The Canadian College of Physicists in Medicine (CCPM) was established in 1979 to recognize proven competence in physics as applied to medicine. Candidates with suitable educational background and experience become members of the college by passing written and oral examinations. CCPM certification is becoming widely accepted in Canada and other countries and is often required at senior levels in medical physics.
Individuals seeking certification from CCPM must meet certain requirements. Applicants for Membership must hold a suitable graduate degree, and must meet a minimum requirement for patient-related work experience. Details of the requirements for Membership can be found on the CCPM webpage.
Q: What is a CAMPEP accredited program?
A: It is an educational program that has been reviewed and accredited by CAMPEP, the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Educational Programs, a nonprofit organization whose objectives is to ensure a program or institution has met a defined standard in quality education.
For more information visit: http://www.campep.org/
Q: What is certification ?
A: Medical physics is not yet a regulated profession in any province; therefore certification is not legally required in order to practice medical physics. However, most employers of medical physicists in Canada require certification as a condition of employment or career progression. In the future, certification may become a legal requirement. In Canada, certification is offered by the Canadian College of Physicists in Medicine (CCPM), in the following subspecialties: Radiation Oncology Physics; Diagnostic Radiological Physics; Nuclear Medicine Physics; and Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Certification can also be obtained through the American Board of Radiology (ABR). These organizations identify through certification individuals who have acquired, demonstrated, and maintained a requisite standard of knowledge, skill and understanding essential to the clinical practice of medical physics.
Q: Does CCPM require prospective members to have come from CAMPEP accredited programs?
A: CCPM requires that as of 1 January 2016, all applicants for certification in the Radiation Oncology Physics subspecialty must have graduated from either a graduate program or a residency program which is accredited by CAMPEP. This would mean that students entering a M.Sc. degree program in 2011 should be looking at programs which are already accredited, or in the process of being accredited. Students already in programs should check to see if they can write the exam before 2016. If they can, there is no problem. If they can’t, then they should choose residencies that are accredited. As of early 2010, there are 7 CAMPEP accredited graduate programs in Canada, and 7 CAMPEP accredited residency programs, with more programs under assessment.
For the other subspecialties (Nuclear Medicine Physics, Diagnostic Radiology Physics, and Magnetic Resonance Physics) there are currently no specific plans for requiring CAMPEP-accredited training programs for CCPM certification.
Q: New regulation regarding the certification exam: what is going to change exactly? And what does this involve for students now?
A: There are two points that are important to students regarding the new criteria for Radiation Oncology Physics certification as of 2011:
1) that new students should strive to get their degree from an accredited program OR
2) that new students should consider CAMPEP accredited residency program before other programs. Otherwise the regular criteria as listed on the CCPM website applies.