New ABR Certification Rules Starting in 2012 for Medical Physicists

May 10, 2009 · Written by MDPhysics.com · mdphysicsblog@gmail.com

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.

Medical Physics Standardizes Clinical Training
By Toni Feder

Public safety is the motivation behind new requirements for becoming certified as a medical physicist.

New certification rules intended to improve the quality and uniformity of medical physics training go into effect in a few years. In preparation, the field is scrambling to create enough residency slots for the first classes that fall under the tightened rules.

Starting in 2012, to sit for the board exams the American Board of Radiology will require that people be enrolled in or have graduated from an accredited medical physics master’s, PhD, or clinical residency program. At the urging of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), two years later that requirement will be superseded, and test takers will have to be enrolled in or have completed an accredited residency. Passing the ABR exams confers certification that a person is qualified to independently practice radiologic physics and advise physicians about the physical aspects of radiation therapy, diagnostic radiology, or nuclear medicine. Certification for the specialty areas of medical health physics and magnetic resonance imaging is done separately, through the American Board of Medical Physics. Accreditation for degree programs and residencies is by the nonprofit Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Educational Programs Inc (CAMPEP).

“All about public safety”

Among other things, medical physicists calculate radiation dose and beam shape for tumor treatment, check that medical imaging equipment—involving x rays, radionuclides, magnetic resonance, computed tomography, ultrasound, and fluoroscopy—is calibrated and used properly, help in selecting new equipment, and train technologists and others to use the equipment. In addition to working in universities, hospitals, and clinics, they serve as independent contractors in practice groups, routinely checking and calibrating mammography equipment or dental x-ray machines, for example. In some cases, medical physicists interact closely with patients.

Each state sets its own requirements for medical physicists. In the four states—Florida, Hawaii, New York, and Texas—that require a license,  ABR certification is one way to get it. In many states medical physicists must register to practice. In other states a physicist with no prior clinical training, or even no classroom background in medical physics, might be hired by a hospital or clinic and trained on-site. “A lot of people have learned on the job. Smart people can always get the education they need. But the profession is mature enough for some standards,” says Ehsan Samei, Duke University’s director of medical physics graduate studies. “There are places that don’t do as good a job as they should at making sure their image quality and dose management is where it needs to be,” adds CAMPEP chair John Hazle, an imaging physicist at the University of Texas’s M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Currently, to sit for the ABR exams, a medical physicist “needs three years of experience and someone ready to vouch for you,” says Hazle.

“There is much interest and excitement about the upcoming changes,” says AAPM president-elect Michael Herman, a radiation oncology physicist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “If they [ABR] require accredited training before you sit for boards, it closes the loop.” Even in states that do not require certification, he adds, “most practice groups and academics expect their medical physicists to become certified at some point.” The CARE bill, which an alliance of nearly two dozen professional societies is hoping to reintroduce to Congress this spring, would mandate minimum standards in education and training for anyone involved in irradiating humans. As federal law, CARE (Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility and Excellence in Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy) would help raise the uniformity and level of practicing medical physicists. “You have to be licensed for many professions that involve public health, including cutting hair,” says Herman. “Why not to deliver radiation to people?”

The new certification rules, says Hazle, “are all about public safety. They are better for the public and better for the profession. It will make the demonstration of competency for medical physicists more equivalent to physicians.” Entering the field via alternative pathways will still be possible under the new certification rules, says the University of Iowa’s John Bayouth, the radiation oncology physicist who chairs the AAPM working group that coordinates activities of program directors for medical physics residencies.

“Our field has been enormously rewarded from optical physicists, atomic physicists, nuclear physicists—they’ve made substantial contributions. It’s important that we do not dissuade those who bring additional skills from entering the field. This is a challenge.”

Meeting demand

Some 20 graduate programs across the US and Canada are currently accredited, with a handful more in the works. “We are not too concerned” about meeting the 2012 deadline, says Hazle. “We are turning out enough graduates. But when we look at 2014, we start running into challenges.” The US demand is for about 250 new medical physicists per year. Some 31 residencies, 28 in therapy and 3 in imaging, are accredited, up from 19 about a year and a half ago. “We’ve seen dramatic growth in the number of residencies,” says Bayouth. “If we continue that over the next four years, I think it’s very likely that we’ll have enough residency programs.” The more common view, though, is that it’s unlikely that enough accredited residency slots will be available in time despite the efforts of AAPM, the ABR, and others. “I think we could get to 100 or 150 residents,” says Hazle.

