Health physicists perform evaluations and determine whether certain environments and/or practices are safe regarding levels of radiation. These physicists may help establish government standards or standards for a certain company, and may also advise organizations regarding changes to be made to descend to an acceptable level of radiation.
Health physicists may work for the government and are often responsible for issuing and revoking licensing regarding radioactive material; this may be done by performing analyses to ensure that particular companies or organizations are complying with all regulations. Health physicists may also study how particular types and levels of radiation affect living creatures.
A bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and current certification as a health physicist are generally required for this position, and many positions require years of prior experience. Much of the work of a health physicist is done independently, so it is important to be self-motivated. However, some tasks may require collaboration, so interpersonal and teamwork skills are also important. Strong knowledge of radiation detection, analysis, effects, and principles of radiation is essential, and knowledge of nuclear facility emergency response is also necessary. This position may require exposure to uncomfortable environments and traveling when necessary, so a valid driver’s license is often required, as well.
Health Physicist Tasks
Direct testing and monitoring of radioactive equipment to protect the patient from excessive radiation exposure.
Collaborate with other scientists in the design, development, and testing of experimental, industrial, or medical equipment, instrumentation, and procedures.
Analyze data from research conducted to detect and measure physical phenomena.
Perform complex calculations as part of the analysis and evaluation of data, using computers.