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Applied Health Physics

Continuing education course for professionals in many disciplines to learn safe handling of radioactive materials


The use of radiation in industry, medicine, and education has created a need for persons trained in the principles of radiation safety and health physics. To meet this need, ORAU conducts a five-week training course—Applied Health Physics. The American Academy of Health Physics grants 40 Continuing Education Credits for completion of this course.

Training options

Course description

This intensive five-week training course consists of lectures and laboratory exercises. Participants spend approximately 40% of their time performing laboratory exercises using radiation detection and measurement equipment. Laboratory exercises complement the health physics principles learned in the lectures. Beginning with fundamental principles, each topic progresses to an advanced level. Instruction is fortified with weekly examinations and problem sessions. A final examination is given at the end of the course.

This course will satisfy most of the basic science training hours required for a license in medical uses of by-product material. For more information on licensing requirements, contact your state’s radiological control program or the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Who should attend

Any person needing training in health physics and radiation protection should attend this course. Attendees should have some training in mathematics, including algebra, and have experience using a calculator with scientific functions.


2024 cost: $9,995
2025 cost: $10,975

The tuition includes the full cost of training and instructional materials in electronic form (PDF). Attendees should bring a laptop or tablet that is wifi enabled in order to download the instructional materials on the first day of the course. A printed copy of the instructional materials may be purchased for an additional fee ($50) if preferred. The print option can be selected during registration. Attendees will also receive a free copy of the ORAU Professional Training Programs Electronic Library DVD. 


If you have additional questions about this course, please contact the Registrar.

Impact Areas

Registration Information


PTP has upgraded our instructional materials to an electronic format. Attendees should bring a laptop or tablet that is wifi enabled in order to download the instructional materials on the first day of the course. The lecture handouts that have traditionally been available in course notebooks will now be provided electronically. Textbooks and other resources may still be available in hardcopy for certain courses. If your preference is to work from printed materials please choose that option during registration and the notebook(s) will be provided for use on the first day of the course for an additional fee ($50). Lab handouts will still be provided for courses that include a laboratory component. If you have any questions, please contact the Registrar.

The decision deadline for running a course is 30 days prior to the course start date. If there are not enough registrants at that time, the course will be cancelled, so please REGISTER EARLY. If you are unable to register prior to the deadline, please contact the Registrar for assistance.

You have several options on registration and payment for an ORAU PTP course:

Please read the following carefully in its entirety. You must accept these terms and conditions in order to be successfully enrolled in the course. By accepting these terms and conditions, you are legally obligated to act in accordance with this agreement.

Restricted Materials Use Agreement

By registering for this course offered by ORAU's Professional Training Programs (PTP), I understand that I will be provided with PTP-developed course materials. In exchange for receiving these materials, I agree and understand that PTP’s course materials (both electronic or hardcopy) are provided for use by the registered participant only.

Duplication and/or distribution of the course materials, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of ORAU. The participant may retain and use the course materials for personal reference in perpetuity. Publications and other copyrighted materials provided during the course may be subject to additional restrictions as noted within these documents.

Payment Policy

Payment must be received 30 days prior to the start of the course. If you do not pay your balance in full by the payment deadline, you risk being dropped from the course. If you register after the payment deadline, you must pay in full immediately. Registration is not guaranteed until payment is received.


One month prior to the course starting date, if that much advance time is available, you will receive written confirmation of your registration, as well as a draft schedule, directions to our training facility, local lodging, and transportation options. You are responsible for your own lodging and transportation arrangements.

Non-citizens (U.S.)

This training takes place in a U.S. Department of Energy facility; therefore, certain security requirements must be met. Foreign nationals must be cleared before attending, a process that may take several months. If you are a foreign national, contact the PTP Registrar at for additional information.


Sessions that contain webinars will be recorded by ORAU.

ORAU Event Attendee Code of Conduct

This ORAU Event Attendee Code of Conduct (“Code of Conduct”) applies at all ORAU live and virtual meetings, conferences, forums, and meeting-related events, including those sponsored by ORAU or in conjunction with other organizations.

Please read the following Code of Conduct linked below in its entirety.