“It’s a great long-term plan to have everyone go through clinical residency who wants to work in a clinic,” says Jennifer O’Daniel, a new assistant professor of radiation physics at Duke University Medical Center and a member of the AAPM’s student subcommittee. “The main concern is the short-term consequences of our long-term plan.” The people currently in CAMPEP-accredited programs are affected only by the 2014 deadline—depending on timing, they’ll need to do a residency before they sit for the boards. But the people who started a non-CAMPEP-accredited PhD after 2006 will likely need to do an accredited residency. “If you need to do one, and you cannot get into a residency program, you are out. There is no recourse,” says Samei. There are not enough residency programs in imaging physics, he adds. And master’s graduates “cannot currently compete adequately [against PhDs] for the limited number of residency slots. No matter what we do, some people will fall off the cliff.”

AAPM, the ABR, and CAMPEP, among others, are urging hospitals, clinics, and practice groups that offer clinical training to become accredited and those that already are to take on more than the typical one or two residents. The hurdles are money and manpower. Residents are typically paid, but unlike with medical residents, whose salaries come from Medicare, the host institution foots the bill. As for manpower, Samei says, “My idea is to hand [new hosts] a person, perhaps a retired medical physicist, for a month or two to help start up” residency programs. “This will help institutions that may have enough manpower to maintain a residency program but not enough to start one.” Some places are discussing a hub-and-spoke model, whereby an established training center helps administer and oversee residencies in remote locations.

New degree

Another proposal would turn the residency from an expense for the host institution into a moneymaker: Instead of being paid during their clinical training, residents would pay. Charles Coffey, who is launching a clinical doctorate of medical physics (DMP) at Vanderbilt University this fall, says it’s “part of their education. It’s a professional degree, not a research degree.” The university’s existing two-year master’s program would be supplemented with courses in ethics and in-depth diagnostic and radiation calculations, in addition to two years of clinical training. The program is off to a running start, Coffey says. At steady state the program aims for about five new students each year. The DMP will only incrementally help meet the immediate need for residency slots. But, says Coffey, “I really think by 2020 it will play a major role.”

Samei recently surveyed students, residents, faculty, and directors of medical physics programs about their opinions about DMP degrees. “The results were mixed,” he says. “The majority of students said they would apply to such a program. But overall there was a feeling that it could be detrimental to research because the people who in the past would have gotten a PhD would do this instead.”

Samei himself worries that the DMP might create two classes, “PhDs that are the ‘real’ doctors and DMPs that are sort of doctors.” But, he says, to meet the need for the 2014 certification requirements “we need a multifaceted approach. I personally feel we are not moving fast enough.”

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30 Responses to “New ABR Certification Rules Starting in 2012 for Medical Physicists”

  1. MedPhysPhD on May 10th, 2009 11:05 pm

    In my opinion the DMP is a side effect of either poor planning or rash decision making. In an effort to appear equal to physicians, they jumped the gun, requiring residencies, when there was no funding mechanism for residencies. They should have spent their effort securing this funding from the government or other sources before setting a requirement deadline. Eventually someone thought it would be clever to have the students pay for the residency and distract them from that fact by calling the combined MS plus residency a Doctor of Medical Physics. To me this is just a scam. People who never performed a residency (i.e. ABR, AAPM, CAMPEP committee members) create a funding problem and then try to pass it off onto students, who have no say, since they are not yet in the field.

    There is clearly a demand for trainee level medical physicists, otherwise clinics would not be willing to pay $100k+/year to train them. It is of little wonder that people currently in a position to hire would support moving to “residents” (i.e. half-price Jr.’s) or better yet DMP’s , since they get to skip the training cost and receive a newly certified employee who’s highly in debt.

    As far as two separate classes being created, I think the real concern is not between PhD and DMP, but rather between MS and DMP holders, physicists with equivalent educations, but different titles. The concern is largely about resentment over DMP’s possibly receiving higher pay/benefits simply because of employer ignorance or employer policy regarding “doctorate level” degrees.

