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Careers in Physics
We use to say that if you were good there were many jobs available to you. But we can no longer say that.
On the other hand, there are presently no careers which can guarantee you a job when you leave college. So while you are in college you might as well major in something that is interesting to you.
The important thing to keep in mind is that an education in physics prepares you for much more than an academic or research career. The training you receive in computers, problem solving, appyling mathematics to situations, in experimental techniques, and in thinking logically and rigorously about the physical universe prepares you for virtually any career you choose. Many students do go on to pursure advanced degrees in physics, engineering or a related field but others pursue careers in very different areas.
In addition to our work as scientists, some areas where physics alumns work are:
high school teachers
video game design
And they pursue work in many sectors including (but not limited to):
the U.S. Patent Office
Check with your physics department for advice, guidance and information.
For some hard-headed advice check out the following sites.
- Careers Using Physics page from the SPS, you may want to pay particular attention to their Advice page and the Profiles of physicists.
- Career Guidance for High School and Undergraduate Students from the AIP Statistical Research Center
- Student Guidance Resources from APS
- Explore, Understand, Succeed: Physics from the Committee on Minorities of the APS ( A copy of this brochure is available in Spanish, here.)
- Landing your First Job: A Guide for Physics Students -by John Rigden. Your deparment may have a copy, or portions of the book are available online.
- Career Resources from the Career Services of AIP. Very good site to research thoroughly as you begin.
More career information from ...
- The Biophysical Society
- The Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists
- The American Astronomical Society
- The American Meteorological Society
- The American Association of Physicists in Medicine
- The Health Physics Society
- Physics Career Information from the Physics Department of the University of Toronto
- The Sloan Career Cornerstone- thoughtful, well-structured STEM career resource center
- Careers in Science and Engineering: A Student Planning Guide to Grad School and Beyond - very thoughtful book, a copy can be read on-line
- Career Options - comprehensive resources for STEM careers, both in academia and outside, from the American Physiological Society
- Leaving Physics, careers in physics outside academia maintained by Jennifer Hodgdon who is now a Web designer
- Career Resources from PhDs.org