Initial Certification for Medical Physics

Requirements and Application

Last verified on July 17, 2019
 

Requirements

 

Candidates who applied for certification after July 1, 2013

  • Must have passed the Medical Physics Part 1 exam (general and clinical).
  • Must have completed a CAMPEP-accredited residency by August 31 of the year in which the Part 2 exam is to be taken. 
    • Candidates who completed a CAMPEP-accredited residency prior to the year that in which they are applying for the Part 2 exam must also provide documentation of current employment as a medical physicist.
 

Candidates who applied for certification prior to October 31, 2012

  • Must have passed the Medical Physics Part 1 exam (general and clinical).
AND must satisfy one of these two requirements:
    • Candidates who submitted their initial application before June 30, 2011, must hold a master’s or doctoral degree from an approved institution (program accredited by one of the organizations recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation or its successors), or an equivalent foreign degree in medical physics, physics, or another relevant physical science or engineering discipline. Foreign degrees must be substantiated by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).1
  • Candidates who submitted their initial application July 1, 2011, or later, and used enrollment in a CAMPEP-accredited degree program as the basis for qualification to take Part 1, must complete the CAMPEP-accredited degree. Candidates may leave the CAMPEP-accredited degree program for a CAMPEP-accredited residency if they have at least an MS degree in medical physics or a related field, and must complete the CAMPEP-accredited residency to advance to Part 2. They must notify the ABR prior to transferring between CAMPEP-accredited programs. Candidates who used enrollment in a CAMPEP-accredited residency as the basis for qualification to take Part 1 must complete the residency before advancing to Part 2.
AND must complete one of the following:
    • Must complete a CAMPEP-accredited residency by August 31 of the year in which the Part 2 exam is to be taken.
      • Candidates who completed a CAMPEP-accredited residency prior to the year that in which they are applying for the Part 2 exam must also provide documentation of current employment as a medical physicist.
    • **PLEASE NOTE** Beginning with applications for the 2024 Part 2 exam and beyond, the ABR will no longer accept 36 months of clinical experience as a pathway to medical physics certification. All candidates who have not been approved for Part 2 by the 2023 exam must complete a CAMPEP-accredited residency (by August 31 of the year of the exam) for admission to the Part 2 exam, regardless of their initial application date.
  • Candidates must have had at least three years (36 months) of full-time equivalent clinical experience under the supervisionof a certified medical physicist in active association with an approved department, division, or practice in the specialty(ies) in which certification is sought. The supervisor must attest that the supervision was as described in AAPM Medical Physics Practice Guideline 3.a: “Levels of supervision for medical physicists in training.”
    The supervisor must also attest that the training covered the items in the attached list of ABR standards. (Note: Any training items not completed at the time of application must be completed by May 31 of the year in which the exam will be taken.) These standards are derived from and similar to the material described in AAPM Report 249 (Section 2.5, 3.5, or 4.5). In the area of general medical physics competency, the supervisor must attest that the candidate is trained in appropriate medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, and systems-based practice as described in AAPM Report 249. Finally, the supervisor must attest that the candidate meets the commonly accepted canons of ethical behavior such as those described in the AAPM Code of Ethics and is qualified to practice medical physics independently. This credit can be acquired through any combination of the following activities:
Activity Possible Credit
Master’s level medical physics program that includes a clinical component 3 Up to 6 months
Doctoral level medical physics program that includes a clinical component 3 Up to 12 months
Postgraduate clinical medical physics internship or residency 3 Full-time credit
Postdoctoral clinical/research program  (Credit for clinical only, with preceptor’s confirmation of hours spent in clinical duties) Full-time credit
Postgraduate employment in a department, division, or practice providing clinical experience in the specialty(ies) of medical physics in which certification is sought 3 Full-time credit
A candidate’s program may be arranged through a department other than radiology or radiation oncology, but the work he or she performs must be in the specialty(ies) of medical physics in which he or she seeks certification.
No credit is given for experience gained as an undergraduate, nor for extracurricular experience gained before one’s graduate degree is awarded, nor for time spent in a residency until the residency is completed. No more than 12 months of clinical training credit can be given for all graduate degrees.
In addition to the above:
  • Candidates currently must be working as a medical physicist in a clinical medical physics environment under the supervision2of a certified medical physicist or a qualified medical physicist (the latter if they are working in a foreign country). Documentation of this current employment must be provided with the candidate’s Part 2 application.
  • In special circumstances and upon formal request, the Medical Physics Credentials Evaluation Committee (MPCEC) will consider a volunteer position as an alternative to traditional employment. See the policy on volunteer positions.4
Candidates who have not completed a CAMPEP-accredited residency must include with their Part 2 application the name and contact information of an ABR-certified diagnostic radiologist or radiation oncologist who can serve as a reference. The physician must have personal knowledge of the candidate’s experience, training, and ethical standing, and must certify that he or she is qualified to take the exam. Candidates should review the Part 2 audit standards.
 

