Career Services

Physics

 

What can I do with this major?

Area

Employer


Area:

Some areas of specialization follow. Most students specialize at the graduate level.

Acoustical Physics

Sub-Area:

  • Development
  • Testing
  • Consulting
  • Administration
  • Education

Employers:

  • Colleges and universities
  • Military
  • Government laboratories
  • Nonprofit research centers
  • Industry e.g., electronics, building design, medical instrumentation, communications, engineering, noise pollution, petroleum, sound recording, film production

Area:

Astronomy

Sub-Area:

  • Research
  • Consulting
  • Writing
  • Public Relations
  • Education

Employers:

  • Observatories
  • Laboratories
  • Planetariums
  • Science museums
  • Nonprofit foundations
  • Colleges and universities
  • Industry e.g., aerospace, scientific supply, computer software, remote sensing, communications
  • Federal government: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Naval Observatory, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

Area:

Astrophysics

Sub-Area:

  • Consulting
  • Administration
  • Research

Employers:

  • Research centers
  • Colleges and universities
  • Observatories
  • Planetariums
  • Aerospace industry
  • Scientific supply industry
  • Federal government: Military, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
  • Airports

Area:

Biophysics

Sub-Area:

  • Basic and Applied Research
  • Development
  • Consulting
  • Administration

Employers:

  • Colleges and universities
  • Medical and dental schools
  • Government laboratories
  • Nonprofit research centers
  • Industry e.g., biotechnology, environment, pharmaceuticals, food science, toxicology
  • Hospitals

Area:

Chemical Physics

Sub-Area:

  • Basic and Applied Research
  • Administration

Employers:

  • Colleges and universities
  • Government laboratories
  • Government agencies
  • Industry

Area:

Condensed Matter

Sub-Area:

  • Basic and Applied Research
  • Development
  • Consulting
  • Administration

Employers:

  • Government laboratories
  • Nonprofit research centers
  • Colleges and universities
  • Electronics industry e.g., microprocessors, magnetic imaging, communications, automobile, navigation/guidance systems
  • Government agencies e.g., National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Department of Defense, Department of Energy

Area:

Engineering Physics

Sub-Area:

  • Engineering (Process and Testing)
  • Quality Control
  • Research
  • Development
  • Instrumentation
  • Consulting

Employers:

  • Colleges and universities
  • Government laboratories
  • Government agencies e.g., Department of Commerce, Department of Defense
  • Engineering firms
  • Manufacturing and processing firms
  • Industry e.g. high technology, chemical, aerospace, agriculture, energy, fuel, computer, transportation
  • Hospitals

Area:

Geophysics

Sub-Area:

  • Basic and Applied Research
  • Development
  • Environmental Consulting
  • Law
  • Administration

Employers:

  • Colleges and universities
  • Nonprofit research centers
  • Government e.g., State and Federal Geological Survey, Army Map Service, Naval Oceanographic Office
  • Government laboratories
  • Military
  • Industry e.g., petroleum, mining, hydrogeology
  • Consulting firms
  • Law firms

Area:

Medical/Health Physics

Sub-Area:

  • Basic and Applied Research
  • Development
  • Clinical Service
  • Consulting
  • Administration
  • Monitoring
  • Enforcement

Employers:

  • Colleges and universities
  • Government laboratories
  • Government agencies e.g., Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Nonprofit research centers
  • Industry e.g., medical instrumentation, nuclear power, nuclear accelerator, food sterilization, petroleum
  • Environmental firms
  • Hospitals, clinics, medical centers

Area:

Nuclear Physics

Sub-Area:

  • Basic and Applied Research
  • Development
  • Consulting
  • Instrumentation
  • Administration
  • Law
  • Quality Control
  • Operations and Maintenance

Employers:

  • Colleges and universities
  • Military
  • Industry e.g., security/weapons, nuclear accelerators, nuclear reactors, nuclear instrumentation, radioisotope products, transportation, healthcare, environmental protection, food irradiation
  • Government laboratories and research centers
  • Government agencies e.g., Department of Defense, Department of Energy

Area:

Optical Physics

Sub-Area:

  • Basic and Applied Research
  • Development
  • Consulting
  • Administration

Employers:

  • Colleges and universities
  • Government laboratories
  • Nonprofit research centers
  • Industry e.g., medical scanners, eyeglasses, binoculars, microscopes, lasers, holography, display technologies, x-ray, ultraviolet spectra, fiber optics
  • Federal agencies e.g., NASA, Department of Energy, Department of Defense

Area:

Particle/High Energy Physics

Sub-Area:

  • Basic and Applied Research
  • Development
  • Consulting
  • Instrumentation
  • Administration
  • Operations and Maintenance

Employers:

  • Government laboratories
  • Nonprofit research centers
  • Colleges and universities

Area:

Science Education

Sub-Area:

  • Teaching
  • Computer Software Development
  • Educational Research
  • Writing and Editing
  • Library and Information Sciences

Employers:

  • Public school systems, K-12
  • Private schools, K-12
  • Publishing companies: books, magazines, videos
  • Software developers
  • Libraries

General Information and Strategies

  • Physicists are interested in solving complex, technical problems.
  • Visit government laboratories or research centers to learn more about opportunities in the field. Schedule informational interviews to learn about the profession and specific career paths.
  • Join relevant professional associations. Attend meetings and stay up-to-date on research/publications.
  • Acquire excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Gain experience using scientific instruments and equipment. Computer skills are critical.
  • Participate in summer research institutes. Submit research to local poster competitions or research symposiums.
  • A willingness to relocate is helpful due to limited opportunities in specialized areas.
  • A bachelor's degree will qualify for positions as research assistants, high-level technicians, or computer specialists, as well as nontechnical work in publishing or sales.
  • An undergraduate degree also provides a solid background for pursuing advanced degrees in other employment areas such as law, business, or accounting.
  • A graduate degree and post-graduate experience will allow for more responsibility and advancement in the field of physics.
  • An earned doctorate is required for college or university teaching, advanced research, and administrative positions.
  • A bachelor's degree and state teacher certification are required for K-12 teaching opportunities.
  • Become familiar with government job application process for positions in federal, state, or local government.