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Careers for a BS in Physics?

  1. Sep 3, 2013 #1
    I know this probably gets asked a lot, but what are some of the careers I can get with a BS in Physics and a minor in Chemistry.(I'm thinking about minoring in Chemistry, I'm just not sure yet.) I'm really interested in Physics (and chemistry). Those were my favorite classes in high school. I just want to make sure all the summer classes I have to take next year will be worth all the effort and money. And also, can I get an engineering job with a BS in physics or would I have to go to engineering school after undergrad school?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 4, 2013 #2
    Teach for America recruits physics BS holders. Otherwise, I think most physics BS graduates go to grad school of one form or another (about 70% do if I recall correctly). A graduate degree is usually needed on top of a physics BS for some sort of STEM career.

    Many on these forums do think you can get an engineering job with a BS in physics. In my opinion, and personal experience, getting such a job with only a BS in physics is very tough and doesn't generally happen. I've been trying for engineering like jobs with my physics degrees for a few years now, no luck at all.

    Remember that its usually not the degree that gets you a job, its skills. Taking classes is fun, but learning theory in a class is not necessarily learning a marketable skill. Make sure to foster and develop real marketable skills in addition to taking required classes.
     
  4. Sep 4, 2013 #3
    Firstly kyraj, when reviewing posts on the subject of getting a job with a BS in physics, I strongly encourage you to distinguish between the following two types of posters: those who have tried to get a job with a BS in physics, and those who haven’t. I’m not saying either’s opinions don’t have value, just that, over the past ten years reading this forum, it is clear to me that they are almost always very different. (This thread is an awesome example of that iron rule at work)

    As for getting an engineering job with a BS in physics, it is possible but much harder than doing so with a BS in engineering. ModusPwnd gives good advice – work to develop useful skills. No one is going to hire you because you can solve physics textbook problems. They’ll hire you because you can operate scientific equipment, maintain laboratory space, or use specific modeling software, among other things.

    When you do go looking for work, I suggest networking through the university research programs and the career center to find work. My story: I managed to luck into a job at a small engineering firm after I got my BS. Networking is what opened the door; I don’t think I would have ever gotten a job using online boards, for instance. The job paid very little, but did wonders for my work ethic. I’m glad I worked there then, and thrilled I don’t work there now.

    Best of luck with your endeavors and keep us updated.
     
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