By Erica Garcia
A physics major’s understanding of how the world operates is valuable knowledge that can be applied in more jobs than you might think.
Physics majors often work on projects that produce tangible results. Your degree can take you into industries like construction, medicine, geology, and technology, contributing to environmental conservation, medical research, real estate development, and more.
8 great jobs for physics majors
1. Research scientist
If you love experimenting and conducting research, you might be right for a job as a research scientist. With an average salary of $83,500 a year, research scientists do more than just research. They might write grants, manage staff, analyze data, present their latest research, and even teach.
2. IT consultant
Knowledge of data analysis comes in handy for someone who works as an IT consultant. By working with clients and companies to help improve the structure and administration of IT systems, you’ll be able to help organizations optimize tech for the better. IT consultant salaries average $67,000 per year.
3. Field engineer
With an average pay of $60,600 a year, field engineers are on-site technicians who use their inventive and analytical thinking to troubleshoot problems and fix equipment or systems. Field engineers are often considered software experts who know the ins and outs of hardware. As a field engineer, you'll be able to work in industries like construction or technology. If hands-on projects and brainstorming is something you're interested in, this job might be right for you.
4. Lab manager
If you're a natural leader, the role of a lab manager will allow you to use both your communication skills and passion for science to keep a laboratory operating smoothly. Lab managers do everything from conducting tests to analyzing results to ensure lab safety. Their salaries start at $68,000.
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5. Physics professor / teacher / academic
Has science inspired you so much that all you want to do is share it with others? Whether you end up working with high school students or postgraduate researchers, a job as a physics teacher will allow you to inspire the next generation of scientists. Physics teachers salaries vary depending on the level of education and choice of institution.
6. Data scientist
Many physics majors who love deep analysis become data scientists. They take structured and unstructured data and use it to create, improve, and enhance systems and processes or even predict outcomes. Data scientists are handsomely compensated at an average pay of $120,000 a year and are employable across just about every industry. To earn the title of data scientist, you’ll likely need a master’s degree or higher.
As someone who studies the Earth and its gravity, magnetism, electricity, and makeup a geophysicist will spend a lot of their time conducting research and studying results in the outdoors. You might work for a government agency, a university, or a private company in an industry like oil or gas. The starting salary for a geophysicist is about $68,000, while experienced scientists pull down an average of $138,000.
8. Web developer
Attention to detail, critical thinking skills, and fluency in programming languages are just a few of the skills you’ll use as a web developer. Web developers are well paid ($55,000 to $118,000, on average), in-demand, and can be employed just about anywhere—many even work remotely.