Physics Career Paths
Brief descriptions of some of the many possible career paths for physics graduates:
- Academia - Faculty members who teach and conduct research at colleges and universities.
- Consulting - Consultants utilize physics knowledge and problem solving skills to counsel others.
- Economics - Economists study the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Economic models often have similarities to physical models.
- Education and Public Outreach - Physicists who educate and inform the public and provide educational materials and resources for students and teachers.
- Engineering - Engineers design, analyze, and/or construct works for practical purposes.
- Finance - Physicists who pursue careers in the financial field find that their problems solving and analytical skills prepare them well.
- Law and Litigation - Physicists involved in litigation, or lawsuits, provide expert witness testimony on analytical matters and work to uphold the law.
- Medical Physics - Medical physicists apply physics to medical applications, such as radiology, medical imaging and radiotherapy.
- Medicine and Biomedical Research - Some medical doctors, such as radiation oncologists, need a physics background. Forefront biomedical research often involves understanding the physical interactions of living things. As a group, physics majors do very well on the medical school entrance exam.
- Research - Physicists conduct scientific research full-time in the following areas: astronomy/astrophysics, atmospheric science, atomic and molecular physics, biophysics, condensed matter physics, electronics, geophysics, material science, nanoscience & nanotechnology, optics & lasers, particle physics, planetary science, renewable energy, and related fields such as applied mathematics or chemistry.
- Research Management - Physicists who provide leadership by managing scientific operations in government, industry, non-profit, or university settings.
- Teaching - High school teachers instruct students in physics and other sciences and provide the foundation for an education in physics. Learn more here.
- Writing - Science authors write technical reports, news briefings, articles, blogs, and science fiction.