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Careers in physics other than teaching or research

  1. Jun 12, 2015 #1
    Hi everyone,
    Im from India, a country where the general line careers wont fetch luxury or good financial stability. After doing bachelors in Physics, what are the options open for me other than the teaching profession or Ph.D.? I also need to keep in mind about the financial security while deciding my career.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 12, 2015 #2
    Being a programmer or software engineer is a possible option since their is not necessarily a standardized education for those positions. Just have to be adept at programming (which is usually self taught with enough dedication)

    Forensic Science
    Principal Antenna Engineer
    Plasma Etching Engineer
    Research Technician
    Scientific Programming Analyst
    Radio Frequency Development
    Health Physics
    Environmental Science

    These are just a few results I found based on actual job ads from companies. It is true that Physics does not specifically train you for a particular job, but unlike what people may tell you (especially on this forum) is that their are companies that do hire physics majors. Some of the jobs I listed will require some form of advanced/additional education. However, most of them will hire Physics BS.

    At the end of the day, INTERNSHIPS seem to dominate overall, with GPA being focused upon if you lack the former. Even with a Engineering degree, if you have (GPA < 3.0), you will struggle to find a decent job (unless you have connections, obviously). Internships help because regardless of your degree, you need to be trained to do a specific task on the job. My only advice is that you need to be fast, but effective learner (which applies to any field of study).

    You can not do every Engineering job since some require (ABET) and other others require pursuit of a (PE). So look for the positions where Physics majors are also considered.

    It will still be difficult to find a job even with relevant education.

    You have options being a Physics major, and I hope some other people will give feedback.

    P.S. I have a Physics BS myself, and personally I admit that you will have more options if you get an advanced degree in Engineering or CS related fields (which I am doing now). But you dont have to pursue education as career if you dont want to ( I know I am not).
  4. Jun 13, 2015 #3
    A bachelor's degree in physics primarily qualifies you to get a Ph.D. in physics, which is the degree you need if you want to work *in physics*.

    But if you *don't* want to do research in physics, why would you even *consider* majoring in physics? Because getting a job is too easy and you want a challenge?!?

    Yes, there are many jobs that a physics graduate can get. But you will be an employer's second choice for most of them.
  5. Jun 13, 2015 #4

    I understand what you are saying, and to be honest I never really wanted to major in physics. My first plans were not working out and I refused to get a technology degree (which may have been somewhat more employable at the big risk of limited grad school options ).

    If the OP has a specific path in mind he should take it. I'm only saying that their ARE GOOD OPTIONS for people with physics degrees.

    The jobs I listeded can be filled by different degrees cause no one degree will give you enough background to do that job. In fact they are more interested in your intern experiences/related REU.

    And keep in mind for the grad level your BS becomes less important (I should know). The only case this is not true is when the job specifically requires PE, in which case a BS would of sufficed in Engineering.

    TMFKAN64 makes a good point, you would have better options with an engineering degree. I was only try to help. But I'm sorry sorry I have a worthless Physics BS. I'm sorry I wasted your time. TMF I hope your happy.
  6. Jun 13, 2015 #5
    I didn't interpret TMFKAN64's response being to you VoloD, but to the OP.

    I actually thought your post was a good one VoloD.
  7. Jun 13, 2015 #6
    Thank You. Yes I know he was speaking to the OP . I just have a lot regrets. I'm haunted by my past and I don't wish that for anyone.
  8. Jun 13, 2015 #7
    No, you misunderstand me. There is nothing wrong with getting a physics degree... if you want to pursue physics. A physics degree shows that you are smart and trainable, and there are many good "Plan B" options if getting into research doesn't work out. (And it often doesn't, but that's another subject entirely.)

    However, the OP doesn't seem to have started a degree yet. And if that's the case, there is no point in getting a degree that doesn't take him/her where he/she wants to go. There are better options, and before you even start is the time to take them.
  9. Jun 13, 2015 #8
    We're all haunted by our pasts.

    I didn't mean anything to be a criticism of your choices at all.
  10. Jun 13, 2015 #9
    I'll say one more thing... there is a *world* of difference between saying "I got a degree in field A, but I'd like to get into field B" and saying "My plan is to get a degree in field A and then go into field B." People make mistakes or change their minds all of the time, that's life. But generally speaking, *planning* things that way is a big mistake.

    (And for the record, I'm one of those "I got a degree in field A but I'd like to get into field B" people.)
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2015
  11. Jun 15, 2015 #10
    Thanks a ton for the vast scope of choices i have if i study BS physics, ill find out about these careers further. However, ive heard rumours that doing a CS related degree like MCA,will later affect me in getting a job since i will only be a 2nd option to the interviewer because students with BCA-->MCA wil have the priority. Is it true? Further I would also like to know more about internships which you mentioned,and how to find them or apply for them.
  12. Jun 15, 2015 #11
    Correct me if i'm wrong, but is researching in physics equivalent to a job? Can you explain why do you use the term 'work in physics'? Because I find Ph.D. as more of another educational degree that i need to study to achieve,rather than thinking of it as a job.
  13. Jun 15, 2015 #12


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  14. Jun 15, 2015 #13
  15. Jun 15, 2015 #14


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    There's no piece of paper that tells you that you can get a job in industry. There are many different types of jobs.
  16. Jun 16, 2015 #15
    No academic degree is equivalent to a job. No piece of paper guarantees that you will find work.

    That said, researching in physics is certainly a job, and it's the job that Ph.D.s in physics usually aspire to. If you spend many years of your life acquiring specialized knowledge, typically, you want to apply this knowledge in a job after you graduate. For someone who studies physics, that means doing research, either in academia or in industry.

    However, having a Ph.D. (or a B.S.) in physics can certainly lead to other jobs. As others have pointed out, there are plenty of former physics students who are currently coding for a living. Computer programming is a fine career. But if your *goal* is to be a computer programmer, don't study physics, study software engineering or computer science.
  17. Jun 19, 2015 #16
    It would not be very suprising if someone with a BCA had an easier time getting into a MCA program since they are directly related to each other. However, as with most fields, the fact that you have good interns and co-ops will matter alot more than your BS once you have achieved your MCA degree.

    As others have said...there really is not a reason to pursue Physics unless you want to be a PhD physicists. Now there are WAY more options than just teaching contrary to the ignorance of the public, but to be fair there are more direct means by which to obtain those jobs.

    Also, contrary to public opinion, there is actually Physics Education BS which offered a lighter course load than a pure Physics BS. With that said, if you did want to pursue and Education career, people would pick the Physics Education as it is alot easier than getting the pure subject degree. At best, a Physics BS offers a wide range of opportunities for Specialties in Higher Education (Graduate School, Med School, Law ). Some specific examples (Medical or Health Physics) will benefit more directly.

    As for the jobs I mentioned


    I got most of my examples from job sites like this. My only warning is that if you dont want education options, you will have to adjust the search features for your profile to not include them. Thats what I do, and I usually get a good amount of results. Make sure to go to the company website if you actually were to apply instead of using your profile.

    But for the most part, dont jump into Physics as your first choice. Go into CS or Engineering if that is what directly leads to you to the job you want.

    As I said before, I only did Physics because I struggled at my old school and none of the other options impressed me. I did not really like programming, and I was not thrilled about being a discount engineer (which unfortunately is how they treat technology degrees).
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