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How to Become a Physicist

How to Become a Physicist
Alfred Kastler French physicist Source: Wikipedia

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Physicist: A Quick Look
Median Salary $106,360 or $51.14 per hour
Entry-level Education Bachelor’s Degree or Doctoral Degree
On-the-job training None
Primary employers Hospitals, the federal government, higher education
Number of positions (U.S.) 23,300
Job Growth (2012-2022) 10% (On par with the national average)
New positions (2012-2022) 2,400

Physicist Job Description:

How to Become a Physicist

Alfred Kastler French physicist
Source: Wikipedia

The physicist job description includes researching, questioning, hypothesizing, and drawing conclusions about energy and matter. Physicists formulate theories and explanations from their research findings. They also conduct research studies and publish their research conclusions. Physicists write proposals and grants in order to gain funding for their research studies. Another important part of the physicist job description is completing highly complex math equations that are relevant to the understanding of physics. Physicists may design new tools and equipment that aid in expanding knowledge about concepts and theories pertaining to physics. Additionally, physicists typically need to tell others about their research findings at professional conferences, scientific seminars, and other events. You can discover more about the typical job description for this profession here.

Physicist Salary:

Data from the BLS indicates that the median annual physicist salary for all physicists as of 2012 was $106,360 or $51.14 per hour. The top 10 percent of physicists earned an annual salary of more than $176,630. The lowest earning 10 percent of physicists earned an annual salary of less than $57,640. Physicists who worked in hospitals (local, private, and state) earned the highest salaries that averaged $152,280 annually. Physicists who worked in higher education (universities, colleges, and professional schools that are local, state, and private) earned the lowest average salaries at $81,180. Learn more about the physicist salary here.

How to Become a Physicist:

At this point you might wonder how to become a Physicist. To become a physicist, you typically need a Ph.D. in physics or astronomy from an accredited college or university. Some individuals who want to become physicists may choose a secondary category within physics to study in graduate school. If you’re interested, you can learn about how to become a physicist here.

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Physicist Job Outlook:

According to BLS data, the Physicist Job Outlook is projected to grown by 10% for physicists between the years 2012 to 2022. That rate of growth is close to the average rate of growth for all other professions. By the year 2022, it is anticipated that there will be approximately 22,700 physicists in the United States. The following guide will tell you all about the physicist job outlook. Learn more about it here.

Physicist Salary:

The physicist salary is quite high, especially when compared to other occupations. The latest data calculated at a national level by the BLS, indicates that the median annual physicist salary as of the year 2012 was $106,360 (or $51.14 per hour). The median value is not the same as the value of the average salary. However, in some instances they may be close. The median value indicates the middle value of all the documented salaries for physicists in the United States. This means that half of all physicists in the United States have earn a bit more than $106,360 per year, and the other half of physicists have earned somewhat less.
  • The top 10 percent of physicists earned an annual salary of more than $176,630.
  • The lowest earning 10 percent of physicists earned an annual salary of less than $57,640.
The physicist salary may vary somewhat as a result of the following influencing factors: the industry which employs them, the amount of previous work experience they have, and the geographical location in which they are employed.
  • Physicists who work in Hawaii, Minnesota, Florida, Kansas, and Oklahoma tend to be the highest paid physicists.
  • Hawaii tops the list with an average hourly pay of $70.97, followed by Minnesota at $70.71 per hour, Florida at $70.24 per hour, then Kansas at $68.97 per hour, and finally Oklahoma at $67.78 per hour.
  • In particular, the Honolulu Hawaii area pays physicists an hourly wage right around $71.72.
Physicists who are working in postdoctoral positions typically earn an annual salary within the lowest 10% of physicist salaries. According to the BLS, data compiled as of May 2012 indicated that the median annual income for physicists working in the 5 main physicist industries were as follows: higher education (including small colleges, universities, and other professional school) $81,180, development and scientific research $104,650, the federal government $111,020, science, management, technological consulting services $130,980, and local, private, or state hospitals $152,280.

How to Become a Physicist:

Do you want to learn how to become a physicist? Of course you do. That’s probably why you’re here reading this guide! To become a physicist, you typically must earn a Ph.D. in physics or astronomy (or a related field) from an accredited college or university. Students may opt to focus on sub-category of physics such as: astrophysics, plasma physics, nuclear physics, or atomic physics. It is necessary for an individual interested in becoming a physicist to earn a bachelor’s degree in physics or a another related field of study. Typically required classes may include: thermodynamics, calculus, algebra, statistics, natural sciences, electromagnetism, and computer science. An individual with a master’s degree in physics or a related field may be able to conduct research for particular industries and companies. However, these positions are easier to secure with a doctoral degree. Also, field research or technician positions may be able to be filled by individuals who have bachelor’s degrees in physics or related fields. It is not unusual for Ph.D students to work as research or laboratory assistants while they are in graduate school. After graduate school, new physicists commonly start their careers in research positions before they progress to more advanced and permanent physicist positions. New physicists may work with more experienced mentor physicists until they are fully ready to work independently.

Physicist Job Description:

The sales engineer job description includes selling various scientific equipment and services to companies. A sales engineer must be extremely knowledgeable about the products and services they are selling. They must be able to assess and determine the equipment companies will need to purchase from them. Sales engineers must be knowledgeable about both science and sales. The sales component of an engineer's job is extremely important. These engineers may work collaboratively with research and development departments to help them determine what new products are needed on the market. Here are some common sales engineer job responsibilities:
  • Meet with clients to determine what products and services they need
  • Work collaboratively with other engineers and sales teams
  • Follow up with clients to secure future purchases
  • Help clients resolve issues with products and help them determine what products and services they need to purchase
Give presentations to clients and potential clients about the scientific products and services they sell

 

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