Hey all, I've read a lot of perspectives on Medical Physics job market and residency market and I thought I had a moral obligation to contribute to the conversation as I have first-hand experience. I just went through the residency application process. I am a graduating Medical Physics Masters student who just got a residency. My graduate program is pretty good in my opinion and has been CAMPEP-accredited for longer than most (More than five years). We have some top researchers and big names in the field. If you want to get into this field, you need to go to a CAMPEP-accredited graduate program BTW. I liked all my advisors and professors. I think they are good people who did right by me. I am a pretty competitive student (4.0 grad school GPA, rec. letters from big names in the field, research awards). I applied to 25 radiation oncology physics residencies. I had five in-person interviews. I ended up getting 2 offers. The offer I took is with an institution that regularly hires most of their residents after they complete their residency, so things are looking pretty good for me. I'm telling you this so you know I'm not just some bitter unemployed low-quality candidate who is ranting and projecting my personal failures. I am a top-notch student who is getting offers even in a very competitive market. I can't be any more specific about my credentials though for fear of retribution. But the market for residencies is just that, competitive. It’s very tough out there. It may be a bottleneck year because people have to jump on the residency train for the new requirements that take place in 2014. The requirements are going to make it mandatory to do a residency if you want to get certified by the ABR to be a practicing medical physicist. Programs haven't expanded their residencies enough, but still, it was REALLY competitive and I don't know if it will be easier next year. Additionally, there are plenty of people who haven't got residencies yet and thus re-applied, meaning there is an excess group of candidates who are still trying to get their foot in the door. Considering how competitive it was this year (I know people who didn’t get anything), I expect more of this next application season. This isn't even considering the job market post-residency, which may not be much better. Every single residency program I applied to probably had at least 100 applicants. Note that a residency program usually has 1 slot available, sometimes two, rarely more. The following is a list of programs, slots available, and number of applicants. This information is from personal experience and from talking to fellow students. This is for the 2013 application season (i.e. for residencies that start July 1st, 2013). Northwest Medical Physics near Seattle - 1 slot - 160 applicants Ohio State - 1 slot - over 100 applicants - interviewed 13 Thomas Jefferson - 3 slots - over a 150 applicants – interviewed more than 20 NYU Langone - 1 slot - over a 100 applicants -said they'd interview 10 Emory - 1 slot - over 100 applicants UCLA - 1 slot - over 140 applicants Henry Ford Health System - 1 slot - over a 100 applicants - interviewed 11 Additionally, my friend interviewed at University of Wisconsin's residency program and said they interviewed 7 total for 1 slot, but I don't know how many applied. I don't have the rest of the numbers, but you'd be hard pressed to find a residency program that didn't have a least 90 applicants to it. Granted, people are probably applying to every program they can, so a lot of these applicants are also applicants at other places, but its still pretty bad. Google "campep accredited residencies" and look at how many programs there are yourself. Almost none of these places paid for travel or lodging expenses during the interview process. I'd say most Masters graduates (50% +) did NOT get a residency this application season. It’s a lot better for Ph.D., but I really wouldn't want to get a Ph.D. job just to do clinical work, as you definitely don't need a Ph.D. to do that type of work. And unfortunately, the vast majority of these master students paid for their own education, unlike Ph.D.s who get their education paid for and get a living stipend. The issue here is that most of the graduate programs have their Master students pay their own way. I.e. they have to pay for their own tuition and living expenses. Some graduate programs have accepted Master students without even interviewing them (Duke, Wayne State, UPenn). To me that says they aren't really that invested in those students and their futures, but they’ll still take their money. Heads of graduate programs never really talk about this when you interview though, for reasons you can probably guess. I don’t know how the finances of Medical Physics graduate programs work, but I think there is a monetary incentive to take on students even if you can’t place them in jobs/residencies. Therefore, it’s not that big of a deal to them if the market gets saturated with talent. Hell, that's probably good for them, more choices for who you employ and you don't have to treat them as well. That’s pretty unethical in my opinion. Then again, this happens for graduate schools in general. Why turn down money (Master students) or cheap labor (Ph.D. students)? The President of the American Association for Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) has said similar things. “Further, it is unethical to require students to commit themselves to years of hard work and financial stress in the hope of finding work in an already saturated market place. Funding graduate students through research naturally regulates growth and serves our mission; the current environment calls for limiting graduate program enrollment.” -Dr. John Bayouth, President-AAPM http://online.medphys.org/resource/1/mphya6/v38/i8/pii_s1?view=fulltext&login&bypassSSO=1 Additionally, for the Master students that DO get residencies, they don't usually get the better ones, and they don't usually get the locations they want. The better residencies usually prefer Ph.Ds. They again, practically every residency program prefers Ph.D.s over Master students. In short, Medical Physics is a pretty neat field. I like the material. I’ve had a really positive experience so far. I'm personally glad I'm in this field as I like the work and I love helping people. But I worked really hard, graduated from a great Masters program, and was still really lucky to get a residency. Please be careful before you enter this field. Be wary about paying for your masters and do your research. You don't want to go further into debt to get a degree that is so specialized it can't be used anywhere else, but still not have a residency/job. Ask the students at these programs what the outlook is like, ask the people who didn’t get any offers what it’s like. Don’t assume heads of graduate programs are telling you the whole story. Some graduate programs have attached residency programs that give their students first priority. Those are advisable in my opinion, but they are rare. If you get a Ph.D. from a pretty good CAMPEP-accredited medical physics program, this probably won’t be much of an issue. But that’s a much bigger commitment than a Masters degree. Hope this helps you make an informed decision.