Medical Physics

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

Jimbob
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:43 am

Medical Physics

Postby Jimbob » Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:51 am

I am thinking of attending a Medical Physics graduate program, but the one I have been accepted to is not yet campep approved and may not be when i graduate. Does this prevent me from attending Med Physics Residency programs? Or make me extremely less competitive? Any Med Physicists or residency students have any advice?
Btw I am a CMD dosimetrist currently working.

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twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: Medical Physics

Postby twistor » Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:02 pm

It doesn't strictly prevent you from attending residency programs. What it does prevent you from doing is taking the ABR exams. Passing the ABR exams is technically not necessary for you to become a practicing medical physicist, however if you look through any number of job postings for medical physicists you will notice that a large number of them have statements such as "ABR eligible" which means that although you are not required to have ABR certification to apply for the job eventually they want you to get it.

Starting in 2014 you will be required to complete a CAMPEP accredited residency program in order to board eligible.

If clinical physics is important to you I'd stick with the CAMPEP approved programs.

By the way, how did you become a dosimetrist? What was your background? I have heard that requires only a BS/BA and that it is on the job training but cannot find any documentation to back this up.

Jimbob
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:43 am

Re: Medical Physics

Postby Jimbob » Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:25 pm

I thought one avenue to take the ABR exam was to attend and Campep accredited residency? Which I thought I would be able to do with an MS in Med Physics (although very difficult coming from a non-Campep program)

I agree without ultimately being able to take the ABR it is a dead end, that is why I am so concerned about this program

I received a BS and attend a 1 year clinical internship which included 40hrs a week shadowing, training and treatment planning in a Rad Onc Physics department

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twistor
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Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: Medical Physics

Postby twistor » Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:33 pm

Let me clarify -- if you don't graduate from a CAMPEP accredited program you will not be eligible to take the ABR exams UNLESS you attend a CAMPEP accredited residency program. After 2014, attending a CAMPEP accredited residency program will be REQUIRED. So right now if you graduated from a CAMPEP accredited medical physics graduate program you'd be eligible to take part 1 of the board exams without having to do a residency first, but not after 2014. Incidentally and if I recall correctly, the ABR also requires you to have taken certain physics courses e.g. quantum mechanics even though they are not directly applicable to clinical physics, so hopefully your BS degree is in physics. If it is not you might want to consider graduate programs that allow you to take the necessary physics courses as electives.

My experience has been that the CAMPEP accreditation for graduate programs is more or less a meaningless rubber stamp of approval since graduate programs very GREATLY in terms of which areas they focus on and the amount of clinical training they provide. You might decide you are better off going into a non-CAMPEP program that provides a lot of hands on clinical experience rather than going into a CAMPEP accredited program that is more research oriented.

I don't have any sense of what clinical residency programs look for in applicants but I will tell you this: of the three people I know that landed clinical internships only one had any direct clinical experience or research as a graduate student. The others focused on non-clinical imaging related research. And of the residents I know that were hired by my own institution, at least 2 did not have ANY medical physics background (Ph.d. in pure physics or bio-engineering, some post-graduate work related to medical physics). And now schools are beginning to offer a third route into the medical physics profession, which is the PDMP or Professional Doctorate in Medical Physics (a professional degree, sort of like an MBA). This is a degree in which you are typically required to have a Ph.d. in a field such as physics or bio-engineering and for which you pay a large amount of money (like the MBA) to acquire.

Finally, one more point. You didn't mention if the program you applied to is a Ph.d. or MS program. Typically, a Ph.d. in medical physics will make you more competitive for a residency even if your research work is not directly relevant to clinical physics. Many job postings now state that they prefer candidates with doctoral degrees.




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