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arkusj

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Bachelors in Radiation Health Physics
« on: Oct 26, 2013, 04:31 »
Hello,

I recently earned my bachelors degree in Radiation Health Physics. I am wondering how to get myself established in a career in health physics. For the past few months I have been applying for jobs that seem to be a good fit for my degree, but I get no responses. I can only assume that my resume has been thrown in a pile.

I am looking for anything that I might be able to hit up. Any resource, any kind of advice, any leads....anything that may contribute to my knowledge of getting employed/ looking better to employers. I realize that with my bachelors degree, my options will be limited, but I do not think it would be unreasonable to assume that some sort of entry level position is out of grasp. Eventually, I wish to further my education, but at the moment I would like to get some job experience.

Your input is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.
« Last Edit: Oct 28, 2013, 05:47 by Rennhack »

Offline Protectologist

Re: Bachelors in Radiation Health Physics
« Reply #1 on: Oct 27, 2013, 10:45 »
This fall has been a particularly tight time in the HP job market. Next spring will offer a lot more opportunities for you. You are right that your degree will only get you entry level positions but what you will find is that later, when you have some experience, it will make a difference in what opportunities will be available to you. More and more a degree will be required for the management and health physicist positions. In the past your experience alone was needed but today and going forward a degree coupled with experience will be required to move into those positions. The other thing to think about is to spend the next 5 years preparing for the CHP exam. Talk to those that have that certification and find out from them what preparation is needed and do the homework. That will also give you the beginnings of a network of professionals that can help you find the position you're looking for. On the other hand, if you see your career path as a technician you will still find the degree useful in ways that aren't obvious right now. Bartlett has opened their Spring wish list. Submit your resume to them with a note to explain what you wish to do in the field. Then call Bartlett and talk to Eric Bartlett. He usually has helpful advice. Also don't forget to check the job board here on a regular basis as well as the web sites of companies you might like to work for. Southern Company and SCANA, as well as Exelon and Entergy are all companies that hire on a regular basis in this field. Persistence is what will be rewarded here so don't give up. The jobs are out there.

cedugger

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Re: Bachelors in Radiation Health Physics
« Reply #2 on: Oct 28, 2013, 01:13 »
I guess the two major questions for me would be within which industry do you wish to apply health physics...and what are your location preferences?

Do you see yourself in nuclear power generation, Department of Energy, NRC, a hospital, an industrial HP/RSO? As a defense contractor, I browse the job boards almost daily. I see plenty of positions out there, but a lot will depend on where you're willing to go. For example, the Dept of Army is looking for a recent grad HP for Aberdeen Proving Grounds near Edgewood, MD. For federal gov't jobs, you're education will qualify you for most 1301- and 1306-series positions at GS-12 and below.

If you're looking at HP tech positions, you're competing against a huge pool of experienced workers. As a tech, the degree takes a back seat to experience, and you may be a bit shocked to see the wages for the entry positions. Working as a tech requires working your way up the experience ladder, so getting a foot in the door while making okay money seems worth it in my opinion.

With all the unknowns, it's difficult to point you in any particular direction. What school is your degree from (was the HP program part of a medical dept or an engineering dept)? Do you have any experience yet, safety related or HP specific? Where are you hoping to find work (location preferences can severely limit your options)?

Keep looking here for positions and at any of the major job boards. Search terms such as "radiation safety", "radiation protection", and "radiation detection" may uncover positions that failed to use the term Health Physics. Expect several weeks delay before hearing back after any application. Best of luck to you!

arkusj

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Re: Bachelors in Radiation Health Physics
« Reply #3 on: Oct 29, 2013, 03:28 »
Thank you for the responses!!!!

Eventually, I would like to see myself working in a hospital, or as a RSO some place. I would prefer to be in a medical setting, but I am not opposed to finding gainful employment as an RSO elsewhere. Admittedly my knowledge of what I could pursue with my degree seems rather paltry. I've looked into RSO positions, and applied to some of them just to see where it would get me, but from what I've seen they ask for either a graduates degree, or a masters degree as well as a host of other qualifications I don't have. I would like to acquire these qualifications, but I am poor at the moment.

