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Career Choice, Help!

  1. Mar 15, 2009 #1
    I really enjoy physics and I've always (well maybe not always) wanted to become a physicist but i kind of changed my mind because they don't get paid a whole lot. Then, I wanted to become a rocket scientists because i still get to study physics along with mathematics and engineering. Also most people consider rocket scientists to be the smartest people on earth (which isn't completely true) but they're sort also underpaid (because of the government). So what do you think is the highest paid jobs in physics and is also something someone like me might enjoy?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 15, 2009 #2
    How much physics do you know? How much math do you know?
  4. Mar 15, 2009 #3
    Well since i know very little math (7th grade) i don't usually study classical physics but i do know a fair amount of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics (again without the mathematical framework). But I've just started to learn more math on my own like linear algebra or whatever, so i'm also going to start learning classical physics. Also, what kind of math (try to be very specific) do i need to know for most physics and what basics do i need to have before i actually go ahead and learn it?
  5. Mar 15, 2009 #4
    Believe me, in physics no mathematical framework means you don't know it. Calculus, and linear algebra are fundamental. But very few 7th grader can properly learn this, so good luck.
  6. Mar 15, 2009 #5


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    Education Advisor

    In my opinion the best way to go about deciding this is to start out general. If you're interested in physics, then study it in university. Then, as you get more educated, you will be in a better position to make the decision as to what you want to do as far as a career, and you will know first hand what it is you enjoy.

    The highest paid jobs that result from physics are usually those of entreprenuers who take what they have learned in their studies and start up some kind of a spin-off company.

    In general, though, I believe that it's a myth that physics majors don't make that much money. From all the data I've seen they do just as well, if not better than people in non-professional majors.

    Also, don't worry about doing something that will make you appear smart. If you enjoy what you do, you will naturally excell in it and you won't need a title to appear smart.

    If you're in seventh grade you have LOTS of time. When I was your age I wanted to be a private investigator.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2009
  7. Mar 15, 2009 #6


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    Staff: Mentor

    It's good that you are thinking ahead, and good that you want to learn more math and physics. Since you are in 7th grade right now, I think the best advice is just that you keep on learning as much math and science as you can (take the advanced tracks and AP classes in high school if you can), and stay interested in physics and science and engineering as you get closer to college. You will have a lot better idea of what your interests and avocations are as you get to the middle-end of high school, and that's the correct time to be thinking about what you want to do for a major in college.

    Just keep the general technical vocations as your overall goal for right now, and keep doing the work to put you in a good place to focus on one when you get close to college.
  8. Mar 15, 2009 #7
    firstly, thanks for the help. Secondly, what i would consider well paid is making at least 100,000 dollars by the first 5 years or sooner. Do you think there's a career in physics like that?
  9. Mar 15, 2009 #8
    No job in academia will pay that much in five years. Now you might be looking for a good career and align your interests towards that, but as you begin university and go into more advanced level you will find that you like less, less, and it will get very specific. By then, most of us have no choice but to follow that interest.

    Even if you are in private sector, I think $100000 in first five year would require you to be very talented and have skills outside pure physics. Of course, if you have that much skill, I encourage you to stay in academia. :smile:
  10. Mar 15, 2009 #9
    nah man
  11. Mar 15, 2009 #10
    Sorry but while you may think a certain way right now, I guarantee your mindset will change by the time you reach Senior High School. And...yeah.
  12. Mar 16, 2009 #11
    I do have a feeling i'm going to keep changing my mind because it seems like i spend long periods of time "obsessed" with something. But i realized everything that i'm obsessed with all points to physics and also I've never been interested with something like physics for this long. And i also just realized i don't really care about making a lot of money as long as i'm happy with what i'm doing. Thanks.
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