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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 dates

It may be possible to split your attendance between two sessions (e.g., three weeks in the Spring, two weeks in the Fall). Contact the Registrar for more information.

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.


$9,995 - The tuition includes the full cost of training, books, and instructional materials. Attendees will also receive a free copy of the ORAU Professional Training Programs Electronic Library DVD.

Registration Information


  • 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:

    • Register and pay online (see course listings for registration links) with a credit card (VISA, MasterCard, AMEX or Discover)
    • Download the registration form to fill out and submit to the Registrar. Payment arrangements will follow.
    • Contact the Registrar by email or phone for complete assistance in registration and payment.

    Be sure to read the following information prior to registering.

    Non-citizens (U.S.)

    Since this training takes place in a Department of Energy facility, certain security requirements must be met. Foreign nationals must be cleared before attending, a process that may take several weeks. If you are a foreign national, contact the Registrar for additional information.


    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 additional information regarding time, local lodging, and local transportation. You are responsible for your own lodging arrangements.

  • 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. You will cross interstate I-40/I-75. As you cross the interstate continue onto TN-162 N (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 are next to the cemetery, you will see a sign that says “Bethel Valley Road ORNL Y12 Complex, CLOSED TO THROUGH TRAFFIC.” Our facility is located prior to the closure. Take the exit 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 865.777.0400
    10 miles
    Comfort Inn 433 S. Rutgers Ave., Oak Ridge 865.481.8200
    2.5 miles
    Courtyard by Marriott 216 Langley Place, Knoxville 865.539.0600 9 miles
    Days Inn 206 S. Illinois Ave., Oak Ridge 865.483.5615
    3 miles
    Doubletree 215 S. Illinois Ave., Oak Ridge 865.481.2468
    3 miles
    Hampton Inn 208 S. Illinois Ave., Oak Ridge 865.482.7889
    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 865.777.0375 10 miles
    Quality Inn 216 S. Rutgers Ave., Oak Ridge 865.483.6809 3 miles
    Residence Inn by Marriott* 215 Langley Place, Knoxville 865.539.5339 9 miles
    SpringHill Suites by Marriott 10955 Turkey Drive, Knoxville 865.966.8888 10 miles
    Staybridge Suites (Extended Stay)* 420 S. Illinois Ave., Oak Ridge 865.298.0050
    2.5 miles
    TownePlace Suites by Marriott* 205 Langley Place, Knoxville 865.693.5216 9 miles
    Westgate Apartments 101-O Gates Drive 865.481.0603 8 miles

    *Ask for the ORAU special rate.

    Airline Phone Number
    Allegiant Air 702.505.8888
    American Airlines 1.800.433.7300
    Delta Airlines 702.505.8888
    Frontier Airlines 801.401.9000
    United Airlines 1.800.864.8331
    McGhee Tyson Airport 865.342.3000
    Rental Car Agency Phone Number Reservations
    Alamo 865.342.3210 1.800.327.9633
    AVIS 865.342.3220 1.800.331.1212
    Budget Car Rental 865.342.3220 1.800.527.0700
    Dollar Car Rental 865.342.3250 1.800.366.2277
    Enterprise Rent-a-Car 865.342.1650 1.800.Rent.A.Car
    Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Oak Ridge 865.483.8494 1.800.325.8007
    Hertz 865.342.3232 1.800.654.3131
    National Car Rental 865.342.3240 1.800.227.7368

Tentative Course Schedule


    • Monday


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


      8:00 AM Decay Rates
      9:30 AM Interactions of Charged Particle with Matter
      11:00 AM Gamma Rays, Conversion Electrons, X-Rays, and Auger Electrons
      2:00 PM Counting Statistics
      3:15 PM Demonstration: Cloud Chamber
      Lab: Counting Statistics


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


      8:00 AM Proportional Counters
      9:00 AM Dosimetric Quantities and Units: Exposure
      10:00 AM Dosimetric Quantities and Units: Absorbed Dose and Kerma Equivalent
      11:00 AM Dosimetric Quantities and Units: Effective Dose Equivalent
      1:00 PM Problem Session 2 
      2:00 PM Lab: A) Proportional Counting 
      Lab: B) G-M Counting II 


      8:00 AM Ionization Chambers
      9:00 AM Solid Scintillator Detectors
      10:30 AM Survey Meters Introduction
      11:00 AM Point, Line, Plane and Volume Sources
      1:00 PM Lab: A) G-M Counting II
      Lab: B) Proportional Counting 
      3:30 PM Exam I


    • Monday


      8:00 AM Survey Meters for Surface Contamination
      9:00 AM Survey Meters for Measuring Exposure Rates
      10:30 PM Calibration of Survey Meters I
      1:00 PM Lab: A) Alpha and Beta Instrument Calibration
      Lab: B) Gamma Instrument Calibration
      2:45 PM Lab: A) Gamma Instrument Calibration
      Lab: B) Alpha and Beta Instrument Calibration


      8:00 AM Exam Review
      9:00 AM Calibration of Survey Meters (Part II)
      10:30 AM Natural Background and Man-made Radioactivity
      1:00 PM Lab: A) Survey Instruments I
      Lab: A) Survey Instruments II
      2:45 PM Lab: B) Survey Instruments II
      Lab: B) Survey Instruments I


