How Do I Become a Medical Radiation Physicist?

YaShekia King
YaShekia King
A medical radiation physicist might maintain a linear accelerator used for radiation therapy.
A medical radiation physicist might maintain a linear accelerator used for radiation therapy.

Medical radiation physicists are people who help oncology teams to ensure that cancer treatments are planned and delivered in an accurate manner. They must pay strong attention to detail and have solid interpersonal and verbal communication skills. An individual who wishes to become a medical radiation physicist needs to complete four years of undergraduate training followed by two years of graduate education. This aspiring professional also can seek industry certification to prove his or her abilities to employers.

If you aim to become a medical radiation physicist, you should complete a four-year bachelor’s degree in physical science or physics. Enrollment in this type of training program requires submission of your current standardized test results, as well as your high school diploma or the equivalent certification. The training institution of your choice will also need to see your high school transcript and review your completed admission form.

Mastering science and math courses is necessary to find a job in this career area. Studying physics teaches you the problem-solving skills that you need to determine the right dosages used for cancer treatments when you become a medical radiation physicist who oversees a dosimetrist, a person who creates treatment plans for oncology patients. Honing your math skills is also necessary for taking accurate measurements of radiation beams when trying to confirm that industry equipment is operating correctly. You should pursue an internship opportunity at a local hospital to gain hands-on experience in the field as well.

Employers typically require job candidates in this industry to have earned a two-year master’s degree in physics. To get into graduate school, you need to be prepared to pass a graduate school entrance exam and submit your test scores to your desired institution. The university also will demand to see your four-year degree transcript and will ask you to fill out an enrollment application in which you explain your career goals. During your advanced degree program, you will likely have to complete a major original research thesis project before you are eligible to graduate and become a medical radiation physicist.

Companies additionally search for potential employees who have earned certification in this field. To do this, you must take and pass an exam available through industry boards. Completing continuing education requirements by attending college radiology classes or conference seminars allows you to maintain this credential when you become a medical radiation physicist. Being certified is actually a requirement in some job positions because it shows managers and patients that a professional in this career area is qualified to do the job.

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    • A medical radiation physicist might maintain a linear accelerator used for radiation therapy.
      By: Alex Tihonov
      A medical radiation physicist might maintain a linear accelerator used for radiation therapy.