Part II (written exam) – Medical Health Physics


Exam Description

 The Exam Panel seeks to determine the candidate’s practical experience, as well as his/her understanding of current radiation protection standards.  In  Part II we test the candidate’s level of knowledge on the following 9 topics.

Examination Content Outline

I. Instrumentation 10%
II. Laboratory Design 5%
III. Standards and Regulations 15%
IV. Radiation Oncology – Including brachytherapy 15%
V. Structural Shielding Design 15%
VI. Imaging Quality Assurance – Including Nuclear Medicine 20%
VII. Radiobiology 5%
VIII. Radiopharmaceutical Therapy 10%
IX. Non-Ionizing Radiation 5%

Instrumentation (10%)

  1. Characteristics and limitations of Portable ionization chambers
  2. Geiger-Muller counters
  3. Scintillation counters
  4. Liquid Scintillation counting systems
  5. Multi-channel analyzers
  6. Gamma counting systems
  7. Uses of instrumentation in the field and in emergency situations

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Laboratory Design (5%)

  1. Ventilation systems
  2. Hood design
  3. Contamination control

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Standards and Regulations (15%)

  1. Risk Estimates
  2. Radiobiological basis for permissible doses
  3. Permissible Doses
  4. Familiarity with Regulatory Codes
  5. Familiarity with NRC/NCRP Guidelines

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Radiation Oncology – including Brachytherapy (15%)

  1. Elements of Quality Management Program
  2. JCAHO Requirements
  3. Inventory Control-Brachytherapy
  4. Exposure Control
  5. Medical Events.
  6. Incident Investigation
  7. Quality Control Testing

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Structural Shielding Design (15%)

  1. Diagnostic Installations
  2. Accelerator Shielding and Upgrades
  3. Neutron Protection
  4. Sealed Source Protection

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Imaging Quality Assurance (20%)

  1. FDA Regulations
  2. Elements of Quality Management Program
  3. JCAHO Requirements
  4. Quality Control Testing

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Radiobiology (5%)

  1. BEIR Reports
  2. NCRP Recommendations

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Radiopharmaceutical Therapy (10%)

    1. I-131 Therapy
    2. Typical Doses
    3. Exposure Control
    4. Contamination Control
    5. Release Criteria
    6. Radioimmunotherapy

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Non-Ionizing Radiation (5%)

  1. Laser Safety Standards
  2. MRI Design and Hazard

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Reference Study Material

The following text provides a listing of books or reports that are intended to assist persons preparing for the examination.  This list is not all-inclusive.

A basic understanding of medical physics practices is necessary in addition to standard health physics practices and principles.  An understanding of diagnostic radiology to the level of S. Bushong, Radiological Science for Technologist, (latest edition Mosby-Year Book, St. Louis) is needed.

For radiation therapy, a level midway between say Applied Physics for Radiation Oncology, (R. Stanton and I. Stinson, Med. Physics. Pub., Madison, 1996) and The Physics of Radiation Therapy ( F. Kahn ,Second Edition, Williams & Wilkens, Baltimore) is desirable.  For nuclear medicine, the text Physics in Nuclear Medicine, J. Sorenson and M. Phelps, Gruine and Stratton, latest edition is helpful.

Other texts of interest are : 

Hospital Health Physics, Proceedings of the 1993 HPS Summer School, Eds., G.G. Eichholz & J.J. Shanka.

Radiation Instruments, Ed., H.Cember, Health Physics Summer School, 2001.

Shielding Techniques, P. McGinleySecond Edition, Med. Physics Pub., 2002.

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Title 10, Parts 20 and 35

Regulatory Guides, including 8.39

Licensing Guide for Medical Licenses of Broad Scope

Licensing Guide for Specific Scope Licenses

American Association of Physicists in Medicine

Report of Task Group 40

Report of Task Group 53

National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements:

Report No. 37, “Precautions in the Management of Patients Who Have Received Therapeutic Amounts of Radionuclides”

Report No. 49, “Structural Shielding Design and Evaluation for Medical Use of X Rays and Gamma Rays Up to 10 MeV”

Report No. 54, “Medical Radiation Exposure of Pregnant and Potentially Pregnant Women”

Report No. 65, “Management of Persons Accidentally Contaminated with Radionuclides”

Report No. 79, “Neutron Contamination from Medical Electron Accelerators”

Report No. 102, “Medical X-Ray, Electron Beam and Gamma-Ray Protection for Energies Up to 50 MeV”

Report No. 115, “Risk Estimates for Radiation Protection”

Report No. 116, “Limitation of Exposure to Ionizing Radiation”

Report No. 119, ” A Practical Guide to the Determination of Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Fields” (1993).

Report No. 122, “Use of Personal Monitors to Estimate Effective Dose Equivalent and Effective Dose to Workers For External Exposure to Low-LET Radiation” (1995)

Report No. 127, “Operational Radiation Safety Program”

Report No. 124, “Sources and Magnitude of Occupational and Public Exposures from Nuclear Medicine Procedures” (1996)

Report No. 125, “Deposition, Retention and Dosimetry of Inhaled Radioactive Substances” (1997)

Report No. 126, “Uncertainties in Fatal Cancer Risk Estimates Used in Radiation Protection” (1997)

Report No. 128, “Radionuclide Exposure of the Embryo/Fetus” (1998)

Report No. 133, “Radiation Protection for Procedures Performed Outside the Radiology Department” (2000)

Report No. 134, “Operational Radiation Safety Training” (2000)

Report No. 136, “Evaluation of the Linear-Nonthreshold Dose-Response Model for Ionizing Radiation” (2001)

Report No. 140, “Exposure Criteria for Medical Diagnostic Ultrasound” (2002)

Report No. 144, “Radiation Protection for Particle Accelerator Facilities” (2003)

Report No. 145, “Radiation Protection in Dentistry” (2003)

Report No. 147, “Structural Shielding Design for Medical X-Ray Imaging Facilities” (2004)

Report No. 149, “A Guide to Mammography and Other Breast Imaging Procedures” (2004)

Report No.151, ” Structural Shielding Design and Evaluation for Megavoltage X- and Gamma-Ray Radiotherapy Facilities” (2005).


Blater S. “Interventional Fluoroscopy: Physics, Technology & Safety”, Wiley-Liss, 2001.

Bushong, S.C. “Radiologic Science For Technologists,” 3rd Ed., Mosby, ST. Louis, 1984.

Cember H. “Introduction to Health Physics”, 3rd Edition. McGraw-Hill, 1996.

Dendy PP & Heaton B. “Physics for Diagnostic Radiology”, 2nd Edition. Insitute of Physics, 1999.

Johns, H.E. and Cunningham, J.R. “The Physics of Radiology,” 4th Ed., Thomas, Springfield, 1983.

Khan, F.M. “The Physics of Radiation Therapy,” 3rd Edition. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2003.

Tsoulfanaids N. “Measurement and Detection of Radiation”, 2nd Edition, Taylor & Francis, 1995.

Turner, J.E. “Atoms, Radiation and Radiation Protection”, 2nd Edition. John Wiley & Sons, 1995.