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Meaning of Certification

Certification indicates that the recipient has completed certain requirements of study and professional experience, which the Board considers to constitute an adequate foundation in health physics, and has passed an examination designed to test competence in this field. Holders of ABHP certification may identify themselves as either Certified Health Physicists (CHP) or Diplomats of the American Board of Health Physics (DABHP). It should be recognized that the certificate awarded by the Board is not a license and, therefore, does not confer a legal qualification to practice health physics.

Professional Responsibilities of Certified Health Physicists

In achieving certification, the CHP recognizes and assumes the responsibilities due the profession of health physics. To uphold the professional integrity of health physics implied by certification, the relations of the CHP with other individuals and groups, including clients, colleagues, governmental agencies, and the general public, shall always be based upon and reflect the highest standards of professional ethics and integrity. Each CHP has a professional and ethical obligation to practice only in those areas in which he or she is competent. To maintain technical competence, the CHP has a commitment to remain professionally active in the field of health physics and knowledgeable of scientific, technical, and regulatory developments in the field.

General Requirements for Certification:

1. Academics - An applicant must possess at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university in physical science, engineering, mathematics, or in a biological science with a minor in physical science, engineering, or mathematics. In lieu of a minor in a physical science, engineering, or mathematics, a candidate for certification may submit evidence of credit from an accredited college or university for course work in physical sciences, engineering, or mathematics equivalent to 20 semester hours.

Applicants shall have satisfied and documented all requirements for degrees claimed by the time application is made for either part of the written examination.

Original transcripts must be submitted with the application.

2. Experience - An applicant must have at least six years of responsible professional experience in health physics as of July 1 of the year in which the examination is to be taken. At least three years of the experience must have been in applied health physics. The six years of professional experience, which must be documented by an applicant for Part II of the exam, must be experience that demonstrates that the candidate has been required to exercise judgment in one, or more, of the following:

   • establishment and/or evaluation of a radiation protection       program
   • design and/or the evaluation of the design of the radiation       protection aspects of a facility
   • design and implementation of a radiation protection training       course or program
   • development of an experimental and/or measurement program       designed to answer questions related to radiation protection
   • evaluation of measurement data
   • analysis and solution of radiation protection problems
   • preparation, interpretation and implementation of       recommendations and regulations

At the discretion of the Board, advanced degrees in health physics or a closely related area of study may be substituted for a maximum of two years of the required experience. A master's degree may be substituted for one year, while a doctoral degree may be substituted for two years of the required experience. Technician-level experience will in no case be acceptable as meeting the experience requirements.

Only military service in the commissioned officer and warrant officer grades will be accepted towards professional health physics experience.

An applicant may claim professional experience for an advanced degree and work experience for the same period. A maximum of one year of experience can be claimed for each calendar year. This provision is effective with the 1993 exam.

3. References - Reference statements are required from the applicant's supervisor and, if applying for Part II, from at least two other individuals who are professionally qualified to evaluate the applicant's ability in health physics. It is required that at least one reference be from a health physicist already certified by the ABHP.

4. Written Report - Each applicant for Part II of the examination shall submit with the Application for Certification a document written by the applicant that reflects a professional health physics effort. This "effort" may be a substantive facility evaluation, a protection guidance document, a major monitoring program, or some other complex or comprehensive effort. The criteria for ABHP acceptance of this report are that it (1) be on a topic for which the ABHP tests and certifies expertise, (2) contain elements of professional judgment or application of non-regulatory protection guidance, and (3) be written solely or principally by the candidate. The Board, after examination of the application materials, may request additional such reports. All reports will be treated as confidential material. All reports submitted in fulfillment of this requirement shall be reviewed by an ABHP member. Third-party review of written reports is not acceptable.

5. Examination - The written examination has two parts: Part I, which can be taken early in one's career, determines the competence of the applicant in fundamental aspects of health physics, and Part II determines his/her competence in applied health physics topics. Either part of the written examination must be taken within two years of notification of eligibility, or a new application must be submitted. After passing Part I, the applicant must pass Part II within a period of seven years, or retake both parts.

Anyone who meets the education and experience requirements and is practicing health physics in a competent and ethical manner is strongly urged to apply to the Board for admission to the written examination. Although satisfactory performance on the written examination is not the only requirement for certification, persons who are admitted to and who perform well on the examination usually receive certification by the Board.

Early Admission to Part I of the Written Examination

The purpose of early admission to Part I of the written examination is two fold: (1) to give recent graduates an opportunity to demonstrate competence in the fundamentals of health physics at the beginning of their careers, and (2) to encourage younger health physicists to proceed toward certification.

Applicants are admitted to Part I of the written examination if they (1) have fulfilled the academic requirements for the master's degree in health physics or a closely related field by January 15 of the year in which the exam is to be taken, (2) have received a bachelor's degree in health physics by January 15 of the year in which the exam is to be taken and have one year of applied professional experience, or (3) have another acceptable bachelor's degree and two years of professional experience at the time of examination.