    I hope that the DMP scenario does not play out and I predict that changes to the requirement and/or deadline will be made (again) before 2014 because the scale of the problem is probably too large. As several people have stated before, the 2012/2014 rules and DMP could well have the effect of decreasing the number of qualified physicists, the opposite of the stated goal.

  2. John Med Phys on May 11th, 2009 8:25 pm

    Most “old timers” do not even know the current certification requirements. It is professional “arms race” signifying the death of the profession. Physics is dead, and medical physics is not that far behind.

  3. Mike on May 12th, 2009 6:23 am

    The tragedy is that new ABR rules will fail most physicists in the field already and most likely people sitting on board don’t have education from CAMPEP institution themself. I will conclude that ABR board is a bunch of mean and arrogant people who don’t care about the hard earned education and life of people with non-CAMPEP education. I just graduated from a non-CAMPEP medical physics program (like most who are already in field and like many of those who might be sitting on the board itself). Now they are telling ,me that I NEED to do a residency from CAMPEP accredited program to get certification but if you look at requirements of the “so called accredited” residencies you will see that they “prefer” CAMPEP graduates already in 2008-2009. So, this means I can never get board certified. What is crap system is this. So, does this mean I am no longer a medical physicist anymore and all my education goes into a dumpster? Then what am I – a device physicist, astronomer, theoretical…what?? How am I supposed to make a living with my education?
    ABR board can’t tell us who is a physicist who is not. I am ready to go to court to handle this issue because how am I gonna put food in my kids stomach otherwise. What do I tell my kids – I studied for last 6 years to be told by some board that you are not eligible. My demand is that all the new certification requirements should apply to people who take admission into Medical physics programs after 2012. WHY SHOULD THEY APPLY TO PEOPLE WHO GRADUATED BEFORE 2012? If I would have known that I would be made board ineligible (by the board who itself mostly non-CAMPEP) I would have not taken medical physics as degree concentration in first place. Now where do I go?? A bunch of people sitting in board nullify my years of education. I won’t let them go easily. As has been said in the above article “some people will fall from cliff”. Why should some people fall off the cliff? I have seen head of department medical physicists who are from non-CAMPEP institutions and, also, why didn’t the board let me know in 2003 that I should not pursue medical physics because I will be doing it from a non-CAMPEP institution. Those whose past education and future living have been put in this limbo have to fight back now or in future. All other people who will be affected by the new rules email at abr.limbo@gmail.com so that we can discuss the action.

  4. Avery McFranklin on May 12th, 2009 6:58 am

    Sounds like a pyramid scheme to me. Doctorate of Pharmacy might be a better choice. At least that profession is in demand in most cities and small towns.

  5. JPHYS on May 12th, 2009 7:27 am

    The new rules are the only way we can achieve uniform training for new medical physicists. The arguement that trainees will be required to pay for their training and that this is a “bad thing” is completely off base. The fact that trainee level medical physicists make 100K+ per year is actually justification for the new system. It makes no sense that someone should earn that much with essentially limited or no clinical knowledge. The PhD will be for physicists who are primarily in research while the DMP and MS will be for clinical physicists. All these degrees are confusing to others, but I believe the MS in medical physics will eventually go away. Why do a MS plus residency when you can do a DMP with a residency in it in about the same time? The time has come for our profession to mature and although there are always growing pains, this is a very good thing for medical physics.

  6. Mike on May 12th, 2009 8:18 am

    JPHYS:
    Seems like you already are already certified and dont care since you have already have a way to feed you and your family. What about people who have taken admission/graduated from non-CAMPEP institutes between 2003-2012. Where do they go under new rules? The new rules should apply to people who take admissions in/after 2012. I would have never taken medical physics concentration if they would have told me that I will have to do a residency in Medical Physics from CAMPEP approved program(most of which prefer CAMPEP graduates- who are obviously enough to fill the positions). Due to fear, hospitals are also preferring CAMPEP graduates already for Jr. Physicist positions, which makes difficult for non-CAMPEP graduates to work under a physicist and sit for part 1.

