Career Options in Physics
Physics, a natural science, centers on the study of the physical properties of the universe, including matter, energy, motion, space and time. Most careers that directly utilize physics on a daily basis do have relatively strict educational requirements, and there are few positions available to individuals who do not have at least a bachelor's degree. Individuals who do have the proper education and training are eligible for a number of scientific careers in research, design, aerospace, and teaching, to name a few. Below, we will look at five different careers that directly involve the science of physics.
|Job Title||Median Salary (2016)*||Job Growth (2014-2024)*|
|Postsecondary Physics Teacher||$84,570||15%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Atomic and Molecular Physics
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- Optical Sciences
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- Theoretical Physics
Career Information for Jobs that Involve Physics
Aerospace engineers are professionals who create designs for spacecraft, aircraft, and missiles. Aeronautical engineers work primarily with aircraft while astronautical engineers work more with spacecraft. Regardless of the specific concentration, all aerospace engineers must have strong knowledge of physics, as the rules and laws of physics affect their designs. Aerospace engineers not only come up with designs, they also review different project proposals to see if they are feasible. To become an aerospace engineer, you will need a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering.
As a career, physicist is a very broad title that could encompass many different sub-careers. Some of these include nuclear physicist, plasma physicist, atomic physicist, and astrophysicist. All of these jobs are different and involve various duties and responsibilities, but they all are similar in that having an in-depth knowledge of advanced physics is crucial. Many of them plan and conduct various physics-based experiments, study theories, and write journals articles and papers that deal with physics. To become a physicist, you will usually need a Ph.D. in the subject, especially if you plan to work in research or the academic world. Other positions may only require a master's degree.
Biophysicists are scientists that study living things through the lens of physics and biology. They conduct different experiments and various tests, often using very advanced equipment and technology. A biophysicist may be involved in research to better understand how nerve cells communicate with each other. Many of these research professionals must write grant proposals to research institutions in order to get enough money to fund their research. To become a biophysicist, you will usually need at least a bachelor's or master's degree to qualify for entry-level positions. Those who have a Ph.D. in the subject can quality for more advanced positions and are more likely to be involved in independent research.
As a geoscientist, you will be involved in working with the Earth in order to understand its physical make-up and the various processes that take place on the Earth. Geoscientists often participate in field work, which may involve traveling to different locations to collect samples of dirt or minerals, conducting land surveys, and making geologic charts and maps. Some geoscientists specialize further in the field of geophysics. This involves using physics to understand gravitational fields, and the Earth's electrical and magnetic properties. To become a geoscientist, you will need a bachelor's degree in a field like physics, chemistry, or biology.
Postsecondary Physics Teacher
Postsecondary teachers work at colleges, universities, and other institutes of higher learning. As physics teachers, they may teach both introductory and more advanced physics courses to students. Beyond being experts in general physics or a subfield of physics, teachers must also devise lesson plans, homework assignments, give lectures, and design tests to evaluate students' progress in their course. They may also act as advisors to some students who are interested in pursuing physics as a career.