Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) Training

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40-hour training course (Two Long Weekends)

Join us for two long weekends in New York City for the required 40 hours of training to become a Radiation Safety Officer (RSO)! This course meets the training requirement for a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) type C license, providing the skills needed to successfully implement a radiation protection program in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, university, hospital, or medical laboratory setting.




Course Overview

2019 dates: TBD (40 hours over two long weekends)
Fridays 2:00pm - 6:15pm; Saturdays/Sundays 8:00am - 5:30pm

Columbia University’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences offers a 40-hour course to meet the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Class C Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) training requirements.  The curricula is designed for individuals working in academia, industry, and government laboratories seeking training in the safe handling of radioisotopes to meet local, state, or federal regulatory and/or training requirements. Participants that complete this course will fulfill the 40-hour requirement as stated in 10CFR33.15 - Requirements for the issuance of a Type C specific license of broad scope:

At least 40 hours of training and experience in the safe handling of radioactive materials, and in the characteristics of ionizing radiation, units of radiation dose and quantities, radiation detection instrumentation, and biological hazards of exposure to radiation appropriate to the type and forms of byproduct material to be used.

The NRC requires any organization that uses radioactive material to have a licensed, designated Radiation Safety Officer (RSO).  This course is designed to help such organizations apply for or renew their license for use of radioactive materials. The course is not intended to meet the licensing requirements for medical use of radionuclides or fluoroscopic imaging.

Course instructors, with faculty appointments at Columbia University and the Columbia University Medical Center, are experts in their fields.  They include faculty from the Center for Radiological Research, the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, the Department of Medicine and the Department of Environmental Health & Safety. Learn more about the course instructors here.

Course Topics

  • Radiation and radioisotopes

  • The human health effects of ionizing radiation exposure

  • Radiation dosimetry and instrumentation

  • Radiation protection

  • Safe handling and disposal of radioisotopes

  • Inventory control

  • Record keeping and regulatory requirements

  • Transporation of radioactive materials

  • Hazard and risk assessment, reduction, and communication


  • Employee bioassay program

  • Emergency management, personnel contamination, and 


Course Learning Objectives

  • Develop RSO skill sets specific to University, Hospital, Medical, Health Department, Governmental or Biopharmaceutical lab environments

  • Gain expertise in maintaining compliance with radionuclide permit and licensing requirements at local, state and national levels

  • Create and maintain a safe laboratory working environment

  • Assess potential radiation risks and relevant human health effects

  • Develop work plan for employees to effectively reduce or eliminate risk

  • Limit potential for radiological terrorism using laboratory materials

  • Understand and apply Health Physics practice in a laboratory setting

  • Learn management of radiological solid and liquid waste

  • Understand regulatory requirements and expectations

  • Gain hands-on experience with instrumentation

  • Apply “tools of the trade” upon returning to your organization, with a comprehensive resource guide

Why RSO training at Columbia University

  • One of only three RSO trainings offered in a University setting rather than a for-profit corporation

  • One of the very few RSO training courses offered in the Northeast

  • Course faculty are internationally recognized for their expertise in radiological science, dosimetry, waste management and public health and together have many decades of teaching and research experience

  • Faculty are always available for questions, additional information and personalized attention

  • Many Columbia University Medical Center resources available to students while in attendance, including the library, study halls and computer labs

  • New York City provides students with numerous cultural and educational opportunities


Course Director
Director, Eye Radiation & Environmental Research Laboratory
Director, MS Degree Programs in Radiological Sciences and Toxicology
Department of Environmental Health Sciences
Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology
Columbia University Center for Radiological Research
Columbia University Medical Center
Professor of Clinical Radiology (in Medicine)
Chief Medical Physicist
Columbia University Medical Center
Higgins Professor of Radiation Biophysics
Professor of Environmental Health Sciences
Director, Columbia University Center for Radiological Research
Columbia University Medical Center
Lauren Kelly, CHMM, CDGP
Radioactive Material and Waste Specialist
Environmental Health & Safety
Columbia University
Peter Caracappa, PhD, CHP
Chief Radiation Safety Officer
Columbia University
Senior Health Physicist
Environmental Health & Safety
Columbia University
Executive Director of Radiation Safety
Chief Radiation Safety Officer
Adjunct Professor of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
Columbia University


This class was excellent; the instructors were super knowledgeable and had a wealth of information.  I recommend this class to anyone looking to advance their career in safety. - 2017 RSO Trainee

This course-training woke up my passion for health physics studies, very informative presented in a clear and understandable way, with very knowledgeable and prestigious speakers who share the most valuable and updated information. - 2017 RSO Trainee

The RSO course provided by Columbia was just right for the professional worker looking to increase their knowledge and skill set in the radiation safety field. - 2017 RSO Trainee

The RSO training is valuable for those who need to acquire knowledge and skills in the field of ionizing radiation. The Course covers a broad set topics that any RSO needs to apply on a daily basis. The theoretical lessons are complemented by practical lab sessions and on-site visits, which are very helpful for learning. Moreover, the lecturers are highly specialized and experienced on the topics they deliver, creating an atmosphere of active learning by promoting the participation and discussion among the audience. - 2018 RSO Trainee

A well designed, comprehensive training program adaptable to academia, industry, or the medical field.  I now have the tools to confidently be the RSO at my facility. - 2018 RSO Trainee

Registration Fees

Early-bird rate: $1,450

Standard rate: $1,700

Location and Travel

Radiation Safety Officer Training is offered on the Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) campus at: The Mailman School of Public Health, 722 West 168th Street, 11th Floor, Room 1101, New York, NY 10032. The CUMC campus is located approximately 20-25 minutes by subway north of Columbia University's main Morningside campus. A map of the CUMC campus showing the RSO training location can be found here.


Three subway trains are convenient to the CUMC campus: the 1, A, and C trains. We recommend you book your lodging convenient to one of these train lines if you plan to take public transportation.


A list of hotels with Columbia-affiliated discounts can be found on this page. Please note that we advise you book early, as we cannot guarantee a room.

NYC Surroundings

The city offers an array of activities and places to explore. More information can be found here.


Questions? Email Dr. Norman Kleiman, the director of the RSO Training Course.

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Radiation Safety Officer Training is hosted by Columbia University's Department of Environmental Health Sciences in the Mailman School of Public Health.

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