19 Highest-Paying Physics Jobs (With Salaries)

If it werent for physics, the modern world wouldnt have many pivotal and life-changing discoveries – including television, laser technology, computer, nuclear weapons, and radio.

Not to mention some of the biggest theories such as the big bang, quantum theory, and many more.

Students who pursue a bachelors degree in physics possess a solid understanding of numbers, a keen interest in research, and a quick grasp of scientific numbers.

Its one of the most valuable and versatile degrees that provide students with more chances of improvement in the field or successful employment opportunities.

Most people find physics extremely difficult and tedious as a bachelors in physics requires an individual to utilize and understand multiple concepts at once.

Well, lucky for you, OSU reported that graduates with physics degrees have more successful physics careers than any other science major.

A physics career path offers lucrative and plentiful employment opportunities across the STEM landscape (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).

Read on to get a comprehensive overview of what can you do with a physics degree and what jobs can fit your expertise and profile.

The Highest Paying Science Degrees

11 highest-paying physics jobs

If you have a physics degree and desire to work with this particular branch of science, consider these careers:

Primary duties: A chemical engineer uses branches of science, including physics, to learn more about processes, reactions and design. They conduct experiments and research to break down the components of food, pharmaceutical drugs and various products. Chemical engineers must have knowledge of the regulations, laws and compliance requirements so they can complete their work safely.

Primary duties: A meteorologist is responsible for studying weather patterns and trends so they can provide a well-informed and thorough weather forecasts. They analyze data from weather stations, prepare reports of their findings, create accurate models of weather patterns based on research and may even present their forecast to the general public via a radio station or television network.

Primary duties: A professor uses a variety of methods to instruct students in their class. They prepare lectures, develop curriculum, proctor exams, grade papers and create office hours so they can help students who are struggling with a concept they learned in the course. Professors may also serve as an advisor to promising students who want to build their career in the specific subject they teach, perform research on their topic of interest and publish papers with colleagues.

Primary duties: A lab manager is responsible for overseeing the activities performed in a lab and managing a group of professionals who conduct experiences and research in the laboratory. They build schedules, processes and procedures for various projects and make sure that the lab is adequately stocked with the materials and supplies scientists and researchers need to conduct their study. Lab managers also ensure that all lab users are following safety standards and remain in compliance, provide resources and training to staff and maintain and test laboratory equipment.

Primary duties: A test engineer performs tests to ensure a companys product, software or system meets the standards and specifications set forth by the business. They document issues, ask for feedback from users, provide suggestions for improvement, build test environments and are involved in the quality control and assurance parts of testing. Test engineers also figure out the root cause of any issues so they can offer recommendations for avoiding that problem in the future.

Primary duties: A nuclear engineer is responsible for designing and creating nuclear equipment. They test their designs, maintain them and write documentation about their process and how users should operate the equipment. Nuclear engineers may also oversee the work thats performed within nuclear power plants and other facilities, create processes for the safe disposal of nuclear waste, perform nuclear experiments and conduct research to better understand why nuclear accidents occur.

Primary duties: A geophysicist studies the earth with the goal of understanding more about its past and how it may fare in the future. They conduct research and experiments in the field, keep records of their findings and any related data, perform tests on their findings, gather samples from the area theyre researching and write scientific reports for the general public or stakeholders in their project.

Primary duties: An aeronautical engineer is responsible for designing, building and maintaining machines in flight, like aircraft. They test their systems, create user manuals, build technology thats in compliance with government regulations and research how they can improve their designs. Aeronautical engineers may perform some basic maintenance on the aircraft they create and keep a record of their design and any updates.

Primary duties: A research scientist conducts experiments on a variety of topics, including physics, medicine and more. They plan experiments that will answer specific questions in their field, work with other professionals to plan research about a particular topic, request grants from issuing authorities and create presentations to showcase their work and the results of their efforts. Many research scientists also oversee the work of graduate students or professionals with less experience.

Primary duties: An astronomer is responsible for studying the universe so they can educate others. They research objects in the sky like stars and planets to gain an understanding of their significance and relation to other objects. Astronomers also develop their own theories, observe the skies and create models for their project thats based on their findings.

Primary duties: An optical engineer is responsible for designing optical systems like cameras, lenses and microscopes. They may study light to understand more about how its created and how they can transmit and measure it to build certain devices. Optical engineers test and analyze their designs to make sure they provide systems that follow product specifications.

8 additional careers for physics majors

Explore this list of additional careers where you can use physics in your work:

FAQ

What field of physics pays the most?

11 highest-paying physics jobs
  1. Chemical engineer. National average salary: $63,797 per year. …
  2. Meteorologist. National average salary: $65,282 per year. …
  3. Professor. National average salary: $65,943 per year. …
  4. Lab manager. National average salary: $73,681 per year. …
  5. Test engineer. …
  6. Nuclear engineer. …
  7. Geophysicist. …
  8. Aeronautical engineer.

What is the best career for physics?

10 Great Jobs for Physics Majors
  • Research Scientist.
  • Professor.
  • Physics Teacher.
  • Data Scientist.
  • Lab Manager.
  • Medical Physicist.
  • Optical Engineer.
  • Aerospace Engineer.

Do physicists make good money?

The median annual wage for physicists was $152,430 in May 2021. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $78,870, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $208,000.

How can I make the most money with a physics degree?

How to Make Money with a Physics Degree (26 Best Paying Jobs)
  1. Forensic Firearms Examiner. Force is a big part of physics, and it’s also a big part of firearms. …
  2. Meteorologist. …
  3. Technical Writer. …
  4. Microbiologist. …
  5. Laser Engineer. …
  6. Accelerator Operator. …
  7. Medical Scientist. …
  8. Aeronautical Engineer.

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