  7. Kelly on May 12th, 2009 8:30 am

    Mike,

    From what I have read on here I wouldn’t hire you even if you were from a CAMPEP approved institution. Part of the reason for the 2012/2014 date is so that people like you (and me) have some room to get into the board certification process before the new rules take place. I graduated last year and have already taken part 1, assuring me parts 2 and 3 since I am now in the process. Talk of the changes did not happen until I was halfway through with graduate school (2 years), so I didn’t know about all this when I started either. Maybe if you lose the attitude and stop making excuses you’ll find it easier to get a job/residency. Also, even if you didn’t know about the ABR changes, you had to know going into med phys that CAMPEP accredited programs will leave you better off than otherwise. Best of luck to you.

  8. Mike on May 12th, 2009 9:16 am

    Kelly: Tones change after you get certified or get into the system and think other people are just making excuses. I already have a job and not applying for your job. So please don’t talk about hiring me or not hiring me. Just stick to the topic and nothing personal.

  9. K on May 12th, 2009 9:40 am

    I was under the impression that as long as you start the certification process (take part I) before 2012, you would be ‘grandfathered in’. Am I mistaken?

  10. Kelly on May 12th, 2009 10:37 am

    K, you are right, that was part of what I was saying. I am grandfathered in, and if Mike has a job like he says then he should be eligible to take part 1 with the experience he already has, which would also grandfather him in. So, Mike, since you have a job and a path to certification I don’t see what the point of your rant was. Maybe before you get all fired up and go to court you should do a little homework to see if you even have a case.

  11. Mike on May 12th, 2009 1:26 pm

    Kelly:

    I am a physicist like you and have education like you. Only difference is that I am working with a leading brachytherapy equipment manufacturer and want to get certification because I have got all the education background like you. Now don’t tell me that people who make equipment and software know less than than who work in clinic because if that was the case, all certified physicist will be messing up because the equipment was wrong itself. We make equipment after gaining through knowledge of the clinical settings and possibilities. I bet I can use the software and equipment better and more efficiently than you(although you are “certified”). My problem is that I should be able to get into clinical whenever I want because I have same education like those who are already in clinic. In fact due to my work with making software and equipment, I am more qualified than you to use that equipment. “Certified Physicists” like you call me and my other physicist colleagues every other hour to tell(actually, spoon feed) them how to use the software.

    So, if in 2015 I think I want to go back to clinic because I have done enough with making equipment and developing software for you guys, I SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO THAT because I am no less qualified than you. Hope now you understand the situation better and that’s why I am saying that ABR should implement new rules only for those who take admissions after 2012.

  12. Kelly on May 13th, 2009 4:21 am

    Mike,

    I’m not trying to compare skills, backgrounds, etc because I know nothing about you. Also, if you read what I said I’m not certified either, as I just graduated last year. However, I do know that I want to be a clinical medical physicist and therefore I’ve gotten an entry level job in medical physics in order to start the certification process. I’ve passed part one and will take part two next summer. I’d advise you that if you think you’d like to get into the clinic someday without first doing a residency, you should look into options now about getting “clinical experience” to take the first part of the boards by the 2012 initiative. That should at least buy you some time.

    Yours is a rare case (which perhaps you should have explained in your first post) and I still don’t see a problem with the way ABR has set this up. If they loosen the rules as you suggest, then 30 years down the road someone who has a degree but has been doing something else, say teaching high school physics or raising their kids, could also get back into the field without having any experience whatsoever but a 30 year old degree. Not that there aren’t hard working people out there who could be good physicists in cases like that, but it may be good for people who have gotten away from the field to have an intro back in through a residency. I don’t doubt that you do your job well, and you very well may know more about the equipment you work with than I do, but that still doesn’t mean you have clinical experience. Ultimately the ABR is trying to assure that there aren’t practicing physicists out there who have never seen a linac before. I spoke to some students from an unaccredited institution at the AAPM meeting 2 years ago, and was amazed that they had been taking classes online and had virtually no hands on experience. I was blessed to have a clinical practicum in my program, but there are programs out there that perhaps don’t produce physicists that are ready to start working on their own. To be clear, I’m not saying you come from a program like this, but I am pointing out that they exist, and for that reason and more the ABR is justified in setting up the accreditation process as they have. They were kind enough to put 4 years in so that people like us can explore our options and decide how we want to handle the process. I decided to jump in, you can do as you wish.

