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Author Topic: Newbie just starting undergraduate degree in medical and biological physics  (Read 2721 times)

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Offline PhysBro

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Hello !

I am just starting an advanced placement undergraduate degree in medical and biological physics at McMaster university (Canada). I was wondering what the career path to become a health physicist typically entails?

I am aware that this is an American site but I was hoping I could get some insight regardless.

I assume a medical and biological physics degree is the same as said "health physics" degrees? I don't plan on becoming a medical physicist at the moment as I hear positions are slim and it is a lot of time and money to invest. I think I would be happier being a health physicist/dosimetrist for a plant.

I don't know much about it and would love to hear from you guys about your experience with or as a health physicist. Is a bachelors in MedPhys good enough for a HP? What is the typical salary for an HP? Good hours, benefits, quality of life? etc.

I have the option of a 16month co-op placement third year and so I will probably try to get into a plant if possible or work with medical isotopes at the university.

Thanks a bunch guys!

Offline Laundry Man

I wouldn't assume anything.  Check your course requirements to see what they actual courses are.  When I went to university it was all the math, chemistry, a lot of physics including nuclear and then it was all the health physics courses for the last 2.5 years or so. 

Offline bigjoemonger

I just graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in Health Physics. Medical Physics and Health Physics sound similar since they are both about radiation safety and tend to be lumped together in the same program but they are vastly different career paths.

As a health physicist you're looking at job pertaining to the safe use of radiation or safely working in an environment with potential exposure to radiation. So thats like power plants, waste processing, regulations and lab management. Whereas medical physics pertains more to how can that rafiation be used tp accomplish a goal. So that's more oncology, nuclear medicine, radiology, lab scientist, that stuff.

As far as degree level. In my limited experience in job searching a bachelors is acceptable but a masters is generally preferred. Based on my classmates choices a bachelors in medical physics is generally just a stepping stone, a masters or even a doctorate is expected. Especially if you're going the oncology path.

As for pay and benefits it's a pretty wide spread based on where you work. I saw health physicist jobs in one state advertising 45 thousand salary and the same kind of job in another state advertising 70 thousand. I myself am hopefully about to start a job with great pay and benefits but since I'm not even fully hired yet I'm not sure what details I can go into.

I know this post is pretty old but if you have any questions send me a pm.


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