Radiophysicist in a hospital


I am a second year resident in Hospital Radiophysics, a health specialty regulated by the Spanish Royal Decree  220/1997. Students have to do a hospital residency (paid), which normally lasts three years, to gain access to this profession. After this period you obtain a specialist certificate, which qualifies you to practice the profession. To enter the residency program, students have to sit an examination that consists of several questions about different areas of physics which are not normally linked to hospital radiophisics. Only sciences graduates are eligible to sit the exam and physics graduates are preferred because of the nature of the examination questions.

The wide use of the ionizing radiation in medicine and the complexity of the techniques used make it essential to have professionals who understand the fundamental physics of  ionizing radiation. The function of radiophysicists in hospitals can be divided into several interrelated areas:

  • Design of  radiotherapy treatments, both external (with photon and electron accelerators), and brachytherapy (where radioactive sources are placed inside the patient).
  • Quality control of ionizing radiation producing equipment, radiation sources and diagnosis/treatment techniques involving radiation use.
  • Radiation protection: Advising on radiation safety both to exposed professionals and  patients.

I chose this profession because I was attracted by its interdisciplinary nature. Furthermore, it is an open professional field, still under development, which demands a constant retraining of its practitioners.

I hope that this will be of help to those finishing their degrees… And I would like to congratulate people in charge of the web page for their idea, and thank them their effort.



Other details just in case you are interested in this post:

  • Where I should send my CV?
    The announcement of examinations and the application period usually begin in the middle of september.
  • Where can I find more information?
    You can find  help to prepare for the entrance examination for the residency program in the Valencia University web page (free) and in this Online school (paid).   Past papers from previous years are also available from the Ministry of Health web page.
  • Important qualities to get the job:
    specialist certificate in radiophysics.
  • What is the gross salary for the first five years?
    In public hospitals the salary is equal to a Type A Functionary (graduates) along with all the corresponding benefits.  I would say this is in the range 15-30 K€, but I’m not certain.