  13. Mike on May 13th, 2009 5:52 am

    Kelly:

    You are correct. You wont believe there are so many MS and PhD’s working with these equipment manufacturers who would be left out. Now the question is, if all of them try to jump the field to clinic, who will make the equipment which is very physics specific. Also, there are only 4-5 good manufacturers only. So, if I get laid off in 2015 or my company goes bankrupt, I don’t have any choice left. The independence of my career is lost. ABR should decide that physicists like us also need independence in their career because we have education and exp. like most of them who are in the clinics. I am a medical physicist too and they should care about not just people working in clinics but also medical physicists working in the industry because they represent “medical physicist” profession not just “clinic physicists”. If in 2015 I just want to start into clinic i.e. just what you are doing now – entry level, I should be able to do that and the sit for exam after working in clinic. I think medical physicists are secluding themselves out of physics, distancing themselves into “hospitals only” and the profession will lose in the long term.

  14. Russ on May 13th, 2009 12:24 pm

    Mike/Kelly,

    I followed your thread with some interest. Like many written communications, details seem to have been inadvertently left out.

    Mike, what I would say to you is that the 2012/2014 initiative has been known for several years… sufficient enough time for those who started school before it’s announcement had plenty of time to start the certification process. Also, I would say that the initiative is directed towards the bulk of physicists in the field… those in clinical practice. Your didactic education may be similar to mine, but for you to say that your clinical competency/proficiency is equivalent to mine would be as absurd as me saying that my programming/design skills are equivalent to yours. Your skillset is clearly different from mine, and it’s the goal of 2012/2014 to insure certain minimum clinical proficiencies. You happen to be in that small subset of individuals who might be adversly affected by the rules changes. There is always the appeal process and I suspect that individual cases will merit a waiver. Your’s might be one of them.

    Kelly, spot on.

  15. MedPhysColleague on May 13th, 2009 2:59 pm

    Dear Mike/Kelly,

    As entry-level physicists I would encourage you to learn to interact more collegially with “colleagues” (even under conditions of relative anonimity).

    These new rules are going to negatively impact a number of individuals who did not graduate from Campep-accredited programs or who graduated from one prior to their program being approved. It’s very easy to be dismissive of the kind of impact this will have on others if you are not “caught” in one of these Catch-22 situations. There are many physicists out there who are extremely “well-qualified” (in the general sense of the word “qualified”) but who are not ABR certified and are not in a position to secure the attestation of “clinical oversight” by a certified medical physicist supervisor because they may have been trained by physicists who were not board-certified at the time of their training or by circumstance are working or have been worked very independently. To those of you within the AAPM who are guiding these policy decisions, how about providing some mechanism to “grandfather in” the clinical experience requirement for those with ≥ 10 years of on-the-job experience who can also secure letters of reference from ABR-certified physicist colleagues or provide other substantiation of their competence to practice ? Btw, isn’t the exam supposed to do that ? I think a professional organization representing the interests of all members would find a way to keep competent, long-standing members from falling off of any professional cliff.

  16. ralph on July 6th, 2009 10:10 am

    Wow…I can’t tell you how majorly upset I am for the ABR to basically throw my career away for me. I am a nuclear medicine technologist for 6 years nor. I have my B.S. in Biology and went back to school for a nuc med certification in 2003.
    After 3 years of being a tech I realized I wanted to become a Medical Physicist. I started a Health Physics M.S. degress in January of 2007. It is now graduating time and I was looking foward to get a job as a medical physicist, sit for the ABR, and after 3 years take the oral part. Now, not having a physics undergrad minor…I am shunned from becoming a medical physicst EVER!!!!!
    What crap…I am sorry…..I wanted to become a medical physicist….have a family and went back to school just to get a slap in the face!

