Career Opportunities

  • Salary As a physics major, you won't spend much time worrying about how to pay off those student loans. You'll be pleased to discover that physicists actually boast among the highest average annual salaries according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2006: $99,900 for all physicists and $112,700 for government employees with a PhD.
  • Job options So what exactly can you do with a physics degree after graduation? The answer is quite simple—anything you want. The fact is that it will prepare you to excel in a world where people change careers four or five times. That's because physics doesn't just provide an understanding of the physical world, it helps you develop the intellectual tools to take on any field that interests you. In short, physics teaches you not what to think, but how to think, making you one of the best-prepared, most sought-after college graduates around. You might work in research and development for NASA, Motorola, or IBM. Along with your job options within the field, you'd also be a top candidate for professional programs such as law or medicine. But that's not all—you'll find physicists popping up in places where you'd least expect them. Take Wall Street, for example. Few people realize that many of the top financial analysts and economists are really just physics majors in disguise. Physics majors can become anything from fighter pilots to video game designers, from volcano tour guides to prime ministers. Clearly, your dilemma is not "where can I get a job?" but rather, "which job should I choose?"
  • "Conventional" physicists work in a variety of areas, including:
    • Acoustics
    • Astrophysics
    • Atomic physics
    • Biophysics
    • Chemical physics
    • High energy physics
    • Hydrophysics
    • Geophysics
    • Nuclear physics
    • Plasma physics
    • Solid state physics
  • "Hidden" physicists work in the many areas, including:
    • Aerospace
    • Air traffic control
    • Astronomy
    • Automotive engineering
    • Cardiac imaging research
    • Computer engineering
    • Environmental analysis and health
    • Forensics
    • Hydrology
    • Industrial safety
    • Technology law
    • Mathematics and education
    • Medical products design
    • Meteorology
    • National laboratory research
    • Nuclear magnetic resonance
    • Nuclear power plant administration
    • Oceanography
    • Optical medical design
    • Particle accelerator operations analysis
    • Public service
    • Radiological laboratory administration
    • Research and development
    • Sales
    • Satellite data and missions analysis
    • Science journalism
    • Seismology
    • Technical illustration
    • Writing
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