Initial Certification for Medical Physics

International Medical Graduates Alternate Pathway

Last verified on December 17, 2023

General Requirements

The American Board of Radiology (ABR) provides an Alternate Pathway for medical physicists trained in foreign countries, which excludes the United States and its possessions and territories, as well as Canada.
Medical physicists who wish to enter the program will need to demonstrate that they meet the following requirements:
  • qualified to practice medical physics in their country of origin
  • have entered into an arrangement with a facility and a supervisor who will guide them and provide a location for their clinical training, and
  • have at least one year of clinical employment in their country of origin or training.
To be considered a candidate for certification by the ABR, an applicant must demonstrate the following:
    • be employed in the U.S. as a medical physicist;
    • complete and submit a Structured Mentorship Program application form to the ABR. The application must include the candidate statement, along with the Sponsoring Department Agreement (SDA) and Training Plan from the sponsoring facility, which is signed by both the candidate and the advisor. The Training Plan must be approved by the ABR;
    • submit a one-time nonrefundable application fee, due with the application;
    • demonstrate that the applicant’s education is at least equivalent to the requirements of a Master of Science degree in medical physics from a CAMPEP-accredited program;
    • demonstrate at least one year of employment as a qualified medical physicist in the applicant’s country of origin or training (See AAPM Report 197S: Education and Training of Medical Physicists Committee, 2011.)
    • demonstrate credentials as a medical physicist in the applicant’s country of initial training.
NOTE: The Board accepts copies of diplomas or letters from training institutions as verification. If original documents are not in English, an English translation must accompany them.
  • The sponsoring department must be at an institution that has a CAMPEP-accredited residency program. The supervising medical physicist at the sponsoring department must be a diplomate of the ABR. The program must include a minimum of three years at the same institution.
The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and the ABR have established six competencies for practitioners. They are:
  • Practice knowledge
  • Patient care and procedural skills
  • Interpersonal/communication skills
  • Professionalism
  • Practice-based learning and improvement
  • Systems-based practice
The candidate must provide the advisor with an annual statement as to his or her progress toward meeting the six competencies (above). Guidance for this process is available on the ABR website. The medical physicist supervisor must attest that the candidate meets the six competencies before the ABR will approve the Structured Mentorship as acceptable training. Each candidate in a Structured Mentorship must keep a portfolio describing the activities in which he or she participates. At minimum, the portfolio must include the following:
  • the plan for each rotation;
  • a list of educational materials used for the rotation;
  • a summary of candidate activities;
  • survey reports;
  • self-directed educational projects; (SDEPs)
  • practice quality improvement (PQI) project;
  • self-assessment modules (SAMs);
  • a three-page summary of each rotation written by the candidate;
  • candidate evaluations written by the advisor; and
  • candidate evaluations written by physicians or other supervisors.
Portfolios may be audited by the ABR.  

More Information

Discipline-specific Information

Further information regarding the Structured Mentorship Program requirements in the three disciplines of medical physics may be found at the links below:

Board Eligibility

Please see the Board Eligibility policy for more details.


A fee schedule for the IMG alternate pathway can be found here.


Medical Physics Structured Mentorship Application Form


Continuation of the IMG Alternate Pathway
Despite any changes implemented by other organizations, the American Board of Radiology has no plans at this time to discontinue its IMG Alternate Pathway to Certification Program. The program will continue to be available to individuals who meet the requirements outlined above.


1Excluding the United States and its possessions and territories, as well as Canada.
2The ABR will evaluate the qualifications of candidates for the Structured Mentorship Program.
3Role of supervisor: The certified medical physicist designated as the supervisor of clinical training must interact with the candidate (trainee) on a regular basis. Although same‐location supervision is preferable, electronic means of review for candidates at a distance are acceptable to supplement face‐to‐face interactions. Through these interactions the supervisor must:
  • review the professional activity/output of the candidate;
  • become thoroughly familiar with the professional quality of the candidate’s work;
  • provide input and guidance on professional activities;
  • determine the candidate’s capability of working independently in the designated field of medical physics;
  • be willing to provide a statement to the ABR attesting to the above and to certify, at the end of the training period, that the candidate is capable of working independently in the designated field of medical physics.