Healthcare careers after physics

  • Physics
  • Thread starter Mcdoorknob
  • Start date
  • #1
Mcdoorknob
3
4
Hello,

I finished my BS in Physics last April and have yet to find any meaningful employment, only manual labour. I did very well in school, was always top in my class, and finished with a cumulative 85% average (even higher in physics courses). I took lots of classics history and Greek/Latin language courses to make sure I had some skills other than just math and physics. I was hoping that this combined with some research experience would let me find a decent job with an undergraduate degree. Unfortunately, I have only had one screening interview since graduating despite many applications and resume revisions.

I believe that my best chance of a job would be related to healthcare as my resume points towards that industry (physics research in NMR and clinical research work). I'm looking for guidance on finding employment with my background. I have a pretty broad skillset (decent at programming, very mechanically inclined as I love working on cars and motorcycles, writing/communicating, teaching, have started a small paving business) and know that I would be of use to many employers, but I guess I am having a difficult time convincing them of that.

Any help would be appreciated. I am married and not particularly looking forward to another year of unemployment or unskilled work.
 
  • Like
Likes Lnewqban and PhDeezNutz

Answers and Replies

  • #2
gleem
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
2,085
1,521
I took lots of classics history and Greek/Latin language courses to make sure I had some skills other than just math and physics.

Are you looking at the right companies? The American Institute of Physics has a list of companies that have recently hired bachelor physics graduate according to state

https://www.aip.org/statistics/whos-hiring-physics-bachelors

Wouldn't it have been better to augment your physics courses with something a bit more relevant to physics like computer science or engineering courses? Greek/Latin and History? What were you thinking?
 
  • #3
Locrian
1,882
253
Have you looked into entry level data analyst work? How did those applications go?

Are you geographically flexible?
 
  • #4
gleem
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
2,085
1,521
Getting back to your interest in health care. There is a position in some hospitals referred to as a (medical) physics assistant. The job involves performing routine medical physics tasks usually in the radiation oncology or diagnostic radiology department. Other possibilities might be as a health physics technician in a radiation safety department of a university hospital or a company that uses radioisotopes. Typically they might like you to have experience but the job should be easily learned for a motivated person.
 
  • Informative
  • Like
Likes Lnewqban and berkeman
  • #5
Mcdoorknob
3
4
Getting back to your interest in health care. There is a position in some hospitals referred to as a (medical) physics assistant. The job involves performing routine medical physics tasks usually in the radiation oncology or diagnostic radiology department. Other possibilities might be as a health physics technician in a radiation safety department of a university hospital or a company that uses radioisotopes. Typically they might like you to have experience but the job should be easily learned for a motivated person.

Thanks for the information, I wasn't aware of such a position.

I know that part of my problem is that I'm constrained to my current location until my wife finishes her education, but healthcare is ubiquitous so I thought that it was a good area to search.
 
  • #6
Mcdoorknob
3
4
What were you thinking?

Well, I tried to get into medical school, and they tend to frown upon applicants with only a scientific background and no humanities...they like the word "holistic".

Overall I think these types of courses were helpful for reading and writing and improve my chances for medical school - I scored above 95th percentile on the critical analysis portion of the mcat.
 
  • Like
Likes Lnewqban and Keith_McClary
  • #7
StatGuy2000
Education Advisor
1,932
1,050
Well, I tried to get into medical school, and they tend to frown upon applicants with only a scientific background and no humanities...they like the word "holistic".

Overall I think these types of courses were helpful for reading and writing and improve my chances for medical school - I scored above 95th percentile on the critical analysis portion of the mcat.

You mentioned that you tried to get into medical school. I take it that you were not accepted to medical school -- am I correct in that? I have a few other questions:

1. Are you still ultimately interested in getting into medical school and becoming a physician?

2. Are you open to pursuing further graduate studies?

If the answer to #1 is yes, then my suggestion would be to see why you were rejected to medical school in the first place and check about applying again.

If the answer to #1 is no, but #2 is yes, then I can think of one of 2 possibilities:

1. Further graduate studies into medical physics (either a Masters or PhD degree program) -- this would combine your physics background with your interest in health care rather seamlessly. @Choppy is our resident medical physicist here on PF -- you can try searching his posts here on PF regarding opportunities in that field, and on steps on getting into the field.

2. Further graduate studies in statistics or biostatistics (either a Masters or a PhD degree program), since you have mentioned you have decent programming expertise and strong writing skills (and presumably strong math background, given your physics degree). There are many opportunities for biostatisticians related to research in clinical trials or health analytics working for hospitals, pharma & biotech companies, and consulting firms. I myself work as a biostatistician -- feel free to reply here or PM me for further information.
 
  • #8
Zap
403
118
You can definitely find a job with your physics degree. I got a job offer last week to be a research physicist, and I currently work as a data scientist. It just takes time, and with some luck, as long as you keep trying, you can find something. I got accepted to a paid data science training program, and there's all sorts of things like that. Going back to school is not your only option.

But, to your topic, I was really interested in a master's program in MRI. The master's program was like 100k though, but it was in beverly hills at Cedars-Sinai. It just sounded so cool. Anyway, I never wen through with it, which was probably for the best. I loved spectroscopy, but o well. Plus, there is a lot of data science you can do with MRIs, if that's also something you are interested in. I'm just saying to check out master's programs related to MRI in a hospital. You probably wouldn't want to spend 100k on it, though. And yes, there were "financing options," which means taking out a 100k+ loan. God bless America, right?

I also looked into medical physics, but it sounded like being a technician at a hospital, and that didn't really interest me. You seem to enjoy using your hands and doing mechanical stuff. Maybe you would enjoy that, but it would require you to complete a master's program.

Having said all that, you should be able to get a job working with technology with your current skills and education. Don't give up on that.
 
Last edited:
  • #9
hutchphd
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
2022 Award
5,363
4,529
After getting my doctorate in solid state physics I spent a decade trying to do the academic research thing. For a variety of reasons it did not work out.
So I started doing contract work with the help of fiends, mostly for companies doing Medical instrumentation. I designed electronics, optics, thermal control, systems integration, fluorescence, colorimetry, software, calibration protocols and stewarded stuff through FDA compliance. I also enjoyed troubleshooting manufacturing problems using only my fairly rudimentary knowledge of statistical methods. I was very good at getting things done and enjoyed every day whether working a "regular job" of consulting.
Having the advanced degree was useful because I could ask any stupid question I wanted and people always paid attention. Also know a lot of things. But my formal education was all theoretical physics. And everyone is always happy to explain when you ask a good question about their work!
 
  • #10
Lnewqban
Homework Helper
Gold Member
2,641
1,432
If temporarily anchored to a region, I would recommend trying to use your pretty broad skillset somewhere in that area.
Perhaps the health related job should wait until after your wife finds her own job, close to or far from your current location.
 

Suggested for: Healthcare careers after physics

Replies
3
Views
792
Replies
22
Views
506
  • Last Post
Replies
18
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
8
Views
689
Replies
17
Views
903
Replies
11
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
18
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
9
Views
1K
Replies
12
Views
827
Replies
1
Views
936
Top