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Medical Physics Salaries

  1. Apr 6, 2014 #1
    Question for all you physics experts:

    A friend of mine recently decided to pursue medical physics as a career because she heard from some guy who is a medical physicist that he made $150K 2 years after getting his PhD (he is now 30). He did a couple of clinical internships in those two years, and he is now based in Mayo Clinic. He also mentioned he was getting some certificates, which would increase his salary to $200K within the next year.

    Does this sound reasonable? I tried looking on Glassdoor and Payscale and I'm getting that he can't be making more than $110K, being relatively fresh out of grad school...unless MN salaries are all inflated. I realize that there might be more factors but I know nothing about physics or careers in it.

    Thoughts? Does this sound normal? I'm telling her to NOT base her decision off that one person, because I cannot imagine such a high salary for someone starting out.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 7, 2014 #2
    I don't think 150k starting is outrageous, and I doubt glassdoor is a good source of salary information for that area.

    The most important thing your friend needs to do is to understand how difficult it is to end up in those jobs in the first place.
  4. Apr 7, 2014 #3


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    While medical physics is generally a well-paying branch of physics, both of those figures, for a person with less than four years of experience (without and with board certification), would put that person above the 90th percentile of reported earning in both cases accourding to data from the AAPM

    Therefore that single data point would be somewhat misleading.

    Realistically speaking becoming a medical physicsist involves a doing a PhD. There you get paid about as much as any other graduate student in physics would - sometimes less in fact as not all medical physics programs guarantee a TA. You can get into the field with an MSc, but the market is very competative right now, so I would advise any student considering the field to assume long haul toward a PhD. Following that, you would work as a resident for ~ 2 years and there you earn a salary consistent with that of most other post-docs in physics (maybe a little higher). Once you have your certification, you can generally start earning the larger pay cheques, but again, the field is competative.
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