This Code of Conduct may be revised at any time by ORAU and the terms are non-negotiable.

Your registration for or attendance at any ORAU Event, whether it is held in-person or virtually, indicates your agreement to abide by this Code of Conduct.

ORAU Event Attendee Code of Conduct

Ordering Terms and Conditions

The terms and conditions agreed to herein comprise the entirety of the agreement between the customer and ORAU absent any other ORAU commercial contract.

You may cancel your registration 30 days prior to the course start date with no penalty. Individuals who cancel within 30 days of the course start date will be assessed a 10% cancellation fee based on the cost of the course. Individuals who do not notify ORAU of cancellation and do not attend the course will be assessed a 20% cancellation fee.

Cancellations must be communicated directly to the ORAU Professional Training Programs Registrar and a confirmation will be provided. Cancellation fees will be invoiced to participants after the completion of the course. If a course was paid in full at the time of registration, reimbursement (minus any applicable cancellation fee) will be processed after course completion.

ORAU’s Professional Training Programs reserves the right to cancel or reschedule a course due to insufficient participants, or for other reasons beyond our control. If a course is canceled, you will be notified by phone or email one month prior to the start date of the course. No cancellation fee will be assessed for courses canceled by ORAU. If ORAU cancels the course, any payments received prior to the cancellation of the course will be refunded in full.

ORAU does not recommend that participants make non-refundable travel arrangements prior to the one month cancellation window. ORAU is not liable for such costs if the course is canceled.

Time Action Cancellation Fee
≥ 30 days before start date of the course ORAU cancels course or participant cancels registration None
< 30 days before start date of the course Participant cancels registration 10% of course cost
Week of course Participant does not attend and/or provide notification before start date of the course 20% of course cost

  1. From the airport, take US 129 N (Alcoa Highway) toward Knoxville for approximately 2.3 miles.
  2. Use the right lane to merge onto I-140 W via the ramp to Oak Ridge.
  3. Continue on I-140 W for approximately 11.4 miles. As you cross I-40/I-75, I-140 ends and becomes TN-162. Continue on TN-162 (Pellissippi Parkway).
  4. In 5.9 miles, TN-162 N will merge with TN-62 W. You will travel through the small Solway community that primarily consists of gas stations and small stores. Continue over the Clinch River/Solway Bridge, and past a local cemetery that will be on the right.
  5. Stay in one of the left two lanes and continue another 6.3 miles to Oak Ridge.

Directions to the training center:

  1. After you have crossed over the Clinch River/Solway Bridge and cemetery is on your right, you will see a sign that says “Bethel Valley Road ORNL Y-12 Complex, CLOSED TO THROUGH TRAFFIC.” Exit to the right onto Bethel Valley Road.
  2. In approximately 0.8 miles, the training center will be on the left at the intersection of Bethel Valley Road and Pumphouse Road (to the left) and Scarboro Road (to the right). Turn left onto Pumphouse Road. There will be two entrances immediately on the left into the parking lot.
  3. To enter the facility, walk around to the front of the building. The training center entrance faces Bethel Valley Road closest to the intersection.

Google Earth coordinates of training facility: 35.983667 -84.222

Hotel Address Phone Distance
Candlewood Suites* 10206 Parkside Drive, Knoxville 1(865) 777-0400
1(877) 226-3539
10 miles
Comfort Inn 433 S. Rutgers Ave., Oak Ridge 1(865) 481-8200
1(800) 228-5150
2.5 miles
Courtyard by Marriott 216 Langley Place, Knoxville 1(865) 539-0600 9 miles
Days Inn 206 S. Illinois Ave., Oak Ridge 1(865) 483-5615
1(800) 329-7466
3 miles
Doubletree 215 S. Illinois Ave., Oak Ridge 1(865) 481-2468
1(800) 222-TREE
3 miles
Hampton Inn 208 S. Illinois Ave., Oak Ridge 1(865) 482-7889
1(800) HAMPTON
3 miles
Holiday Inn Express* 114 Tulsa Road, Oak Ridge 1(888) 465-4329 3.5 miles
Homewood Suites by Hilton 10935 Turkey Drive, Knoxville 1(865) 777-0375 10 miles
Quality Inn 216 S. Rutgers Ave., Oak Ridge 1(865) 483-6809 3 miles
Residence Inn by Marriott* 215 Langley Place, Knoxville 1(865) 539-5339 9 miles
SpringHill Suites by Marriott 10955 Turkey Drive, Knoxville 1(865) 966-8888 10 miles
Staybridge Suites (Extended Stay)* 420 S. Illinois Ave., Oak Ridge 1(865) 298-0050
1(800) 238-8000
2.5 miles
TownePlace Suites by Marriott* 205 Langley Place, Knoxville 1(865) 693-5216 9 miles
Westgate Apartments 101-O Gates Drive 1(865) 481-0603 8 miles

