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Medical physicist

Medical physicists are specialists in healthcare science, also known as clinical science. 

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £25,000 to £99,500 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37.5 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need:

If you don’t have a degree level qualification, you can apply for the NHS Practitioner Training Programme (PTP). 

This consists of an undergraduate degree course like healthcare science, and work based training. To get onto the PTP you’ll need:

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • high levels of accuracy and attention to detail
  • the ability to concentrate for long periods
  • the confidence to take responsibility for decisions
  • an enquiring mind and good problem solving skills

3. What you'll do

You’ll be:

  • developing and testing new systems to help investigate patients' conditions
  • monitoring equipment to make sure it’s accurate, safe and well-maintained
  • training hospital staff
  • planning treatment programmes and explaining procedures to patients
  • carrying out procedures and analysing test results
  • using computer simulations and mathematical modelling in research and development work

You’ll develop new technology for diagnosis and treatment, covering areas like:

  • imaging techniques – to track organ functioning and aid image-guided surgery
  • radiation and radio therapies – calculating dosages for the treatment of cancers
  • electronics – designing instruments to measure or support damaged organs
  • laser technology – to reduce the need for invasive surgery, like breaking up kidney stones or treating eye disorders

You’ll work closely with medical professionals like doctors, radiographers and medical physics technicians.

4. Salary

Starter: £25,000

Experienced: £31,250 to £82,500

Highly Experienced: Up to £99,500 (consultant)

Salaries in the private sector can be higher than NHS.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work around 37.5 hours a week.

You may have to work evenings or weekends as part of an on-call rota.

You’ll be based in a hospital, clinic or laboratory setting, and may need to travel to other hospitals to meet with other scientists.

You’ll wear protective clothing when working with hazardous substances and radiation.

6. Career path and progression

You could go on to lead a department, work in higher education, research, or in the medical equipment manufacturing industry.

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Last updated: 18 August 2017