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Medical Physics CAMPEP graduate programs in Canada

  1. Oct 6, 2015 #1

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    I'm currently in 3rd year of Medical Physics and hoping to work in the hospital as Medical Physicist. After going through the forum, it seems like the field is saturated and the PhD in accredited program is basically required to get into the residency program. Does it matter which graduate school you are from? Which school offers the best CAMPEP program in Canada?

    Also, to those currently in the field, what is the working condition and hours of Medical Physicist?
     
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  3. Oct 6, 2015 #2

    Choppy

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    Welcome to PF!

    If you haven't seen it, Insights has a summary on the road to becoming a medical physicist here.

    I'm not sure I would say the field is "saturated" as it can still be tough finding qualified medical physicists. The residency is a bottleneck though and it's really competitive to get one. In Canada, my experience is that MSc grads have a much more difficult time securing residency positions than PhD graduates, so for students interested in the field now, I would strongly suggest expecting to stick it out for the PhD. The CAMPEP data seem to indicate that a reasonable number of MSc grads in the US get residencies though, but if you're Canadian, you might face an uphill battle to get imported with only an MSc.

    Coming from an accredited program is virtually a necessity. Beyond that though, there's no "ivy league" of medical physics schools and to my knowledge no one has bothered to rank the medical physics programs. Choosing a medical physics program is a lot more about finding the right fit for you - one where you're going to work on an interesting project, one with mentors that you can learn from, one in a location that works for you, etc.

    Medical physicists, as a general rule, put in long hours. I usually work at least one hour longer than our clinical day and some days I have to stay a lot later. That's just the nature of the job. If one of your linear accelerators is down, or someone decides to upgrade some piece of software, you're the one who's responsible for saying that the machine is good to treat patients with and so you have to deal with all the problems and headaches need you to get you there from where you're at.

    It can also be a high-stress position. Medical physicists are often a hub that interfaces physicians, IT staff, radiation therapists, hospital managers, dosimetrists, service specialists, radiation safety officers, external contractors and commercial vendors. Often this means that you're the one that people come to when something isn't working the way it's supposed to, or when they want to figure out how to do something new, and there aren't any instructions on how to do it. On top of that, errors in medical physics can affect large cohorts of patients in very serious ways. So there can be a lot of pressure at times.

    There are benefits though. For one, there are a lot of research opportunities (if you can squeeze them in). And once you're in, you can make a decent income doing something that can really help a lot of people.
     
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