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Medical Physics in Canada

  1. Oct 28, 2012 #1
    I just wanted to see what is the scope of medical physics in canada. Program websites on university webpages write so rosy picture of jobs(one leading university website predicts atleast 30 new jobs per year inside Canada). I find that ridiculous because when I go to medphys.ca and other career websites, there is hardly 1 new job per month. Most of them are temporary or out of country. Even those require experience. To my horror, there is a junior physicist position now a days at medphys.ca which REQUIRES a PhD. That is what somebody gets after a PhD? Leave passion for physics aside, people deserve respect and good wage after going to school for so long.

    Seems like all the speculation is "You can go to USA and earn more". Talking about certification. I find that interesting because CCPM specifically says that they will certify only Canadian citizens or job offer in Canada, while Canadians themselves speculate on USA jobs. ABR permits people outside country to give exams, but not CCPM. That is Hippocratic on CCPMs part. I think ABR should also create such criteria for non-US citizens.

    Anyways, coming back to jobs for freshers in Canada. Seems pretty pessimistic scenario......My question is why these university programs are blatantly lying on their websites about Rosy job scenarios when there is minimal actual demand "inside Canada"
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 28, 2012 #2


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    First off, you should realise that most jobs (and that includes medical physics positions) aren't openly advertized. Programs that have residency programs will usually hire their own residents. In such situations, HR uaually won't embark on a national recruitment campaign. Rather they will post the position internally to satisfy any legal requirements and members of the general public or those simply browsing the COMP or AAPM listings won't ever hear about them. The positions that make it out to the listings are only the tip of the iceberg.

    I don't know which program is making claims of 30 new hires every year, in Canada, but that's not an unreasonable number to me. In my province, since 2012 began, there have been approximately 5-7 new medical physicists hired, plus one director, plus one physics assistant. In 2011, I believe there were three physicists and one physics assistant. Personally I would have guessed the national average to be around 15-25 per year, but this is also a field that's exected to have about 40% growth over the coming decade. In planning for the number of graduate positions across the country, you also have to account for:
    (i) brain drain to the US and other countries,
    (ii) people who find work with commercial companies,
    (iii) failure rates.

    To be frank, with an attitude like this, medical physics is not going to be a good fit for you. Putting in the years to earn a PhD entitles you to the education that comes with it. That's it. It's not a guarantee of a meal ticket.

    That's not speculation. According to all the salary surveys I've seen, our American counterparts earn significantly more money. Right now, the US economy is slow, so the regular brain drain is not as significant. But that's a problem that faces many Canadian institutions in medical physics and many other fields - when you train someone there is always the risk that person will leave and go for the bigger paycheque.

    Can you point to me in the CCPM bylaws where it states citizenship requirements for membership? Here is a copy of the bylaws. I couldn't find it.
    http://www.ccpm.ca/media.php?mid=1940 [Broken]

    I'm pretty sure I know of non-US citizens who have certification with the ABR, and non-Canadian citizens who work outside the country and who have membership with the CCPM.

    It sounds to me like you're trolling for an answer that you want to hear. You could of course, contact that specific programs and ask what evidence they have to support their claims. I suspect they'll be able to give you something more solid than handwaving.

    However, I would also suggest that if you're that uspet about "blatant lying" then keep in mind this is Canada. No one had a gun to hold to your head to force you into a program you don't want to get into.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. Oct 29, 2012 #3

    I felt bad by tone of your reply. Letme show you what if other people start using your tone. Seems like a frustrated Canadian with high taxes and poor salary. Now, see my reply below. That is the tone people like you understand.

    Poor you :) Seems like you are one of those Canadians who constantly like to talk about USA being bad and this and that, but would love to come to USA to make more money.

    Also, poor Canadians who have to do PhD to become junior physicists. No need to tell me they are satisfied in their job - I know that. After a PhD, become a junior physicist in vancouver where average cost of home is 700,000+... hehe..satisfied...

    About the CCPM, I am actually not sure which part of laws you are looking at. Here is what their website says, and I am sure ABR should do the same to Canadian physicists so that brain drain to USA can stop and YES that would tell the canadian programs how many medical physicsits they should produce...some reality check on not being 52 state of the USA.

    ABR should also serve USA citizens only, not graduates from Canadian programs. Tell that to your Canadian students and they can reply better to you....and how much they love to stay in Canada.

    "The CCPM certification process is intended to serve Canadians. Candidates are expected to fulfill at least one of the following criteria: be a Canadian citizen; be resident in Canada; have completed a university degree in Canada; have completed a medical physics residency program in Canada; or have a confirmed job offer in Canada. Under exceptional circumstances, candidates not fulfilling any of these criteria may be eligible at the discretion of the Board. In such circumstances, an out-of-country application fee equal to three times the normal application fee will apply."

    Huh..jealous Canadians...a 52nd state

    Btw, I was not expecting you to bash me in your reply, but your reply prompted me. And dont tell me I should not become a medical physicists for whatever reasons. I will become, none of your business...will be a better physicist than you Mr or Miss or whatever Choppy... Choppy..huh..
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  5. Oct 29, 2012 #4
    Quasar, you made this thread with a negative tone. Choppy provided a more than helpful reply to your questions, along with suggestions for how you can find more information.