Footnotes

1International candidates within medical physics residency programs who hold only non-United States (U.S.) or Canadian degrees must provide documentation that their foreign degrees are equivalent to those granted from an approved institution in the U.S. and that the granting institution is equivalent to a regionally accredited institution in the U.S. Please refer to the ABR-approved Credentials Evaluation Organizations for information on the process for providing this documentation through use of approved educational credential evaluation services.
Role 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 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; and
  • be willing to provide, if requested, 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.
3A candidate’s practical training and/or supervised experience in medical physics must be under the supervisionof a certified medical physicist. To be eligible for NRC recognized status (i.e., AMP or RSO), at least 24 months of the required 36 months of supervised clinical training must be under the direction of an ABR-certified medical physicist.
4Volunteer Positions – Conditions for Acceptability To be judged acceptable and equivalent to employment-based environments, volunteer positions must satisfy the following conditions:
  1. The volunteer position is fully recognized, formally structured, and officially sanctioned within the participating department or institution.
  2. The candidate practices in the volunteer position no less than half time. The equivalent experience will be prorated for part-time positions.
  3. A written description of the activities, responsibilities, and training opportunities of the volunteer position is provided.
  4. The interactive role of the certified medical physicist supervisor must be defined to provide:
    • review of the professional activity/output of the candidate;
    • familiarity with the professional quality of the candidate’s work;
    • input and guidance to the candidate on professional activities; and
    • opportunity to evaluate the candidate’s capability of working independently in the designated field of medical physics.
At the end of the training period, the certified medical physicist supervisor must submit a statement in writing to the ABR attesting that the conditions above have been met and that the candidate is capable of working independently in the designated specialty of medical physics.
 

Application

Applications for the Part 2 exam are accepted between December 1 – January 31. Please check back here on December 1, 2019, for the 2020 exam application.
 

Exam Application Schedule

  • After a candidate’s application is received, the ABR office staff will review it to verify all needed information is complete. If anything is lacking, he or she will be contacted via email.
  • After all documentation has been received, the ABR office will forward the file to the MPCEC for review.
  • After the MPCEC has reviewed the file and returned it to the ABR office, the candidate will be notified of his or her eligibility to take the exam. If declined for any reason, he or she will be sent a letter explaining the reason for the decline. Candidates will be given 30 days from the date of the letter to file an appeal and submit supplemental documentation, should they choose to do so. If the ABR office does not receive an appeal within 30 days, the file will be placed on hold, and the candidate will be required to wait until the following year to reapply.
  • If approved, the candidate will receive an invitation via email approximately two months prior to the exam. The invitation will include the date that registration at Pearson VUE® will open and the due date for the exam payment (if applicable). After registration with Pearson VUE, the candidate must log in to myABR and pay the exam fee.
Because we have many candidates applying for the exam, we ask that they please do not contact the ABR office to check their status. If we have any questions during the review process, we will contact them. Candidates who have not heard from the ABR by May 3, 2020, please email information@theabr.org, and we will check the status of your application at that time.