*Ask for the ORAU special rate.

Airline Phone Number
Allegiant Air 1(702) 505-8888
American Airlines 1(800) 433-7300
Delta Airlines 1(702) 505-8888
Frontier Airlines 1(801) 401-9000
United Airlines 1(800) 864-8331
McGhee Tyson Airport 1(865) 342-3000
Rental Car Agency Phone Number Reservations
Alamo 1(865) 342-3210 1(800) 327-9633
AVIS 1(865) 342-3220 1(800) 331-1212
Budget Car Rental 1(865) 342-3220 1(800) 527-0700
Dollar Car Rental 1(865) 342-3250 1(800) 366-2277
Enterprise Rent-a-Car 1(865) 342-1650 1(800) Rent-A-Car
Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Oak Ridge 1(865) 483-8494 1(800) 325-8007
Hertz 1(865) 342-3232 1(800) 654-3131
National Car Rental 1(865) 342-3240 1(800) 227-7368

Tentative Course Schedule




8:00 AM Welcome, Registration, Orientation and Photo 
9:00 AM Introduction to Radioactivity and Radiation
2:30 PM Laboratory and Radiation Safety
3:30 PM Problem Session 1: Calculator Problems


8:00 AM Gamma Rays, Conversion Electrons, X-Rays, and Auger Electrons
10:00 AM Decay Rates
12:30 PM Interactions of Charged Particle with Matter
2:00 PM Counting Statistics
3:15 PM Demo: Cloud Chamber
3:30 PM Lab: Counting Statistics


8:00 AM Interactions of Photons with Matter
9:00 AM Gas-Filled Radiation Detectors
10:30 AM Geiger-Mueller Detectors
1:00 PM Lab: GM Counting I 


8:00 AM Ionization Chambers
9:15 AM Proportional Counters
10:45 AM Solid Scintillator Detectors
1:00 PM Review Problem Session 2
2:00 PM Lab: GM Counting II 


8:00 AM Dosimetric Quantities and Units
9:30 AM Measurement Geometry: Point, Line, Plane
1:00 PM Lab: Proportional Counting
3:30 PM Exam I




8:00 AM Survey Instruments
10:30 AM Calibration of Survey Meters
1:00 PM Lab: Survey Instruments I
2:45 PM Lab: Survey Instruments II


8:00 AM Exam Review
9:00 AM Radiation Surveys
10:30 AM External Dosimetry Part 1
1:00 PM Lab: Alpha and Beta Instrument Calibration
2:45 PM Lab: Gamma Instrument Calibration


8:00 AM Critical Levels, Detection Limits, and MDAs
9:30 AM Gamma Spectroscopy Overview
10:30 AM Gamma Spectrum Features
1:00 PM Lab: Gamma-Ray Spectroscopy I
2:45 PM Lab: Low Energy Spectral Features


8:00 AM Semiconductor Detectors
10:30 AM Lab: Electronic Calibration
1:00 PM Lab: Floor Monitoring
2:30 PM Lab: High Resolution Gamma-Ray Spectroscopy
2:30 PM Review Problem Session 3
3:30 PM Lab: Walkover Survey


8:00 AM Lab: High Resolution Gamma-Ray Spectrometry
10:00 AM Demo: Well Detector Spectral Features
10:30 AM Radiation Instrument Quality Control
1:00 PM Lab: Instrument Quality Assurance
3:30 PM Exam II




