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Medical

Medical physicist

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

Annual Salary

£31,365 to £51,668

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; on a rota

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Medical physicist jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

In this role, you could:

  • design, develop and test new devices and systems to diagnose and treat health conditions
  • monitor equipment to make sure it’s accurate, safe and well-maintained
  • train hospital staff
  • plan treatment programmes and explain procedures to patients
  • carry out procedures and analyse test results
  • use computer simulations and mathematical modelling in research and development work
  • write reports and present to scientific and non scientific audiences

Working environment

You may need to wear protective clothing.

You could work in a laboratory or in an NHS or private hospital.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • a trainee scheme
University

To become a medical physicist, you'll need a degree that includes a high level of physics, for example:

  • applied physics
  • physics and mathematics
  • astrophysics

You would then complete the 3-year NHS Scientist Training Programme.

You'll need a first or upper second class honours in your degree to apply, or a postgraduate master's qualification in a relevant subject like theoretical physics.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and physics
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information
Apprenticeship

You may be able to train for this job by doing a Level 6 Healthcare Science Practitioner degree apprenticeship.

You may also be able to start as a healthcare science assistant or associate and with experience move on to the degree apprenticeship.

The degree apprenticeship combines work-based learning and time at university.

The first 2 years cover broad based science and in your third year you can specialise in medical physics.

Entry requirements

Most people following this route have:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
For more information
Other routes

You could apply for a place on the NHS Practitioner Training Programme without a degree.

You would study for a degree in healthcare science, which includes work-based training. You could then go on to specialise in medical physics.

To apply, you'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, maths and a science
  • at least 2 A levels including maths or a science

You can find out more about the Practitioner Training Programme from the National School of Healthcare Science.

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, for professional development, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about careers and training in medical physics through Health Careers and the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.

You can find out more about the recruitment process for the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP) from the National School of Healthcare Science.

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

You could join the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, for professional development, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about careers and training in medical physics through Health Careers and the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • science skills
  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • analytical thinking skills
  • maths knowledge
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • excellent written communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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