Careers in the Field of Physics

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There exists many branches and interdisciplinary fields of physics – many of which are related to research-intensive careers. After graduating with a major in physics, there are many career options available to choose from, but how do you know which one is right for you? To answer this question, one must consider the various occupations that can be linked to pure physics, and interdisciplinary physics.

Careers in pure physics, meaning careers that involve only the intensive focus on physics as a subject, include the following positions:

1. Research Scientist

2. Physics education (e.g. physics tutor)

3. Technical work (e.g. instrument technician)

4. Self-employment

Careers in interdisciplinary physics, however, are more numerous. The type of jobs also focus on physics, but requires one to have sufficient professional experience with other related occupational fields as well. These positions include, but are not limited to:

1. Engineering (e.g. electrical or mechanical)

2. Weather Forecaster

3. Systems Developer

4. Architecture

5. Consultant

6. Science Patent Examiner

7. Science Journalist

8. TV science advisor

9. Computer Games Designer

In fact, there are so many careers in physics that you can even use your degree in physics (or your knowledge in physics particularly) to be a professional poker player – as ridiculous as that may sound to some.  According to Liv, a graduate in physics, “that’s the beauty studying of physics (sic) – you can apply the skills you learn to so many areas. Many of them, like poker, are not so obvious until you try them”.

Another vital career choice is first to continue to graduate school to pursue a Master’s degree, or a Ph.D. in physics. Obtaining higher degrees in physics ensures that your career options are plentiful, you are entrusted with more responsibility, and that your pay grade is increased.  This may require a great deal of perseverance, late nights and possibly lots of caffeine. However, it is certainly worth all the effort.

Typical companies that seek to employ graduates in physics are nearly countless. Examples of some employers include:

1. Intel


3. Idaho National Laboratory

4. University of Dayton Research Institute

5. Epic

6. First Energy

7. RegionUp

8. Global Foundries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 16,790 employed physicists in the United States. Therefore it’s apparent that physics as a career can be very rewarding, both in terms of esteem and financially.