I live in the West coast. I acquired my degree from Oregon State University. The degree is technically an engineering degree. I wish to stay in the West coast, specifically in the Oregon and Washington area, however I have applied to places in the Midwest, and the east coast. Relocating is negotiable for me.

As for experience, I have none  :-[ I was hoping I could enter an entry level position, get experience, gain some money, acquire some certifications, and either move up the ladder, or move to another company depending on where I am in life at that point.

As a side note, I am curious as to more things I cold do with my degree. From what I've seen, I could work in a shipyard, be some sort of technician, do environmental work, or be an RSO, what else can I do?

Again, thank you.

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Re: Bachelors in Radiation Health Physics
« Reply #4 on: Oct 29, 2013, 08:11 »
Thank you for the responses!!!!

Eventually, I would like to see myself working in a hospital, or as a RSO some place. I would prefer to be in a medical setting, but I am not opposed to finding gainful employment as an RSO elsewhere. Admittedly my knowledge of what I could pursue with my degree seems rather paltry. I've looked into RSO positions, and applied to some of them just to see where it would get me, but from what I've seen they ask for either a graduates degree, or a masters degree as well as a host of other qualifications I don't have. I would like to acquire these qualifications, but I am poor at the moment.

I live in the West coast. I acquired my degree from Oregon State University. The degree is technically an engineering degree. I wish to stay in the West coast, specifically in the Oregon and Washington area, however I have applied to places in the Midwest, and the east coast. Relocating is negotiable for me.

As for experience, I have none  :-[ I was hoping I could enter an entry level position, get experience, gain some money, acquire some certifications, and either move up the ladder, or move to another company depending on where I am in life at that point.

As a side note, I am curious as to more things I cold do with my degree. From what I've seen, I could work in a shipyard, be some sort of technician, do environmental work, or be an RSO, what else can I do?

Again, thank you.

Wait a sec... you got a 4 year degree from a State University.... and you don't know what job you are qualified for?? is OSU helping with any of this??
You graduated when? June 2013? Did you do a job / career search before you started the degree?
Does anyone do any research BEFORE they go down the road of college loans?
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cedugger

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Re: Bachelors in Radiation Health Physics
« Reply #5 on: Oct 30, 2013, 01:31 »
I'm kinda with HouseDad here...you've had a couple years to get these questions answered. I know the NE/RHP Dept at OSU has their resume book published every year, so I would assume that they have some form of career counseling offered to their soon-to-be graduates.

You need to hit the job boards and enter the keywords I mentioned in my last post. Study the job market like you would for any high-level class...nobody can really do it for you. You're going to see industrial hygienists, environmental, and general radiation protection positions all over. Not every position will require a load of experience, and look for ones that will credit you for the degree in place of some experience. In the northwest, you have gov't jobs in the Seattle/Tacoma area and DOE technician positions at Hanford in Richland, WA. You're not going to be qualified for a RSO positions yet, not with a company that knows what/who they're supposed to be hiring. A HP or assistant RSO position is more likely...some place where you can get time on a broad-scope license for your NRC 313A.

Offline tritenick

Re: Bachelors in Radiation Health Physics
« Reply #6 on: Nov 06, 2013, 09:58 »
If you think lack of experience alone is what is dropping you from the call pile, then get some experience even free experience while you are job searching. Hospitals take volunteers, look up and call the RSO and see if they have some work you can do.  Prior to graduating OSU I called around to numerous sites asking RSOs what they wanted to see on a resume, what was most important in experience, what duties their HPs had.  People love to talk if you aren't specifically asking for a job from them.  See if you could volunteer to do some HP tech work at OSU, at CH2M HIll, or other organizations in the area that use RAM.

Lastely, might want to revamp your resume with HP applicable work - computer experience and abilities, equipment use etc.  Have you joined the HPS?  Job postings are always there, also might want to join LinkedIn and join some HP groups, I have seen people post jobs there as well.

