Medical Physicist

Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences

What you will 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.


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • maths knowledge
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
  • science skills

As well as:

  • analytical thinking skills
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork)
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • excellent written communication skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

You’ll need:

  • an honours degree (2:1 or above) in physics
  • paid or unpaid experience in a hospital medical physics or engineering department
  • in the UK, you’ll need to have completed the 3-year NHS Healthcare Scientist Training Programme (STP)

Again, in the UK, 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:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including English language, maths and a science subject
  • at least 2 A levels including maths or a science
  • Health Careers and The Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) have more information on becoming a medical physicist.

Working Hours 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.

Career Path & Progression:

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