtaining visas can be time-consuming and costly to the company (and even to you). So in this case, being qualified for an opening isn't sufficient.

    So, if you haven't done so, look for job openings in the US in your area. This should tell you of your chances of landing a job here.

  4. Aug 11, 2017 #3


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    Why are you not eligible for certification by the American Board of Radiology? I didn't read all the requirements, but citizenship doesn't seem to be an issue:


    @Choppy may also be able to offer some insights.
  5. Aug 11, 2017 #4
    I think completion of a CAMPEP accredited training scheme is a requirement. The UK training scheme is not CAMPEP accredited (only US and Canadian training is). I'm not sure if it's something employers are strict about or not but it is stated on the person requirements for all medical physics jobs advertised online that I can find. Are there any medical physicists in the forum that could offer an insight?

    Thanks for all help!
  6. Aug 12, 2017 #5


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    Whether certification with the ABR is required or not varies from state to state. Some states licence medical physicists, in which case, ABR certification is generally required (although the licensing body will usually have rules in place for equivalency). According to the AAMP, California doesn't licence medical physicists, but it does have a registration system. In general, registration means that there's no legal teeth mandating that a medical physicist needs to have certification, but some kind of professional oversight body maintains a list of who in the state is considered qualified. In a competitive job market (which medical physics generally is in the US) it's highly unlikely to be hired if you're not on the registry.

    You might have to contact the ABR to see if they have a separate stream system for internationally-trained applicants. I'm Canadian and I haven't looked into that lately.
  7. Aug 13, 2017 #6
    Did you happen to do the residency program at National Radiation Oncology Physics Residency Programme. This one is CAMPEP accredited.
    Thought it was worth a try to ask since you said you are in Ireland.

    There is also a CAMPEP accredited masters at NUI Galway. You could potentially do that and then do the Irish residency and then become ABR certified.
  8. Aug 14, 2017 #7
    I'm afraid I didn't train there. I do work there now but I thought training in the UK would open more opportunities for me... that was clearly a terrible decision!!

    Training again is literally the last thing I could bring myself to do!! Training took three years out of my life and I just don't think I could go through that again. I'm sure it would be much much easier training with years of experience behind me but I don't think I could do that.

    Thanks for all the replies :)
  9. Aug 14, 2017 #8
    I'm moving to the US without a job, hoping to pick one up when I get there. I don't have ABR certification either, so I'm hoping to find a job the doesn't require it.

    I'm lucky though, in that my mother is a US citizen so I have been able to apply for a family- based green card. It was a slow process - I applied in 2012 and only got my approval 6 months ago. But that meant I was able to progress in my career while I was waiting, so have loads more experience to add to my CV. I also have a lot more cash in the bank, so I won't need to panic if I don't find a job straight away.

    Hope it works out for you Toeire.
  10. May 10, 2018 #9
    Hey Toelre! What did you do? Did you managed to go and work as a physicist in the usa?
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