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Science and Engineering

Health Physicist

Career data updated last on 10/10/2014
Health Physicist Health physics is a scientific discipline devoted to the study of radiation and its effects on living things. Health physicists develop or implement methods to evaluate radiation hazards and to protect humans and the environment from radiation. They may study issues such as radioactive waste disposal, nuclear energy, indoor radon and other potential hazards. The health physicist is called upon to assist in making judgments concerning the balance of risks and benefits from new technologies that are dependent on radiation. This spans many diverse fields including basic research, environmental restoration, industrial applications, medicine,and space exploration.
Salary $30.36 hourly- $60,710 annually
Significant Points
Work Environment Health physicists work in several occupational areas: nuclear power reactor facilities; research facilities; medical centers; federal and state governmental programs such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and environmental control agencies.
High School Prep General college preparation is recommended: three courses in math including algebra I, algebra II and geometry, or a higher level math course for which algebra II is a prerequisite; three science courses including biology and chemistry, one physical science and one lab course; four English units and two social studies units, including one in U.S. History; and two years of a second language.
Academic Requirements A college degree, preferably in physics, nuclear engineering, biology, or chemistry is required to enter a graduate educational program in health physics/radiologic hygiene. The educational program leads to either a master's or a doctoral degree. Students with significant preparatory course work may complete a master's degree program in one and one-half years; others may take two years. Studies cover health physics topics such as radiation biology, hazards evaluation, and environmental radioactivity.


Colorado State University
Doctoral Degree Doctoral
Masters Degree Master's
University of Colorado Denver - Anschutz Medical Campus
Masters Degree Master's

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