  17. Shawn on August 11th, 2009 9:56 am

    These requirements send to hell people who are non-campep approved. they are not doing enough for campep approvals deliberatly to save their wages and create a shortage. bunch of nonsense guys sitting on board who have secured their life incomes and wish to restrict the field in the name of safety.

    i hope there is soon a pill for cancer so that these overly proud and arrogant “medical” physicists realize what they truly are – physicists….

  18. Paul on August 19th, 2009 5:41 pm

    It’s a shame the way the ABR treats those who have completed a graduate level education in Medical Physics without a physics minor. You can spend all the money and time taking all the classes you want, but they will not ever let you sit for part I.

    What good is having these graduate programs, accredited or not, if those who complete them are not ready to BEGIN professional training? You don’t see the ABR turning away MD’s because their particular medical school did not require specific undergraduate courses.

  19. Blue on August 20th, 2009 6:59 am

    I agree with Paul. I was in the shoes.
    It seems that ABR reinforces the course requirement just in recent couple of years. I graduated with a BE in engineering and MA in non-accredited medical physics program. My classmates, with the exactly the same background and of course, coursework as well, got to sit in the exam without extra requirement around 2-3 years ago. I stayed for Phd study, so I got to apply the exam last September but did not hear back from the committee in June. I was asked to take extra physics course such as atomic physics, although I have taken up-level course titled ‘mechanics’.
    I also noticed that the ABR website recently (say May-June) added specific course requirement (with course names). It wasn’t there last year when I applied, otherwise I would ask for clarification. I don’t mind taking a course if I knew early, but with the situation like now, I have to race with the 2012 deadline since I have wasted a year. Who knows if the ABR requirement will get tougher next year?

  20. Mike on August 31st, 2009 6:17 am

    Guys,

    These guys just want to create intentional shortage of labor in profession. They have secured their own careers and now want others to goto hell. If non-CAMPEP guys are safety hazards then let all currently non-CAMPEP physicists working in field go to 6-month residency as part of ABR re-certification requirement. It is not 2 year but only 6 month CAMPEP residency, so it should not be problem for those who are asking for us to go to 2 year CAMPEP residencies. OPPS…I see lot of those “ALL ABOUT SAFETY” guys running helter shelter. What happened guys, I though you were for quality health care, thats why you were asking other people to go for extra 2 year residencies. You are just being asked for 6 months and now I see you running away…..I thought it was about quality healthcare but now I see its about money only..shame on you hypocrites…

    Mike

  21. traver on November 22nd, 2009 11:15 pm

    I don’t undetsnatd the requirement of the minor in addition to the accredited graduate program. It simply reflects the inadequency of the accreditation. SOmeone should come up with a AABR to provide further accreditation to ABR members and we need another AAABR to provide another accreditation to those accreditated by the AABR.

  22. Adam on March 22nd, 2010 12:30 pm

    Hi Kelley and K,

    My wife who is graduating from an accredited program and is qualified for part 1 was informed that it does not automatically grandfather you in for part 2 of the exam. You need 3 years of experience for part 2 which is very nerve racking for her because that means she needs to get a job upon graduation this August.

    On top, if she doesnt have the 3 years of expericne can’t take part 2 forcing her o follow the new rules which requires resedency.

    Who told you that you get grandfathered in if you quailify for part 1 and graduated from an accredited program?

  23. Medphysphd on March 22nd, 2010 2:48 pm

    The target has apparently moved again for many prospective board examinees.

    The new ABR rule from January 2010 states that in order to take Part 2 in 2014, you must have completed a CAMPEP residency by June 30th, 2014. In order to take Part 2 in 2013 you need to have completed either 36 months of full-time equivalent clinical medical physics hours or a CAMPEP residency by June 30th, 2013. There is no language about grandfathering for people have already registered for Part 1.

    http://theabr.org/ic/ic_rp/ic_rp_newcampep.html

    That means that if you graduate with a (CAMPEP) MS, the *latest possible* date you can meet the old rules for Part 2 is by graduating in December 2010 *if* you have both 6 months of MS clinical experience and a job that starts in January 2011. With this scenario you might be able to do Part 1 in 2011, meaning CAMPEP MS isn’t necessary, but I’m not sure (i.e. don’t take my word for it).

    With a CAMPEP PhD, you could theoretically graduate in May/June, 2011, if you had the full 12 months of PhD clinical hours and a job lined up to start in July.

