A day as a medical physicist

You're based in the medical physics department at your local NHS hospital. Today, you're installing and testing a new system that will be an improvement in helping to treat cancer with radiation. Working with computers and complex imaging and equipment, you make accurate measurements of radiation levels and test the new system. You talk with hospital colleagues about the most logical, beneficial way the new system could work with patients. You enjoy using your scientific and mathematical abilities to develop new systems that push back the frontiers of medical science.

Does this sound like you?

You're excellent at science and maths, and enjoy laboratory experiments. You're good at logical problem solving, work well with computers and can concentrate for long periods.

What's next after GCSE?

You'll usually need a minimum of five 9-4 (A*-C) grade GCSEs (or the equivalent), including maths, english and two science subjects. Then, you'll be all set to apply for at least two A levels (or the equivalent) at college or 6th form.

What's next after A level and beyond?

You'll need to apply for a BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science degree course at university specialising in radiation physics or radiotherapy physics. Usually, you'll need at least two (and ideally 3) A levels including at least one science(or equivalent level 3 qualifications), but institutions differ so it's vital that you check entry requirements.

Healthcare science practitioner degree apprenticeships where you could specialise in medical physics may be available in some parts of the country and you'll usually need the same level of GCSEs and A levels or equivalent qualifications. Always check the exact requirements with the employer as like universities, they can vary.

If you wanted to enter this area of work at a higher level, then after achieving a good degree, you'd need to get a place on the NHS Scientist Training Programme, when you'd train to become a clinical scientist and specialise in an area of medical physics.