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. 

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