    However, Choppy is a Canadian medical physicist. Presumably he studied at a Canadian graduate school and is a member of the CCPM. You shouldn't be surprised if your blatant attacks on all of the above were taken negatively.

    And quite frankly I agree with Choppy regarding Ph.D.s and junior physicist positions. A Ph.D. will almost certainly not fully prepare you for a clinical position in medical physics. You need further training in the clinical aspects of the job, either through a residency or through supervision/training under a senior physicist while you work as a junior physicist. The Ph.D. will serve you well while getting your foot in the door, but for the safety of your patients you still need that additional clinical training.

    There are a handful of us medical physicists on the forum and we are all fully willing to help answer questions from anyone interested in the field. Choppy has an excellent history of providing help and guidance to people such as yourself on this forum.

    If you are truly interested in pursuing medical physics as a career then you should probably work on projecting an image of yourself as a medical professional, and not resort to the sorts of responses you gave above.
  6. Oct 29, 2012 #5
    I find it bit derogatory when some people says PhD's make better clinicians, as if MSc guys will causing pain and killing people around. I was talking to one of my seniors and he told of an incident in US where the Physicist was a PhD, and guess what, he came from Canada to USA. That incident is another reason Physicists from Canada should not be permitted ABR exams, just like CCPM does not permit certification to US citizens. I will start bugging ABR board regarding this discriminatory CCPM policy, and demand a reciprocity ABR policy for non-US citizens until unless CCPM changes the policy.

    Seeing your above comments about glorifying Canadian PhDs by pitching PhD Vs MSc, and the CCPM discriminatory policy - it is clear that Canadian medical physics is a low wage self serving discriminatory environment where patients are also served poorly with PhD vs MSc politics and months of MRI wait times.

    Personal conclusion for me - I am better of not applying to Canadian programs. I will do same or better patient service in USA and also make more money as an added benefit to that. Definitely better by not ending up as a junior physicist with a PhD in cloudy and rainy depressing Vancouver with $700k shack houses.

    Thanks guys! I'm out of here...
  7. Oct 29, 2012 #6
    I'm not sure why I'm even bothering to dignify your nonsense with a response, but here goes:

    You do realize that if you wish to become certified by the ABR you will have to spend two years in a clinical residency program working longer hours and getting paid less than even the junior physicists you seem to despise so much?

    And for the record, most of us American medical physicists think very highly of our Canadian counterparts and their graduate programs and residencies. This attitude you have will do you no favors when seeking work inside the United States.
  8. Oct 29, 2012 #7


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    Eric, thanks for your kind words. I don't think this poster is interested at all in facts that interrupt his pre-defined notions of how the world works.

    I'm going to call Troll on this one.
  9. Feb 22, 2014 #8
    More than a year, just revisiting....surprised by lack of data behind statements made above.

    Fact is Universities in Canada are misguiding the prospect of medical physics career. Here is what one says

    "Employment of Medical Physicists in CanadaThere are approximately 250 medical physicists working in Canada: 75% work in hospitals and hospital-based research establishments, 7% work for government, 8% for industry, and an additional 10% are university faculty who are not hospital-based. The number of medical physics positions has generally increased by about 5-10% per year."


    Fact: in last 1 year, less than 5 "full-time entry level" regular jobs have been posted on medphys.ca and other websites career websites.

    So, where is this increase of 5-10% of 250 coming from. False rosy pictures. Do MSc, PhD, 2 year residency - no jobs or maybe some assistant physicist for years somewhere....

    Choppy, let's talk factual numbers with data, not political statements...don't misguide the innocent.
  10. Feb 22, 2014 #9


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    I'm not sure what you're looking for in a response here, Quasar1981. A year and a half ago I explained to you that not all jobs are posted on the COMP or AAPM websites.

    For what it's worth in my province, there are currently four open/recently closed positions. One full time position was filled about nine months ago. That's five in the last year in a province that has roughly 40 medical physicists.

    If you have a major issue with the link you've posted - why not contact that organisation instead of trying to pin their statement on me? I'm sure they can cite a source for you. All I can do, as someone who is working in the field, is tell you whether or not the statement appears reasonable based on my experience.
  11. Mar 29, 2015 #10
    Hi Guys, i am also a Canadian (Ph.D., and CCPM certified) medical physicist who for whatever reason, call it faith or bad-luck or just circumstances, was not able to find a job in Canada three years ago and had to relocate to Australia for work. To this date, despite applying multiple times back to Candian centers, i have not even had a single invitation for an interview and four years of post residency clinical experience dose not seem to matter too much difference. It kind of feels like all the doors are closed for a return. The fact is while Australia from what i have seen, takes good care of its own, this does not seem to be the case in Canada.
  12. Mar 29, 2015 #11
    These poorly constructed sentences look oddly similar to what quasar1981 would post...
  13. Mar 29, 2015 #12
    Man that was harsh
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