We were recently contacted by an individual who was studying physics at the doctoral level and was interested in switching to a career in medical physics. Switching to a career in medical physics with a Ph.D. in any branch of physics was a relatively easy task, say 20 years ago, but has become increasingly more difficult with the growing number of medical physics degree programs and the restrictions of residency admissions to those who have specifically graduated from an academic program in medical physics. It’s certainly an exciting time to be in medical physics, but it’s become difficult (albeit, not impossible) for those who have not specifically trained in medical physics to join the party. It’s worth mentioning that many past (and current) leaders in our field did not graduate from medical physics degree programs, which makes one wonder how many talented individuals with the potential to contribute to our community are unable to become medical physicists simply because they chose to study a different branch of physics instead. Read more
It’s that time of the year again. No, I’m not talking about the holiday season. I’m talking about medical physics residency application season! Ho, ho ho! Medical physics residency programs are looking to fill positions for next year, so as a reminder to those who are currently applying, here is a round up of CAMPEP-accredited programs (in alphabetical order) currently accepting applications and their deadlines. Direct links are provided to official application information for programs that provide such information on their websites. Also, be sure to check the listing of medical physics job openings for more residency positions as they are announced. Read more
If you graduate from a residency program that does not offer or use an HDR after-loader for patient treatments, what problems, if any, could you encounter at your first job? The answer is simple, if you are expected to treat patients with an HDR after-loader as part of your job responsibilities, you are not qualified to be listed as an Authorized User (AU) in the HDR material license, and hence you cannot independently treat patients with an HDR after-loader. That is, you are not legally able to fulfill this part of your job description. It’s a potentially embarrassing circumstance in addition to one that may inconvenience physician scheduling. Read more
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. Read more
Whether it’s getting admissions to a medical physics graduate or residency program or securing a position as a medical physics post-doctoral fellow, one thing is for sure: it’s competitive–and it’s only going to get more competitive with time. There are many top-notch students vying for a spot in these programs. Having a strong academic background (e.g. good grades in relevant coursework) and stellar recommendation letters are definitely a must, but they’re not everything when the applicant pool is both large and well-qualified. Strong interviewing skills is one (often overlooked) way to set yourself apart from the rest of the applicants. Being well-prepared, confident and articulate at your admissions interview will not only put you in serious contention, but can also often seal the deal when it comes to admissions. Read more
It’s that time of year again when U.S. News and World Report releases its list of the top colleges and universities. I have always found the U.S. News rankings to be interesting, so I thought it would be appropriate to post the most recent ranking (for the 2010 year) of the top 25 colleges and universities. Unfortunately, there is no official U.S. News ranking for the Best Medical Physics Programs. However, if you want to study medical physics at a CAMPEP accredited program and graduate from a “top 10” college/university, you must attend either Columbia University or Duke University. It’s a shame that aside from Columbia, Duke, University of Chicago and Vanderbilt, there are no other universities with CAMPEP-accredited programs in the U.S. News list of top 25 best colleges and universities.
In case you are wondering what the list looks like this year, the schools are listed below. The universities with CAMPEP programs are bolded. Read more
Just a note to let you know that there are two openings in the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Department of Radiation Oncology Medical Physics Residency Program. The start date for the residency is January 2010. Applications will be accepted from August 1st until September 15th, 2009. The open residency positions have been listed on the medical physics job board alongside other employment opportunities.
With the new ABR rules in 2012 (see http://www.mdphysics.com/new-abr-certification-rule), if you intend to enter the field of medical physics, it would be beneficial–if not necessary–to plan ahead and to carefully choose which Medical Physics program you are going to attend. Starting in 2012, you must be enrolled in or have graduated from a CAMPEP accrediated school in order to qualify to sit for the ABR exam. Many schools offer medical physics programs, but not all are accrediated by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Educational Program (CAMPEP). mdphysics is planning to post some information on each school that offers an accredited medical physics program for those who are planing to pursue a degree in medical physics. Each school will be spotlighted in its own post, so if you have comments to offer regarding any of the programs, you may write them in the appropriate post.
A little fun for the weekend…Have you ever wondered what if would be like (or what it would have been like, for some of us older medical physicists) if you had gone to medical school (pursued an MD) rather than graduate school to get a PhD? I know I have–more than once! That’s why I found the following blog post rather interesting (and entertaining). If you want to know the difference from someone who’s been through both grad school and medical school, go to this link and find out!
In a recent issue of “Physics Today” (May 2009), there is an informative article on new training standards that may be of interest to current and future medical physics students. The article, “Medical Physics Standardizes Clinical Training,” was published in the Issues and Events section and is written by Toni Feder. This article is a must-read for all newcomers to (and those thinking about joining) the Medical Physics field. Here is a copy of the article below, which can also be found on the “Physics Today” website. Read more