The profession of health physics has as its goal the protection of workers and the public from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation. On-the-job training used to be the major part of the young health physicist's professional development, and we can all name many respected pioneers still practicing radiation protection in its purest form. Health physicists of the future, however, will be required to build on that stable platform and move into a different arena-one in which their motives, programs and qualifications are constantly questioned in a much broader context. They will be required to defend their actions and themselves in the courtroom as well as the laboratory and the field. The need for certified health physicists will certainly increase dramatically in relation to the total number required just to get the job done. This comes at a time when colleges and universities are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain funding for their degree programs. Members of the profession must become aware of the changing times and expanding potential for litigation, because many health physicists will be involved in this new arena in one way or another.
©1988Health Physics Society