There are several reasons why Charles Wilson, an interim program director and assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, wanted to become a Certified Health Physicist (CHP) and join the American Academy of Health Physicists (AAHP).
“Better salary, more recognition, confidence and networking opportunities, better job opportunities—they all applied,” he says. But they were not his No. 1 reason.
“I wanted to be like my mentor, Dr. Wei-Hsung Wang,” Wilson says. Wang is the Radiation Safety Officer at Louisiana State University (LSU). He has won numerous awards, including the AAHP’s 2022 William A. McAdams Outstanding Service honor.
“He was the first person who introduced me to the field of health physics, and he was a CHP. I wanted to be like him,” Wilson said.
In the fast-paced and continuously evolving world of health physics, becoming a CHP and joining AAHP isn’t just an option—it’s almost necessary. “AAHP is the premier organization for us,” Wilson says. “It’s globally known for its commitment to excellence and ethical conduct in health physics. Being a member of AAHP goes together with becoming a CHP.”
Wilson offers several reasons why becoming a CHP and being a member of AAHP just can’t be beaten.
Advantage #1: More Career Opportunities
Being a CHP and a member of the AAHP delivers a level of prestige—and an array of job opportunities—that being a non-member cannot match.
AAHP is the leading professional body in health physics. Membership underscores your dedication to maintaining the highest standards of professionalism in radiation and ethical conduct in your work. “It demonstrates the value you can and will deliver,” Wilson says.
Certification and membership also open more career doors.
“It’s almost an instant pass on a lot of job and regulatory requirements,” Wilson says. “I’ve seen state and federal agencies list some odd requirements—you must have experience in this, you need a certain number of hours in a classroom doing that. But if you contact them and say you’re a CHP and a member of AAHP, these requirements often go away. They’re like, ‘Oh, you’re qualified.’”
Advantage #2: More Networking Opportunities
Joining AAHP not only presents an opportunity to connect with some of the brightest minds in the field but also offers the chance to establish and strengthen professional relationships that could carry you to new career heights.
AAHP provides several networking platforms. Examples include regular conferences, seminars and forums. Each enables the one-on-one exchange of ideas and exclusive insights, fostering a vibrant community of like-minded professionals.
“AAHP allows you to connect with health physicists from different sectors—academia, industry, research and government,” Wilson says. “These connections can lead to potential collaborations and more career advancement.”
Besides, he adds, “they’re just good people to be around.”
“It’s nice knowing I can nerd out on the same kind of concepts with other people who think like me and have similar experiences,” Wilson says. “There are not a lot of health physicists in each individual state, but over the entire country, there are quite a few of us, and it’s nice to know them personally.”
Advantage #3: More CEUs and Professional Development
AAHP is committed to the ongoing professional development of its members, Wilson said. Workshops, seminars and webinars are regularly organized, presenting members with the opportunity to acquire new skills, stay current with industry trends and developments and further enhance their professional competencies.
AAHP also supports its members through certification programs and continuing education units (CEUs), which are designed to maintain and improve the professional standards of health physics and increase your marketability in the profession.
“I hear AAHP’s continuing education credits are terrific,” Wilson says. While he hasn’t used them yet, he will when his certification is up for renewal. “I’ll need continuing education credits, and AAHP is the perfect way to get them.”
Advantage #4: Expended Impact and Influence
AAHP acts as an essential link within the global and national health physics community. By joining, members gain access to a network where they can engage with key discussions surrounding industry standards, regulatory policies and safety guidelines. AAHP gives members an opportunity to deepen their understanding of pivotal policies and to form connections with organizations that are active in advocacy and policy influence.
“The people I have worked with since joining AAHP have been very excited to welcome new members eager to soak in the knowledge that long-term members are looking to pass along to keep the field alive, safe and up to date with emerging technologies and trends,” Wilson says.
Advantage #5: More Confidence
Wilson used to experience something resembling “impostor syndrome,” described as the internal belief that one’s achievements are not deserved and that they will be exposed as “fraud” despite evidence of competence.
“Am I qualified to do all the tough calculations I was doing?” he would ask himself.
After he earned his CHP and became a member of AAHP, the self-doubt disappeared. “Yes, I can do these calculations. Yes, I am qualified,” Wilson recalls. “I finally had the confidence I needed.”
It’s something he imagines many health physicists experience.
“Being a CHP, joining AAHP—being part of such a prestigious profession and organization reinforces your position as a competent and informed professional,” Wilson says. “Together, they give you the inner self-assurance you need when navigating complex health physics challenges throughout your career.”
Are you interested in transforming your career, industry reputation and potential earnings by becoming a CHP and a member of AAHP? Email us or contact us to get started fast.