Physicists

General Information

Description

Conduct research into physical phenomena, develop theories on the basis of observation and experiments, and devise methods to apply physical laws and theories.

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Workplace at a Glance

What you can expect to experience while on the job

  • Responsibility
  • Exposure to job hazards
  • Physical activity
  • Decision making
  • Repetitiveness
  • Level of competition
  • Time pressure

Industry areas

  • Scientific Research and Development Services
  • Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation)
  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools

Job Outlook

Overall employment of physicists and astronomers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. Physicists are projected to have employment growth in the scientific research and development services, educational services, and healthcare and social assistance industries. But the fast growth will result in only about 1,800 new jobs over the decade. Federal spending is the primary source of physics- and astronomy-related research funds, especially for basic research. Growth in the federal government’s spending for research in physics and astronomy is expected to be largely flat, and this will dampen the need for physicists and astronomers at institutions that depend heavily on such funding.

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Salary

Average Salary

Salary

$120,950

Military salary*

$115,721

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State-by-state Salary

Gray states indicate no data available

$164,190
$74,510
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Education

Most Common Education Levels

People in this career achieve this level of education.

  • Post-doctoral training 29%
  • Doctoral degree 23%
  • Master's degree 22%
  • Bachelor's degree 17%
  • Associate's degree 3%
  • High school 1%
  • Some college 1%
  • Post baccalaureate 1%
  • Less than high school 0%
  • Post-master's certificate 0%
  • First professional degree 0%
  • Post-secondary certificate 0%

Related College Majors

Select major to see colleges that offer it

Knowledge

  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Computers and Electronics
  • English Language

Skills at a Glance

Skills helpful in this career

  • Verbal skills
  • Critical thinking & problem solving
  • Equipment operation & maintenance
  • Math & science skills
  • Technology design & control
  • Leadership
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