    Of course it’s up to ABR to determine which hours count during grad school, so they aren’t guaranteed.

    All other scenarios mean you need to begin a CAMPEP residency in 2012 (or prior) if you don’t have the requisite clinical months to take Part 2 in 2013.

    So if you’re like me and won’t be finished with your degree in time and probably won’t have enough hours during grad school AND cannot move any time soon for a residency (and no local residency), you’re probably screwed — at least out of a couple $100k and a couple years of your life when you have to do a residency at some point.

    Don’t get me wrong, I would much prefer doing a residency (especially at market level salary instead of the BS salary imposed on medical residents, which then somehow rolls down to medical physicists), but right now the oldies in charge have clearly bitten off far more than they can chew. This is not unknown to them, they are just not willing to slow things down and take a bearing on reality. And of course the students and potential test takers don’t have a voice, because they effectively don’t exist (i.e. many decisions were made years before they even entered grad school).

    And finally: this is a transition. The answer can not simply be “just go do a residency”. Residency spots are still few are far in between. It is not like physician training, where people knew (at least vaguely) was required since they were in high school. A transition means there will necessarily be many exceptional cases, where the new conditions cannot be met. These cases must be expected and dealt with smoothly. The new barriers to become well trained, competent, certified physicists should not turn out to be procedural barriers, but rather barriers that select on merit.

  24. MPgradstudent on March 23rd, 2010 5:06 pm

    For those who did not notice, the ABR’s response to the concerns of some grad students was recently posted on the MEDPHYS list serve…

    “Once his application has been accepted for Part 1, the candidate is in under the rules then in effect. Thus, if that is before the 2014 residency requirement (with submission of formal registration form and fees in 2013), he would not have to then enter a residency in order to be eligible for Part 2. Please note that no formal approval can be given by the committee until his formal registration, fees and completed file are reviewed during the normal review period.”

  25. medphysphd on March 23rd, 2010 10:39 pm

    Thanks for posting that, MPGradStudent.

    It seems that ABR is really just saying that, while right now you can qualify for Part 2 by either a) accumulating 36 months of clinical experience or b) completing a CAMPEP residency, if you begin the process starting in 2014, which already requires being in a CAMPEP residency for Part 1, option a) logically no longer exists.

    They just did a *really* bad job of making that clear.

    That being said, the ABR response quoted above is not 100% clear to me, so definitely check with the ABR about your own situation.

  26. prospective candidate: on April 23rd, 2010 3:36 pm

    currently what are the requirements for one to sit ABR part 1? How does one register for the exam? and what is the approximate cost?

    PC

  27. Pat on April 29th, 2010 12:00 pm

    Hi. Right now if you want to take part I next year (they only give it once per year) you have to register between July and September of this year. You have to either be enrolled in a CAMPEP program or have graduated with a degree in Medical Physics (and equivalent minor in general physics) and also be employed by the end of the year. Idk what it cost but I imagine it is several hundred dollars.

  28. Damodar on May 4th, 2010 5:11 am

    you also need anatomy or physiology (at least 2 credits) and radiobiology courses. Fee is about $500.00 for the part I.

  29. Mike on July 10th, 2010 11:18 am

    Any one knows of schools scheduled for CAMPEP acc. in 2011?

  30. Kimberley on December 21st, 2010 5:55 pm

    Hi Mike,

    I graduated from a “medical physics-like” degree (non-CAMPEP accredited) recently, and was considering applying for a residency but reconsidered due to the competitive nature of the position. Regardless, I looked into it and talked to people. I was surprised to learn that several people from my academic department were hired in both radiation and imaging medical physics residencies (all CAMPEP accredited residencies) in the past 2 years despite all the CAMPEP confusion. One of these recent graduates was even a master’s student.

    I suppose what I’m wondering is if there are specific or unique roadblocks that you are facing in applying for a residency if you graduated already from your program with a PhD, presumably in the 2009-2010 interval? Just from my own (granted, superficial) poking around, it does seem like non-CAMPEP PhDs and even MScs can still get these positions in 2010.

    Many thanks for your future reply.
    -Kim

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