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Physics Careers in Physics?

  1. Dec 21, 2008 #1
    Ok, I know there are probably plenty of posts on the site about this sort of thing, but I'd like to hear what you guys think. I'm a junior in high school and i really love physics. I consider myself "advanced" in the subject, for I read book after book about physics, string theory, particle physics, etc, and I also take my school's AP Physics class as well as a nuclear physics online class. I really want to study this in college, and go on further to get a career in the field. However, I'm a bit unsure as to what there is out there for careers. I would really love to teach on the college level, perhaps even the high school level. I plan on going for grad school as well. What would it take to become a teacher or even a professor, and what else is there out there in the field? Is it worth obtaining a career in physics, is there money to be made? Maybe even a job in research would be nice, but then again I have no idea what there is. Thank you very much for any information!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 23, 2008 #2


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    I've mentioned this elsewhere and its not that theoretical nor very glamourous but a career in Medical Physics seems to me to be a slam dunk for someone wanting to practice physics, with good pay, and put it to good use within a short period of time as a post doc or even in graduate studies.
  4. Dec 24, 2008 #3
    You could also look at the Navy Nuclear Program. It would be easy to get a engineering technologist degree almost by the time you get out and with going through the navy nuke program you would be very sought after in the job market.

    Just a thought.
  5. Dec 30, 2008 #4
    seemes we are in the same boat here...what I have to say is that mass media makes researchers look like some kind of super genius,and if you want to be one you have to be realy special...like a nobile or something...this is rong! there is a lot of work required,yes,but with your ambition,have no doubt!you can become one...and the pay is awsome...in nanotech I saw an offer(here,on physics forum) of 25 000 pounds...that's like 50 000 euros!
    personaly I don't recomand teaching in high-school,unless you realy like it...in my country(Romania) the educational system is a mess! no one realy learns something,and teachers,besides a very small salary,are the laughing stok of some ****** that are there only for the diploma...I'm shore in your contry things are a lot better,but still,researcing beats everything!I'd rather be a physicist then a president,or a rock star!
  6. Dec 30, 2008 #5
    so your a junior in high school and you can go through books on string theory, nuclear physics and particle physics which involves massive quantum mechancis understanding and mathematical capability unless your books have no math in them or something?
  7. Dec 30, 2008 #6
    This is a really, really, really bad measure of the financial value a career affords. It's something like saying "my credit card monthly minimum payment is awesomely low!"
  8. Dec 30, 2008 #7
    well i can get through it without the math. its like understanding how a computer runs but not knowing the parts that make it up. I vaguely understand some of the "simpler" math behind it, and im reading Road to Reality by Roger Penrose which explains a lot of the math, but most of it i am completely lost. I hope that in college it will become more clear.
  9. Jan 8, 2009 #8
    i am also facing the same issue although i am more behind. i am a senior in hs and currently breezing through basic physics. it does not interest me at all. But my curosity to understand the quantum world and the things beyond what most people know is my lifetime aspiration. i am trying to get into books with the quantum theories (michio kaku!) also, but college is time consuming and making it difficult for me to control my free time. Even though i love physics, i dont know what job would be waiting for it. With a physics major, im sure you can do a variety of things such as computer engineering, aero dynamics, teacher, or whatever. But i want to become a real physicist and i want to know what it takes and the career path i should take. also classes, grad school, etc.
  10. Jan 8, 2009 #9
    take it one step at a time - if you like reading popular physics books, read them; study physics in school - take a class, if you still like it consider it as a major. Even if you eventually do something other than grad school - post grad - 'real physicist researcher...' remember that not one minute of what you studied was wasted because it (1) teaches you how the world works and (2) teaches you how to think for yourself. anyway, if you're still in high school you dont have to plot out the rest of your life. Do what you love doing. If you stop loving it, you can do something else.
  11. Jan 11, 2009 #10
    thats actually great advice. thank you for that, gmax. And you are exactly right. I love physics and reading about advanced stuff. It teaches me to think logically and creativity and view this world as something more than what i see. Hopefully i can make some money doing that as well, but i guess we will have to see.
  12. Jan 12, 2009 #11


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    Here's some more ideas for a career in Applied Physics.

    These occupations would ensure that you get paid a "good" salary
    if you decide to work toward one of them.

    http://appliedphysics.csuci.edu/career_options.htm [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
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