Physics Professions Video: Career Options for a Degree in the Physical Sciences

Physics Professions Video: Career Options for a Degree in the Physical Sciences Transcript

Physicists use math and science to explain the nature of the world around us. Some fields in physical science, such as nuclear physics or astronomy, emphasize the physical aspects of a particular phenomenon. Others, such as geology, utilize physics and various natural sciences. If you have mathematical ability, an inquisitive mind and advanced problem solving skills, you will find many career opportunities in the physical sciences.


Physicists study physical laws and theories so that they can apply their knowledge to practical areas. Some of the things that physicists study include motion, energy, matter and other forces of nature. The observations and analyses they make while experimenting are applied to the development of materials that we use in every day life. Physicists are the reason why we have things like electronic devices, medical equipment, nuclear energy and aerospace technology.

Job Skills and Duties

A physicist's job skills are highly dependent upon the specific type of work the physicist is doing. Physicists who work in research and development need to have a knack for research and the ability to use lasers, particle accelerators, electron microscopes and other equipment to conduct experiments. Physicists who work in production related jobs, on the other hand, need to be familiar with inspection techniques and quality control. Since most physicists work in sub-fields, such as astronomy, atomic and molecular physics, space physics and nuclear physics, specialized knowledge of the appropriate field is a must.

Training Required

Although technicians and research assistants can usually receive the training they need through a bachelor's program, an advanced degree is required to work in most physics professions. Master's degrees are usually suitable for basic positions in applied research, development and manufacturing, but a doctorate degree is ideal. Individuals who have a Ph.D. degree in physics or a related field can find jobs in research, teaching and government laboratories.

Well Known Jobs within This Field

Qualified physicists find a variety of jobs in the field of science. Those with doctorates frequently find work in academics or research. Nearly one-fifth of all physicists are employed by the U.S. government and work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) or the U.S. Department of Defense. Jobs can also be found in fields that are related, such as computer science. Database administrator, electronics engineer and computer programmer are just a few examples of the IT positions currently being filled by physicists.


Physical science can be a very exciting career field. If you have an interest in math and science and a desire to unravel the mysteries of the universe, a career in physics might be right for you.


Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook - Physicists and Astronomers

Wikipedia - Physics

Wake Forest University - Physics: A Gateway to Many Careers

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