Physics is the exploration and identification of the basic principles governing the structure and behavior of matter, the generation and transfer of energy, and the interaction of matter and energy. It attempts, through observation and analysis, to discover the laws that describe the forces of nature including mechanics, sound, electricity and magnetism, optics, heat, and quantum theory.*

Sample Occupations

  • Areas of Specialization
  • Acoustical
  • Astronomy
  • Biophysics
  • Chemical
  • Condensed Matter
  • Engineering
  • Geophysics
  • Medical/Health
  • Nuclear
  • Optical
  • Particle/High Energy
  • Sample Occupational Titles
  • Physicist
  • Astronomer
  • University Professor
  • High School Teacher
  • Computer Engineer
  • Laboratory Technician
  • Computer Programmer
  • Nuclear Equipment Operation Technician
  • Natural Sciences Manager
  • Hydrologist
  • Information Scientist
  • Researcher
  • Seismologist
  • Technical Writer
  • Medical Products Designer
  • Satellite Data Analyst
  • Test Engineer
  • Biophysicist

Types of Employers

  • Research Laboratories
  • Colleges/Universities
  • Industry
  • Government
  • Department of Defense
  • NASA
  • Software Developers
  • Pharmaceutical/Medical Companies
  • Department of Energy

Preparing for your career in

Industry: Gain research experience by working with faculty, pursue coursework specific to your desired industrial field, seek opportunities to develop laboratory skills, learn to describe complex physics concepts in lay terms, plan to pursue graduate study to increase employment opportunities, get experience through an internship, take business classes

Government: Develop an understanding of the government job application process, seek out opportunities to gain lab and/or research experience, learn about the different government departments that utilize physics majors, acquire advanced degrees for more employment opportunities, intern to develop experience and build networking contacts

Academia: Build research skills by working with a faculty member, develop strong writing skills, gain experience making presentations to small and large groups, plan to pursue a PhD in physics or a related field, pursue membership in an academic-related professional association, keep GPA high and faculty relationships strong to be competitive for graduate school

How do I know if its right for me?

ASSESS: Take a career assessment, such as PathwayU, to see how your interests, values, and personality fit with majors and careers.

RESEARCH: Research the careers on this WCIDWAMI and thousands of other careers using O*Net Online, The Occupational Outlook Handbook or FirstHand.

EXPLORE: Learn more about a career field of interest by job shadowing, attending a career panel, or participating in a Career Trek. Further your exploration while gaining valuable skills by completing an internship, co-op, volunteer, or research experience.