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Medical Physics

  • Physics
  • Thread starter planethunter
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Hello everyone, I recently was admitted into a Master’s program in Applied Physics here in California and am interested in knowing more about what Medical Physics is as far as a career route for me.

I am starting the program this spring’11 semester.

Any info will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Hello everyone, I recently was admitted into a Master’s program in Applied Physics here in California and am interested in knowing more about what Medical Physics is as far as a career route for me.

I am starting the program this spring’11 semester.

Any info will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
What, more specifically, do you want to know? An entry detailing everything about medical physics would obviously be a bit too big :P

You could start looking at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_physics

then there are lots of old threads on what things are like as a medical physicist here if you search.
 
  • #3
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Thanks for the response! I want to know if I can get into a medical physics career with a masters in applied physics instead of a masters in medical physics.

How rewarding is medical physics in comparison to say a doctor or teacher?

How much do medical physicists make?
 
  • #4
Choppy
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It would be very difficult to get into medical physics with only a masters in applied physics. Most places will be looking for someone with a CAMPEP-accredited degree and the good jobs tend to be very competative. That being said, if you completed the master's degree and then jumped into a medical physics PhD you would be a lot more competative.

I find the profession extremely rewarding. I have the opportunity to make a significant contribution to the world, I have opportunities for some really interesting research, and I generally enjoy the work. On the down side, the hours are long and often you don't know when you will have to work overtime, the field can be very competative, and you carry a lot of responsibility (and of course it becomes stressful when this is not balanced out with authority).

If you're interested, join the AAPM as a student member and you will have access to the most recent salary survey data.
 
  • #5
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Choppy, thank you so much for the information! What is I obtained a masters in applied physics, and took various additional courses, ie. in the biological sciences, that would give me that extra knowledge? Would this make me more competitive? I am not sure if I would go for the PhD since at this point in my life it might be already too much school.

I read online that the starting salary for a medical physicist is about $120k. Is this true? It seems pretty high but again it is in the medical field so I am not surprised.
 
  • #6
Choppy
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The courses that are considered more or less manditory for doing clinical work these days are those given by the accredited programs: radiobiology, treatment planning, medical imaging and image processing, radiation interactions with matter, radiation protection, etc. A few extra biology courses might make you a little more competative, but remember, you'll be generally be competing against PhDs that have all the necessary course work anyway.

There was another post recently in the Medical Physics Jobs Outlook (USA) thread that contained a link to some salary survey data. Your salary, as with many other jobs will depend on a lot of factors. Most medical physicists start out as residents who don't make near that amount.
 

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