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How to become a clinical technologist in medical physics

You must complete the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) Clinical Technologist Training Scheme to become a clinical technologist in medical physics.

What is a clinical technologist in medical physics?

Clinical technologists in medical physics work in one of three specialist areas:

  • Nuclear medicine – using gamma cameras to take images of the inside of the body for diagnosis and radiopharmaceuticals to treat patients.
  • Radiation physics – monitoring patients, staff, and the environment for hazards arising from the medical use of ionising and non-ionising radiation.
  • Radiotherapy physics – treatment planning, dose measurement, and quality control of systems used in radiotherapy treatment.

Starting your career as a clinical technologist in medical physics

Choosing subjects at school

School subjects that could lead to a career as a clinical technologist in medical physics include:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Physics
  • Science
  • Design and Technology
  • Computing Science
  • Biology

Speak to your guidance teacher or careers adviser about subjects offered at your school.

Workplacements and volunteering

You may find it helpful to get some healthcare experience by doing a work placement or volunteering. You’ll get training, increase your knowledge, and learn new skills. This could help you when applying to college, university, or a new job with NHSScotland. 

Education and training pathway

You must complete the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) Clinical Technologist Training Scheme to become a clinical technologist in medical physics. 

You’ll need a qualification at SCQF level 7 or above to apply. For example: 

  • HNC Applied Sciences at SCQF level 7.
  • HND Mechanical Engineering at SCQF level 8.
  • BSc (Hons) Physics at SCQF level 10.
  • BSc (Hons) Radiography at SCQF level 10.

You’ll find more information about SCQF levels on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) website. You can also search for college courses and university degree programmes on My World of Work.

Widening access

Widening participation supports adult learners who want to go to university. If you’re an adult with few or no qualifications, you could get into higher education through the Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP). Many universities also provide access programmes to help you get the degree entry qualifications you need.

IPEM Clinical Technologist Training Scheme

The IPEM Clinical Technologist Training Scheme at SCQF level 9 is delivered in the workplace. During the 2-year programme, your practical skills will be assessed. You’ll also complete a portfolio of work to achieve the IPEM diploma.

Once qualified, you can join the Register of Clinical Technologists.

Training opportunities are advertised on our recruitment website.

Other training programmes

Some health boards in Scotland offer opportunities to learn while you earn through apprenticeship-style programmes. You can also apply for these training programmes on our recruitment website.

Get to know the role

As a clinical technologist in medical physics, you're role will be focussed on safe patient care and technical compliance.

The day-to-day tasks you'll do will depend on the specialist area you're working in.

Nuclear medicine

In nuclear medicine, you’ll:

  • Produce images of the inside of the body using gamma cameras to help diagnose disease.
  • Process patient images and calculate quantitative results.
  • Keep accurate records of safety checks, repairs, and tests of equipment and medical devices.
  • Safely dispose of waste material.

Radiation physics

In radiation physics, you’ll:

  • Monitor safe working practices within the hospital environment.
  • Provide training on the safe use of specialist equipment and medical devices.
  • Monitor equipment to make sure safety standards and regulations are met. 

Radiotherapy physics

In radiotherapy physics, you’ll:

  • Prepare and administer radiation doses for cancer treatment.
  • Work with other healthcare professionals to produce patient treatment plans.
  • Contribute to clinical trials for new products, making sure they are suitable for use.

Top skills for medical physics clinical technologists include:

  • caring
  • collaboratingion
  • communicating
  • initiative
  • leading
  • problem-solving

You'll also be expected to have the scientific and technical skills necessary for the role.

You could work with:

  • radiographers
  • radiologists
  • clinical scientists
  • clinical engineers
  • doctors
  • nurses

You could work in:

  • hospital wards and clinics
  • treatment and scanning departments

Learning and development


The Register of Clinical Technologists (RCT) sets the criteria for training and conduct and maintains high standards of practice for clinical technologists. You can register with the RCT once qualified.

As a clinical technologist in medical physics, you must keep your knowledge and skills up to date with continuing professional development (CPD). Your CPD should be varied and balanced. It can include:

  • applying for research grants
  • researching new devices
  • post-qualification training courses
  • receiving training on new equipment

The RCT audits the CPD activities of its members each year. If selected, you'll submit a record of your learning and development to be reviewed by the RCT's CPD Audit Panel.

Career progression

With experience, you could become a training supervisor for the next generation of clinical technologists. There are also opportunities for you to move into academic research with an MSc or PhD in a relevant subject.

Professional bodies

When you become a qualified clinical technologist in medical physics, you can join the following professional bodies:

  • Register of Clinical Technologists (RCT)
  • Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM)

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