      8:00 AM Radionuclide Equilibrium
      9:30 AM Gamma Spectroscopy Overview
      11:00 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: High Resolution Gamma-Ray Spectroscopy
      1:00 PM Critical Levels, Detection Limits, Minimum Detectble Activities
      2:30 PM Problem Session 3
      3:30 PM Lab: Walkover Survey


      8:00 AM Lab: High Resolution Gamma-Ray Spectrometry
      10:00 AM Lab: High Energy Spectral Features
      11:30 AM Demo: Well Detector Spectral Features
      1:30 PM Computerized Gamma Spectroscopy
      3:30 PM Exam II


      • Monday


        8:00 AM Radiation Protection Regulations and Standards
        9:30 AM Industrial Uses OF Radiation
        10:30 AM Shielding Radiation
        1:00 PM Transportation Regulations
        3:00 PM Lab: Radiation Shielding


        8:00 AM Sealed Source Design, Testing and Leak Testing
        9:00 AM Exam Review
        10:30 AM X-ray Fluorescence
        11:00 AM Lab: X-ray Fluorescence
        1:00 PM Lab: A) Alpha Spectroscopy
        Lab: B) Protective Clothing/Hand-held Gamma Spec Detectors
        2:45 PM Lab: A) Protective Clothing/Hand-held Gamma Spec. Detectors
        Lab: B) Alpha Spectroscopy


        8:00 AM X-Ray Production
        9:30 AM Lab: A) Techniques and Sample Preparation
        Lab: B) Half-Life of Long-lived Nuclide
        12:30 AM Lab: A) Half-Life of Long-lived Nuclide
        Lab: B) Techniques and Sample Preparation
        2:30 PM Problem Session 4
        3:30 PM Lab: RESRAD and MicroShield Demo


        8:00 AM Accelerators
        9:30 AM Radiation Surveys
        10:30 AM Liquid Scintillation Counting
        1:00 PM Lab: A) Contamination Survey
        Lab: B) Leak Testing
        2:30 PM Lab: A) Leak Testing
        Lab: B) Contamination Survey
        4:00 PM Lab: Liquid Scintillation Counting


        8:00 AM Effects of Radiation at the Cellular Level
        9:30 AM Acute (Early) Effects of Radiation
        11:00 AM Delayed (Late) Effects of Radiation
        1:00 PM Lab Prep: Radon Canisters and Electrets
        1:30 PM Preparing for Radiation Emergencies/Radiation Accidents
        2:30 PM Tour: REAC/TS
        No Exam this Week


      • Monday


        8:00 AM Radon and its Decay Products
        10:00 AM Thermoluminescent, Film, and OSL Dosimetry
        1:00 PM Radon II
        2:30 PM Lab: A) TLD Systems
        Lab: B) Electronic Calibration
        3:45 PM Lab: B) Floor Monitoring


        8:00 AM AirSampling Introduction
        9:30 AM Air Sampling Equations
        11:00 AM Problem Session 5
        1:00 PM Air Sampler Calibration
        2:30 PM Lab: A) Electronic Calibration
        Lab: B) TLD and OSL Dosimetry
        3:00 PM Lab: A) Film Dosimetry


        8:00 AM Stack Sampling
        9:30 AM Atmospheric Dispersion 
        1:00 PM Fume Hood and Design Testing
        2:30 PM Lab: A) Ventilation System Testing
        Lab: B) Air Sampler Calibration


        8:00 AM Introduction to Nuclear Power and Reactor Health Physics
        10:00 AM External Dosimetry
        12:30 PM Lab: A) Air Sampler Calibration
        Lab: B) Ventilation System Testing
        2:30 PM Lab: Radon Charcoal Canisters and Electrets


        8:00 AM Internal Dosimetry
        11:00 AM Bioassay
        2:00 PM Problem Session 6
        2:00 PM Respiratory Protection
        3:30 PM Exam III


      • Monday


        8:00 AM Neutron Sources
        9:00 AM Neutron Interactions
        10:30 AM Neutron Detection
        1:00 PM Lab: A) BF3 Detectors
        Lab: B) Air Sampling (Radon Daughters)
        2:45 PM Lab: A) Air Sampling (Radon Daughters)
        Lab: B) BF3 Detectors 


        8:00 AM Neutron Activation and Activation Analysis
        9:00 AM Lab: A) Neutron Activation Analysis
        Lab: B) Neutron Survey Meter Calibration
        10:45 AM Lab: A) Neutron Survey Meter Calibration
        Lab: B) Neutron Activation Analysis
        1:00 PM Lab: Neutron Fluence Rate Measurements
        2:30 PM Review of Course Quizzes and Lab Exercises (Optional)


        8:00 AM Radioactive Waste Management
        9:30 AM Medical Uses of Radiation
        11:00 AM Sample Process
        1:00 PM Radiological Survey Types in Support of Decommissioning
        2:00 PM Lab: Comprehensive Lab Practical


        8:00 AM Radionuclide Pathways
        9:00 AM Radioactive Waste
        10:30 AM Medical Uses of Radiation
        1:00 PM Radioactivity in Consumer Products


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


      Applied Health Physics Course instructor and students

      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.”

      Contact us

      For more information about ORAU's Professsional 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