The Medical Physics Assistant

As I have mentioned in previous communications, the job market is tight right now for board-certified medical physicists. The existence of more job openings than physicists to fill them has lead to a sharp increase in job listings with many of these positions sitting unfilled for months or even years. The result has been the use of more locums and to turn to more creative solutions like hybrid and remote models. There is another potential solution that I’d like to talk about today – the medical physics assistant (MPA).

The Medical Physics Assistant

An MPA is someone who has received some structured education in the field of radiation physics. This could be someone who got a medical physics degree but had their boarding process interrupted for personal or professional reasons. It could be someone working their way up through the radiation therapy department from therapist to dosimetrist to MPA. It also could be someone with a related bachelors or higher degree in health physics or something similar and they want to break into the world of radiation therapy.

Back in 2020, the American Association of Physicists in Medical (AAPM) has provided a policy for guidance regarding MPAs. The idea of an MPA is not entirely new, but their use in radiation therapy departments is still fairly fresh. With the current job market, it is becoming a real, viable option for departments struggling to keep their budgets under control and their staff happy with the workload. AAPM has also created a flyer to help explain what an MPA is and what they can do.

Under the right circumstances, an MPA can help with the physics workload in a radiation therapy department and give some relief to the overworked physics staff. This may keep your current staff happier in their current positions, fill a job opening that has been difficult to fill and has been vacant for some time, and help with the ever-important budget. The department has to have the right environment for an MPA, with at least one board-certified physicist willing and able to supervise, but the reward can be great. It can help you free up current physics staff to pursue more projects and bigger ticket items within a department while allowing for MPAs to handle more of the rote day-to-day work.

Atom Physics Staffing can help you determine whether an MPA is right for your department and can help you save on physics staffing costs. Contact us today!