A Reader’s Question: Losing CAMPEP Accreditation?

September 7, 2009 · Written by MDPhysics.com · mdphysicsblog@gmail.com

This past weekend, a reader sent in the following email. Since the question posed in the letter bears relevance to almost every graduate student studying medical physics, I am publishing the contents of the letter with my response (with the writer’s permission):

Have you ever heard of a school losing CAMPEP accreditation? I am concerned about an institution losing its accreditation, which would not be a very good thing, especially for those people who are intending to take the first part of the ABR exam next year and possibly find a job by June 2010…

Our response: The CAMPEP accreditation–like any other type of accreditation–is given only for a fixed period of time. After that period, the institution goes through a process of re-accreditation to demonstrate continued fulfillment of the standards and requirements set forth by CAMPEP. I believe the re-evaluation process is very similar to the initial application except that an on-site visit is usually not needed for the re-evaluation. However, the review committee reserves the right to require an on-site visit in the re-accreditation process.

There are three outcomes when an institution applies for re-accreditation: 1) Accreditation continued, 2) Probation or 3) Accreditation withdrawn. I have never heard of an institution getting accreditation immediately withdrawn after applying for re-accreditation. I think there must have been some very significant (i.e. negative) changes to the medical physics program for it to be placed on probation or to have its accreditation withdrawn. Being placed on probation, however, while not the greatest thing, does not imply the eventual loss of accreditation. Probationary status grants the program some time to comply with the CAMPEP recommendations and to re-establish accreditation.

Your letter brings up an important issue that I’m certain is of interest to all students–that is, what happens to the student if his/her program loses accreditation before graduation? Your question is especially timely given the new rules in 2012. For example, what happens if your program loses accreditation one year prior to your graduating in 2013? Does this make you ineligible to take the ABR exam? Is it the school’s accreditation status when you graduate that matters (i.e. gives you the right to say you graduated from a CAMPEP-accredited program) or is it the school’s accreditation status when you are admitted that matters?

We will let CAMPEP know of this post.

Posted in: Education / Training ·Tags: no tags


2 Responses to “A Reader’s Question: Losing CAMPEP Accreditation?”

  1. MedPhysPhD on September 7th, 2009 11:13 pm

    Since CAMPEP is (supposedly) going to great lengths at the moment to help as many grad and residency programs as possible become accredited, I think that something relatively major would have to happen for the CAMPEP status of a grad program to be fully withdrawn

    With 2012 and 2014 you only have a two year window in which a CAMPEP degree will allow you to do something that a residency will not (that being sign up for ABR before 2014). After the 2014 deadline you’ll have to do a CAMPEP residency (or the equivalent), regardless. Additionally, it sounds like, as part of the fall out of 2012/2014, most junior physicist positions will be “converted” to residencies or rather just pay residency level salaries (and many may plain disappear not long after 2014).

    Worst case scenario: your program does lose its CAMPEP stamp and you are not considered a CAMPEP graduate, you should probably do a CAMPEP residency. I think most residencies will still consider your program CAMPEP-level, unless something egregious has happened (e.g. something bad resulting in most of the faculty leaving). Even then, it is not your fault as a student, so you should focus on making yourself attractive as a potential candidate (strong recs, posters/presentations/publications, clinical hours, etc).

  2. MedPhysPhD on December 10th, 2009 3:10 pm

    They just updated the CAMPEP grad program list after this year’s RSNA meeting. Did any programs get de-listed?

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