Job prospects for accelerator physics

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  • Thread starter ersa17
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For a while, I was thinking about pursuing my Master's in physics specializing in accelerator physics for the reasons that, one, it seemed quite fun because it was a mixture of physics and engineering both and I could learn a lot of cool things to do with the particle accelerator(both in industry and research laboratory), and second, it seemed to have a greater job prospect.

But now I am confused as I don't see a lot of jobs for someone with a master's degree in accelerator physics. I see the job vacancies especially for Postdocs or some accelerator physicists with tons of experience but for short-term contracts. I am not interested in going to academia(teaching). I am open to going to either an industry or research laboratory but I didn't see a lot of job vacancies. (Maybe I could be wrong)

I know the question might be a little vague but, what are the job prospects for a master's in accelerator physics in Germany or European countries for an international student? Is it necessary to have a Ph.D.? I think a master's in the USA is quite expensive but have quite good opportunities for jobs compared to European countries. But, for now, I cannot afford to go to the USA, and getting a job in the USA with a german degree seems difficult.

P.S I am talking about long term job prospects because there are no such job opportunities in my country. I would appreciate it if someone could share their insight regarding this topic on job prospects.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Vanadium 50
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With an MS you will not be a researcher. You may hold a technical position, such as operator.
 
  • #3
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With an MS you will not be a researcher. You may hold a technical position, such as operator.
Thank you for your comment. I am aware about the jobs for acceeleator operator. I just wanted to know if there are some other possibilities as well.
 
  • #4
50
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Does it have to be accelerator physics? How about something like Computational Engineering?

https://me.stanford.edu/research-impact/research-areas/research-area-computational-engineering

BTW, I did not find a Master's degree expensive to obtain in the USA, however I am American born
and I easily got support . From what I can see from recent graduates, there is a large fraction of
foreign-born Asian students in the engineering field, particularly ECE, and they seem to do OK with
limited funds and support. You may also be able to support yourself with Summer internships in
industry.
 
  • #5
138
26
For a while, I was thinking about pursuing my Master's in physics specializing in accelerator physics for the reasons that, one, it seemed quite fun because it was a mixture of physics and engineering both and I could learn a lot of cool things to do with the particle accelerator(both in industry and research laboratory), and second, it seemed to have a greater job prospect.

But now I am confused as I don't see a lot of jobs for someone with a master's degree in accelerator physics. I see the job vacancies especially for Postdocs or some accelerator physicists with tons of experience but for short-term contracts. I am not interested in going to academia(teaching). I am open to going to either an industry or research laboratory but I didn't see a lot of job vacancies. (Maybe I could be wrong)

I know the question might be a little vague but, what are the job prospects for a master's in accelerator physics in Germany or European countries for an international student? Is it necessary to have a Ph.D.? I think a master's in the USA is quite expensive but have quite good opportunities for jobs compared to European countries. But, for now, I cannot afford to go to the USA, and getting a job in the USA with a german degree seems difficult.

P.S I am talking about long term job prospects because there are no such job opportunities in my country. I would appreciate it if someone could share their insight regarding this topic on job prospects.

The main accelerator physics job I can think of is that related to medical physics. Currently, the business of medical accelerators is booming... The most widely used ones as far as I know are cyclotrons. They are used to make radioactive injections for PET and SPECT scans.

In the time being, there is also a rise in the use of proton/ion treatment. That is, direct bombardment of particles with cancerous cells.

Thus, you are looking at companies like SIEMENS and General Electric. They are the two largest manufacturers of medical equipment.

If you like the idea of cancer treatment with particle accelerators. You might want to consider an M.S.c in medical physics that focuses on particle accelerators. This way, you will not only open to yourself opportunities in manufacturing companies like SIEMENS, but, you will also open to yourself the wide and HUGE door to hospitals. Hospitals that have medical accelerators need technicians who can run the accelerators, maintain them, produce the radioactive material as well as making quality assurance and quality control reports.

You can also work at universities that have accelerator laboratories.
 
  • #6
13
2
The main accelerator physics job I can think of is that related to medical physics. Currently, the business of medical accelerators is booming... The most widely used ones as far as I know are cyclotrons. They are used to make radioactive injections for PET and SPECT scans.

In the time being, there is also a rise in the use of proton/ion treatment. That is, direct bombardment of particles with cancerous cells.

Thus, you are looking at companies like SIEMENS and General Electric. They are the two largest manufacturers of medical equipment.

If you like the idea of cancer treatment with particle accelerators. You might want to consider an M.S.c in medical physics that focuses on particle accelerators. This way, you will not only open to yourself opportunities in manufacturing companies like SIEMENS, but, you will also open to yourself the wide and HUGE door to hospitals. Hospitals that have medical accelerators need technicians who can run the accelerators, maintain them, produce the radioactive material as well as making quality assurance and quality control reports.

You can also work at universities that have accelerator laboratories.
Thanks for the suggestion. Although I am not really interested in medical field, I like the idea of designing medical particle accelerator. I might not take medical physics as my major, but I might take some courses on medical physics as well. I want to keep my field open for different applicattions of accelerators. If I enjoy accelerator physics much more, I might wanna go for PhD to work in national laboratories. However, I think there are alot of applications in industries as well, so I hope a major in accelerator physics won't hurt if going for manufacturing medical particle accelerators. Except, for SIEMEMS and General Electric -which seems to be in USA- can you suggest me what are the prospects in Europe, particularly in Germany?
 
  • #7
138
26
Except, for SIEMEMS and General Electric -which seems to be in USA- can you suggest me what are the prospects in Europe, particularly in Germany?

GE is American, SIEMENS is German.
 
  • #9
JonasKK
Gold Member
11
17
IBA makes medical cyclotrons in Belgium.

As was mentioned above, a PhD is a requirement if you want to hold a research position. With e.g. an engineering degree you can work on components for accelerators such as RF cavities, magnets and vacuum components. If you want to do beam dynamics you should study a MSc and then PhD in physics - and even then the job prospects in research are limited.

Your best chances would be related to medical physics as suggested above or one of the (many!) engineering disciplines that are relevant for accelerators.
 
  • #10
JonasKK
Gold Member
11
17
Just to add to my last comment: If you're interested in working at the national laboratories around Europe, you can always check what kinds of positions they have open right now to get a feeling of the job prospects. Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of the larger laboratories (heavily light source biased) in Europe from the top of my head:
Other honorary mentions:
There are many very small laboratories around in Europe that I know very little about too.
 

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