Medical Physicist Kaiahupūngao Whakaora
Medical physicists help plan radiation treatment for patients, check and monitor radiation equipment, and develop new treatment techniques.
Medical physicists may do some or all of the following:
- research and develop new equipment and techniques
- ensure that medical equipment is used safely and correctly
- order medical equipment
- monitor and test radiation equipment and dosage
- work with a medical team to create treatment plans for patients
- interact with patients as part of their radiation therapy treatment
- contribute to the design of new medical facilities.
Medical physicists need to have good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses).
Useful experience for medical physicists includes:
- any scientific research work
- work with medical equipment or electronics
- engineering work
- computer programming and coding.
Medical physicists need to be:
- skilled at research, and at analysing and interpreting research results
- accurate, with an eye for detail
- well organised
- good at communicating
- good at solving problems
- persistent and patient
- able to work well independently and as part of a team.
Medical physicists need to have knowledge of:
- physics as it applies to medicine
- maths and the scientific method
- the use of radiation to treat cancer or diagnose disease
- anatomy, physiology and radiation biology
- medical technology and equipment.
- usually work regular business hours, but may also work evenings and weekends
- work in hospitals or research departments in universities.
NCEA Level 3 is required to enter tertiary training. Useful subjects include biology, chemistry, digital technologies, maths, physics, and construction and mechanical technologies.
Medical physicists may progress to doing research in their clinical practice or move into management roles.
Medical physicists working in hospitals may specialise in:
- treatment planning
- radiation safety
- image quality
- linear accelerator management.
Medical physicists may also progress to jobs in areas such as:
- teaching or research in universities
- making medical equipment
- consulting on new equipment and technology to be used in hospitals.
Years Of Training8 years of training required.
To become a medical physicist you need to have a relevant undergraduate degree, such as one of the following:
- Bachelor of Science in Physics (Medical Physics and Imaging Technology)
- Bachelor of Science in Physics
- Bachelor of Engineering with a strong maths and physics component.
You then enter specialist training and work experience, involving:
- a Masters of Science in Medical Physics
- a five-year clinical Training, Education and Accreditation Programme (TEAP), done in conjunction with the Master's degree and specialising in one of three areas, radiation oncology medical physics, diagnostic imaging medical physics or nuclear medicine physics
- accreditation with the Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine (ACPSEM).
- University of Auckland website - information on the Bachelor of Science in Physics (Medical Physics and Imaging Technology)
- University of Canterbury website - information on the Masters of Science in Medical Physics
- Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine (ACPSEM) website - information about TEAP training
- Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine (ACPSEM) website - information about membership