Best of Luck!
"What you do speaks so loudly that I can not hear what you say" -R.W. Emerson

Offline fidus

Re: Bachelors in Radiation Health Physics
« Reply #7 on: Nov 15, 2013, 02:55 »
Did you submit Spring Wishlist, and have you heard from any yet?

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Re: Bachelors in Radiation Health Physics
« Reply #8 on: Nov 15, 2013, 04:12 »
If you think lack of experience alone is what is dropping you from the call pile, then get some experience even free experience while you are job searching. Hospitals take volunteers, look up and call the RSO and see if they have some work you can do.  Prior to graduating OSU I called around to numerous sites asking RSOs what they wanted to see on a resume, what was most important in experience, what duties their HPs had.  People love to talk if you aren't specifically asking for a job from them.  See if you could volunteer to do some HP tech work at OSU, at CH2M HIll, or other organizations in the area that use RAM.

Lastely, might want to revamp your resume with HP applicable work - computer experience and abilities, equipment use etc.  Have you joined the HPS?  Job postings are always there, also might want to join LinkedIn and join some HP groups, I have seen people post jobs there as well.

Best of Luck!
watt he sayed!  in addition, hook up with the local health physics society and attend there meatings.  those are the players in management you want to know in order to stay local.


best of luck.
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Offline greatFox

Re: Bachelors in Radiation Health Physics
« Reply #9 on: Dec 01, 2013, 06:15 »
From my job searches this year, I have noticed that the BS gets you into the higher level positions such as RSOs.  However most of them want experience as well, so I thinkn your plan should be:  tech first to get experience, and then you have both, and you're ahead of anyone else with no degree in HP.

I have a BS but it is not in HP, so they don't even recognize mine, even though I have 11 years in as a tech....

Bollocks!

Offline sai1029

Re: Bachelors in Radiation Health Physics
« Reply #10 on: Mar 11, 2014, 01:44 »
I have a similar BS degree as you. I found out the job market for HP is quite narrow compared to the other hospital job. Most hospital only need 1 RSO and he has to be some one who past both parts of CHP already with many job experience. Regarding other HP jobs in hospital environment, there arn't many either, because you really only need a handful of HP and technician to deal with all the radiation safety tasks. Most of the work are already done by oncologist, physicist, and radiation therapist. I suggest a higher education is needed usually or look for a different aspect but not too far off job position. You may also want to look in to medical physics and positions like physics assisstant, dosimetry technician if you like to work in a hosptial environment.

Offline S T I G

Re: Bachelors in Radiation Health Physics
« Reply #11 on: Mar 25, 2014, 03:15 »
Do what I did and spend all your spare time applying for positions and following up with phone calls. Until someone hears a voice on the other end of the line you're just another applicant for the most part. Also, listen to the veterans on here and feel free to ask questions. The majority of them are willing to help you out.  Oh yeah, don't forget linked in!

SCMasterchef

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Re: Bachelors in Radiation Health Physics
« Reply #12 on: Mar 26, 2014, 12:06 »
Coming from the west coast it is obvious that the commercial nuclear job market is quickly fading away, Diablo and Columbia being the last two.  So you might want to contact companies like Bartlett to get your foot in the door as a tech.  Travel as you see fit, earn some money, which it sounds you need, and get some experience.  The degree will help once you get in the door, maybe not dramatically, but it will help.  Start networking while working and traveling.  Go to HPS meeting when you find out where they are.  There are a lot of nuclear job boards on the web, use them, look for your options.  If your not sure about something related to a Company or job the folks who use this site are well equipped to give you advice.  Remember, there are professional level folks who scan this web and if you use it there may be someone who is willing to give you a start.  The medical side of HP is not as money lucrative as the energy/DOD/DOE sides of the market, example, my son has his masters and doctorate in a medical field that has outside options and he makes only a smitten compared to what could be made.  Its his choice but something to think about.  Good luck but get started now because summer is coming and the energy job market for HPs is slim over those months.

 


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