Part I of the examination is constructed to test the knowledge of the fundamental aspects of health physics that is expected of any candidate who meets the qualifications for early admission to Part I. Questions in Part I address fundamental knowledge associated with applied health physics. Academic preparation alone may not be adequate to answer these questions. However, the presence of these questions should not prevent a well-prepared candidate with no practical experience from successfully completing Part I of the Certification examination.


Application for examination must be made on the prescribed forms, which are available from the the Executive Secretary's Office. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that they submit the current editions of applications, supervisor, and reference forms. Outdated forms will not be accepted.

To be eligible to sit for examination, candidates must submit an Application for Certification, original college transcripts, one Immediate Supervisor form, two Confidential Professional Reference forms (one must be from a Certified Health Physicist), and a Radiation Protection Report and cover sheet. Candidates applying for only Part I do not need to submit a written report and the two Confidential Professional Reference forms.

Complete applications must be filed with the Executive Secretary postmarked no later than 15 January of the year in which the exam is to be taken. Applications are valid for a two year period. Thereafter, a new application, along with reference and report forms, must be submitted. Signature stamps will not be accepted on application, reference, or report forms.

Certification fees are as follows:

Each application to take a written examination
(can include multiple exams on same date)
Examination Fee
(for each exam part to be taken; due upon approval of application)
$150 - Part I
$200 - Part II
Certification Fee
Annual Renewal Fee for CHPs

Fees are non-refundable and must be used within two years of submitting the fees.

NOTE: Re-examination fees following failure of the exam will be in accordance with the fee schedule in effect at the time re-application is made.

Final Action of the Board

The final action of the Board is based on its evaluation of the total professional record of the applicant, i.e., education and experience, the achievements attained in health physics and related fields, maturity of judgment, the ethical nature of his or her professional conduct as indicated by associates and peers, and the written examination. Any applicant denied certification may appeal the action of the Board by contacting the Executive Secretary within six months of notification of results.


Examinations are given once a year at the time of the Annual Meeting of the Health Physics Society. They are conducted at the location of the Society's meeting and may also be given at other selected locations if demand warrants. All approved candidates will be sent a site selection survey form in early April listing the tentative examination sites. Candidates should indicate their first and second choices of location, and will be assigned to their first choice unless that site does not have enough candidates to warrant the examination being given at that location. All candidates will be notified of their definite exam site approximately 45 days prior to the examination date, and will be given an admission slip to the examination room. No reference material may be brought into the room.

Re-Examinations and Postponements

A candidate who fails the first examination may be admitted to a second examination after paying the exam fee. If a candidate passes one part of the exam, the candidate must pass the other part within a period of seven years, or must re-apply and retake both parts. The candidate must notify the Board of his or her intention to re-take the examination and submit the proper fee no later than January15 of the year in which the examination is to be taken. If a candidate fails either part of the examination for the second time, a new application must be filed.

If a candidate elects not to take any part of the examination in any given year, but subsequently elects to take the examination in any following year, the candidate must notify the Board of his or her intention to take the examination no later than January 15 of the year in which the examination is to be taken. Notification must be accompanied by the appropriate fee and, if required, a new application.

Revocation of Certificate

Certificates may be revoked for actions considered by the Board to be in violation of the statement "Professional Responsibilities of Certified Health Physicists." Any person for whom such action is contemplated shall have the right of appearance before the Board.

Certification Renewal

A Certification Renewal Program is sponsored by the Board in an effort to ensure that CHPs are fulfilling their professional responsibilities and to encourage continued professional development. To remain on the list of active CHPs, diplomats must renew their certification every four years. The requirements for continued active certification are: (1) to be engaged substantially and currently in professional health physics practice; (2) to have earned during the preceding four-year period sufficient continuing education credits by participation in approved courses, meetings, and other activities; and (3) to have met such other requirements, including payment of fees or assessments, as may generally be imposed. The Continuing Education Committee of the AAHP reviews courses in advanced health physics and related subjects that are submitted to it by the course organizers, or by a CHP who attended the course, and determines the number of continuing education credits to be awarded to participants.

Changes in Requirements

Current requirements, procedures, and fees of the ABHP are described in this brochure. These are subject to change without notice; however, changes will be published before their effective date whenever practical. No changes will be retroactive.


The ABHP retains the services of an Executive Secretary who maintains the national ABHP office. The Executive Secretary performs administrative functions including normal correspondence, accounting, bookkeeping, financial reporting, record keeping, and application processing for examinations and Certification Renewals.

Current Officers, Board Members and Panel Members are listed in the Annual Health Physics Society Membership Handbook. Application materials, and additional information, including an examination preparation guide may be obtained at

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