8:00 AM Sealed Sources
9:30 AM X-Ray Production
11:00 AM Accelerators
1:00 PM Shielding Radiation
3:00 PM Lab: Practical Shielding Demonstration
3:45 PM Lab: Leak Testing, Package Receipt


8:00 AM Exam Review
9:00 AM Natural Background and Man-made Radioactivity
10:30 AM Industrial Uses of Radiation
1:00 PM Lab: Alpha Spectroscopy
2:45 PM Lab: Half-Life of Long-Lived Radionuclide


8:00 AM Transportation of Radioactive Materials
10:00 AM Liquid Scintillation Counting
11:30 AM Lab: Radon Charcoal Canisters and Electrets - start
1:00 PM Lab: Techniques and Sample Preparation
3:00 PM Lab: Radiation Shielding


8:00 AM X-Ray Fluorescence
8:45 AM Lab: X-Ray Fluorescence
9:30 AM Radiation Safety Regulations and Standards
10:30 AM Review Problem Session 4
12:30 PM Lab: Contamination Surveys
2:30 PM Lab: Hand-Held Identifiers


8:00 AM Biological Effects of Radiation
9:45 AM Radiation Dose and Risk
1:00 PM Preparing for Radiation Emergencies/Radiation Accidents
2:30 PM Tour: REAC/TS
No Exam this Week




8:00 AM Thermoluminescent, Film, and OSL Dosimetry
10:00 AM External Dosimetry Part 2
1:00 PM Lab: TLD Systems
2:30 PM Lab: Dosimetry Report Interpretation


8:00 AM Air Sampling Introduction
9:30 AM Air Sampling Equations
11:00 AM Problem Session 5: Air Sampling
1:00 PM Lab: Air Sampling
3:00 PM Radionuclide Equilibrium


8:00 AM Fume Hood and Design Testing
9:30 AM Stack Sampling
12:30 PM Atmospheric Dispersion
2:30 PM Lab: Ventilation System Testing


8:00 AM Introduction to Nuclear Power and Reactor Health Physics
10:00 AM Radon and its Decay Products
12:30 PM Respiratory Protection
2:30 PM Lab: Radon Charcoal Canisters and Electrets - finish


8:00 AM Introduction to Internal Dosimetry
11:00 AM Bioassay Data Interpretation
1:00 PM Problem Session 6: Internal Dosimetry
2:30 PM Exam III




8:00 AM Neutron Sources
9:30 AM Interactions of Neutrons with Matter
10:30 AM Neutron Detectors
1:00 PM Lab: He-3 Detectors
2:45 PM Lab: Air Sampling (Radon Daughters)


8:00 AM Neutron Activation
9:00 AM Lab: Neutron Survey Meter Calibration
9:45 AM Lab: Bonner Spheres
10:30 AM Lab: Neutron Activation Analysis
1:00 PM Lab: Neutron Fluence Rate Measurements
2:30 PM Review of Course Exams/Lab Exercises


8:00 AM Radioactive Waste Management
9:30 AM Radionuclide Pathways
10:30 AM Medical Uses of Radiation
1:00 PM Decommissioning
2:00 PM Lab: Comprehensive Lab Practical


8:00 AM Environmental Monitoring Programs
10:00 AM Environmental Sample Collection
1:00 PM Sample Process
2:30 PM Course Review


8:00 AM Comprehensive Final Exam
10:00 AM Course Critique
10:30 AM Commencement


What our students are saying

“Overall, I thought this class was excellent. As a student new to the field, I felt it covered most of what I would be doing at work. It is a good introductory class, very thorough, and sparked my interest even more in the field of health physics.”

“Overall a well designed course, taught by personnel that are not only knowledgeable in the topics, but have obviously refined their teaching skills. I have been in nuclear engineering and/or health physics for over 30 years and have received some very good training at times and this course was one of the best I have been involved in, I would recommend it to anyone in the field.”

Applied Health Physics Course instructor and students

Contact us

For more information about ORAU's Professional Training Programs, contact:

ORAU Professional Training Programs 
P.O. Box 117, MS-11
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-0117
Phone: (865) 576-3576
Fax: (865) 241-9152

ORAU Professional Training Programs flyer

View the PTP course flyer (.PDF, 1.28 MB)