Medical Physicist

Make sure radiation is delivered safely and effectively.

Quick Stats


Outlook
Good

Salary Range
$42,000 – $143,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Medical Physicists do?

As a Medical Physicist, you work at the intersection of the world of medicine and the world of physics. Specifically, you work with radiology. You’re responsible for running and taking care of all the radio imaging machines like x-rays, MRIs, and CAT scans, so when you’re a Medical Physicist, you need to know how they work from a physical standpoint as well as what they can do to a person’s body from a medical standpoint.

There are three things you’ll be responsible for (mainly) as a Medical Physicist. The first is beam measurement and quality assurance. This means you have to know exactly what the machines are shooting out, the amount they ought to be shooting out, and how to make those two numbers line up.

Secondly, you’re responsible for treatment planning. This is more of the medical side of your responsibilities – you’re responsible for determining the amount of radiation to administer to patients (mostly in radiation therapy treatments for cancer). Basically, you determine how much and how frequently to use the machine.

The final thing you’re responsible for patient positioning. To do this, you must perform “mental acrobatics” and understand how the human body is put together in a fully-realized three dimensional way. Then, using that knowledge, you position patients for imaging procedures so that your colleagues will actually get pictures of what they’re trying to get pictures of.


Should I be a Medical Physicist?

You should have a doctoral degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Outside the Box Thinker: Your creative brainpower gets a workout as you come up with innovative ideas.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.

  • Also known as: Medical Affairs Director, Medical Health Researcher

    How to become a Medical Physicist

    Most Medical Physicists have a Doctorate. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaana9&chl=||associate%27s+%281%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2818%25%29||doctorate+%2881%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,81
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