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Job stability and money in experimental physics and for postdocs

  1. Jul 21, 2013 #1
    I'm in my last year of college as an undergraduate physics B.S. and have so far tried astronomy and materials science research internships and haven't liked either of them that much. I enjoy the theory behind astrophysics but don't enjoy programming all day. On the other hand, I like the experimental aspect of materials science but find the theory behind it dry and technical. Because of this I don't think I'd like condensed matter physics or solid state physics very much and want to branch out into all of the other fields. I've heard though, that those fields have less job stability and a lot of people end up being permanent post-docs while trying to get into academia since a lot of fields are useless for industry. How much do post-docs make? I've heard it's anywhere from 30k-50k per year and some people just become post-docs and industry scientists make 90K+ per year. Is it always easy to get post-doc positions? I feel like I'd rather work in a field I really like than make more money but I want to make sure I have enough to live off of. My family makes about 30K per year and used to make like 50K per year so from my perspective 50K for one person is a lot of money. However, I'm worried about unemployment later in life and want to make enough so I can help my parents in their retirement.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2013 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    In HEP, somewhere between 50 and 75% of the graduates get postdocs. This number varies by subfield. Postdocs are typically 3 years long, and people usually do one or two of them.
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