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Medical Physics salaries

  1. Jun 29, 2007 #1
    hi could someone please tell me about salaries and future job trends in this field? say if you graduate from the 2yr residency after your m.s. degree, should you be able to get a $150k/yr job in a city like san diego? or at least in some coastal carolina city? also once you get a job do you just keep it untill you retire? or you can switch to some other job? and how many hrs/wk do u work? how many weeks of vacation?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 29, 2007 #2
    I don't know as much about Medical Physics as I do about med school, but the salary would probably be a bit lower (other factors affecting salary include whether you graduated from an accredited or unaccredited program); probably more like $120k to start, with an MS. Anyway, like I said, I'm interested in becoming a Rad Onc, and as far as I know, hours are fairly regular (for a physician). Assuming you are doing radiation therapy, most facilities only operate on weekdays, and hold regular hours. It's not a specialty that deals with emergencies, since it takes a lot of planning for each patient.

    So to summarize, $150k sounds a bit high; that is the salary someone with a Ph.D. from an accredited program would be making, not an MS (whether its accredited or not). You should be able to find a job, but you might have to do some looking around and be willing to live somewhere other than SD or coastal Carolina. The statistics have said there is currently an increase in the number of MP grads, with the same amount of job openings, so it's not a field that is starving for employees (like nursing). Nonetheless, you should be able to live in those areas and find a job within a reasonable commuting distance, I'd say.

    Good luck.
  4. Jun 29, 2007 #3
    As of the 2006 AAPM salary survey, starting salaries for an MS level medical physicist without board certification was an average $96k (n=81, 20-80th percentile range $85-109) (a good deal higher than what I started out at). You generally don't reach salaries in the 6 figure range without having at least board certification and 5-7 years experience. Whether you keep the job until you retire or switch to something else depends entirely on you. you're always free to relocate, stay in the same spot, change professions, whatever. Work hours is also highly dependent on the job and your personality, but for the most part tend to be fairly regular 8-5 type jobs. Vacation time depends entirely on the employer.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2007
  5. Jan 26, 2010 #4
    I am concerned when someone posts salary as a way to draw someone into a field. I have seen many biased reports come from the AAPM, especially when they are self-serving.

    1.) I remember talking with a woman who discovered that she was "underpaid" according the AAPM salary survey. The academic center where she worked had a policy of "matching the published" salary survey to retain their employees. The AAPM is mostly run by those same academics, so there is a potential advantage to biasing the median in studies such as this.

    2.) A committee that was studying medical physics residencies reported that these residencies were failing. Still, the AAPM publishes ALL jobs postings as favoring graduates of a CAMPEP approved residency. This is a sharp contrast from the job postings made back in 2003. In 2003 many postings merely asked for experience as a simple dosimetrist (B.S. graduate). Every 2-3 years the required length of experience escalates another 2-3 years.
  6. Jan 26, 2010 #5


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    Was it really worth resurrecting a thread that's almost 3 years old to voice such concerns?

    What report is this?

    Also, even back in 2003, experience as a dosimetrist did not qualify one as a medical physicist.
  7. Jan 28, 2010 #6
    Let's not kid ourselves here. Most medical physics programs require only about a year of regular classes. The rest is elective and Ph.d. research. You don't need research to be a successful clinical medical physicist as the number of people holding masters degrees in the field will attest to. And that year of extra classes constitutes a number of topics which are widely irrelevant to clinical medical physics, such as scatter compensation on radiographs or magnetic resonance imaging theory. I see no reason why a properly trained "dosimetrist" couldn't perform the functions of a medical physicist with a Ph.d., sans research. And let's face it, the majority of clinicians aren't doing research anyway.
  8. Jan 28, 2010 #7


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    For clarity, please define what you feel are the functions of a clinical medical physicist.

    I suspect we're talking about two different things.
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