Physicist or Medical Physicist

Physicist or Medical Physicist

Physics researchers study fundamental questions about matter and energy, from the nature of sub-atomic particles to the origin of the universe.

Medical physicists use their knowledge of physics to provide people with medical treatments, such as radiation therapy for cancer. 

Job opportunities vary:

  • There is likely to be a shortage of medical physicists as few people train in this area, and the number of cancer patients is likely to increase as New Zealand's population ages.
  • There are relatively good job opportunities for people working in applied physics research as this is a priority area for government funding.
  • Job opportunities for physicists working in basic research are limited to a small number of roles, almost all in universities.
  • Many Physics graduates move into other areas where they can use their skills, including telecommunications, IT and electronics

Pay rates depend on qualifications, experience, and the industry:

  • $35-50,000 for research technicians with a Bachelor's degree
  • $50-95,000 for researchers with a Master's degree or PhD
  • Team leaders can earn up to $100,000
  • Medical physicists start on $55,000; and can earn up to $100,000 when fully qualified

Key tertiary qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Science in Physics, Astronomy or Mathematics
  • A Master's degree or PhD may be required for research positions
  • Bachelor of Technology in Medical Physics & Imaging Technologies
  • Master of Science in Medical Physics

Recommended school subjects:

  • Physics
  • Calculus
  • Chemistry
  • Digital Technologies and Electronics
  • English


Careers New Zealand: Medical Physicist
Careers New Zealand: Radiation Therapist


Other job roles you may be interested in:


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Physicist or Medical Physicist: People who work in this role

  • Rebecca Day

    Senior Medical Physicist, Rebecca Day at work

    Emile Webster

    Research Scientist, Emile Webster at work

    Ihab Ramadaan

    Medical Physics Registrar, Ihab Ramadaan at work

    Dmitri Schebarchov

    Research Scientist, Dmitri Schebarchov at work
  • Jonathan Stanger

    Research Student, Jonathan Stanger at work

    Ekta Jhala

    Medical Physicist, Ekta Jhala at work

    Geoff Willmott

    Physicist, Geoff Willmott  at work

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