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Accreditation and Certification


The IAEA recommends that a clinically qualified medical physicist (CQMP) undergoes the following education and training: firstly a postgraduate degree in medical physics covering a core syllabus as given in the IAEA TCS 56 publication and secondly a period of structured clinical training in a hospital in one of the specialties of medical physics including radiotherapy, nuclear medicine and diagnostic radiology.

Important Principles

Accreditation refers to the process of assessing that academic institutions and clinical departments meet necessary requirements to educate students and train residents in medical physics. The requirements for accreditation need to be developed at the national level and would include consideration of:

  • Human resources (PhD level lecturers [academic] and senior medical physicists [clinical]);
  • Physical resources (classrooms [academic], library, offices, IT infrastructure);
  • Equipment (demonstration equipment [academic] and treatment, imaging and dosimetry equipment [clinical]);
  • A core syllabus suitable for medical physics education [academic] and a comprehensive clinical training programme [clinical];
  • Quality indicators (staff publications [academic] and adherence to quality management [clinical]).

Accreditation is awarded by an authorised body such has an Accreditation and Certification Board established by a ministry or the national medical physics professional body. Accreditation may be provisional and time-limited. Accreditation of clinical departments may be awarded on the basis of agreed shared resources with other clinical departments, for example in PET-CT quality assurance, where a resident in one clinical department without a PET-CT scanner would undertake training in PET-CT at another department, with the first department maintaining responsibility for the resident.

Certification refers to the process of assessment of the individual resident at the end of their clinical training program. Certification could involve written, practical and oral examinations but could also include other elements depending on the national requirements including satisfactory completion of competencies, maintenance and presentation of a portfolio of best work and evidence of a scientific publication or conference presentation. Certification is awarded by an authorised body such as an Accreditation and Certification Board which would likely be made up of senior CQMPs. Certification demonstrates the ability of the resident to be an independent medical physics practitioner or CQMP. Certification is followed by registration as a CQMP and maintenance of registration is achieved through continual professional development (CPD).

The IAEA is not an accreditation body, but it cooperates with the International Medical Physics Certification Board (IMPCB) to support requests from Member States for the accreditation of medical physics certification boards and  the certification of medical physicists in countries where such systems do not exist. Member States are encouraged to consider including accreditation and certification when setting up medical physics programmes to ensure that graduates of these programmes fulfil the internationally harmonised criteria for clinical qualified medical physicists. The IAEA support is delivered through its Technical Cooperation programme

Introduction to References

IAEA Human Health Series No. 25 presents IAEA recommendations on education and training of medical physicists, while IAEA TCS 56 gives a core syllabus for postgraduate medical physics education. IAEA TCS 37, 47 and 50 publications present clinical training guides and recommendations for the conduct of clinical training programmes. A report (downloadable from this page) arising from an IAEA/RCA Asia Pacific technical cooperation project on strengthening medical physics presents recommendations on accreditation and certification for medical physics.