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Jobs for physics bachelors

  1. Feb 15, 2007 #1
    i'm sure this has been covered elsewhere in the forum, but what sort of jobs are out there for people with physics bachelors degrees to get involved in research if there are any? it seems like all REU type jobs are for students (which after i graduate i will technically not be). i applied to some grad programs but my subject gre's weren't so hot (45th percentile) and i haven't gotten in any top~20 programs, so i was looking to maybe skip grad school for a year, do some work that will hopefully give me more research experience, score better on the physics gre's and hopefully be more competitive next year. my preference would be astrophysics but anything research-oriented would be great.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 15, 2007 #2
    BSs in Physics almost always work as Engineers. They do not do physics. In order to do physics you need a PhD. Sorry.
  4. Feb 15, 2007 #3
    Isnt it also possible to be a minor staff researcher, kind of like an aide or an assistant researcher or something
  5. Feb 15, 2007 #4
    From my experience (and not necessarily fact!) if you want to do research oriented stuff as a physics bachelor you'll have to look at places like Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, MITs Lincoln Lab, and maybe something like Fermilab. I do know that you won't get a real research job at Fermi, but you are eligible for jobs like Accelerator Operator.

    Also, did you apply to any graduate programs that aren't in the top 20? You can get a fine education in many places.

    Good luck!
  6. Feb 15, 2007 #5
    I recently got my bachelor's in physics, and after looking for jobs for an entire semester, I found that getting a physics-related job is exceedingly difficult. Personally I think that grad school is the way to go.

    BTW I got about the same GRE score as you, and I recently got accepted into a grad program. If you have good grades, you should be OK.
  7. Feb 15, 2007 #6
    Yeah I know about APL since I'm from maryland, thats definitley one of the places I'm looking at. I also applied to brookhaven national lab to be an accelerator operator a few days ago and was probably going to do the same at some of the other national labs.

    I applied to couple sort of "back-up" schools that aren't as well known and had free application fees. I started thinking about taking a year off though and the idea sort of appealed to me, getting to make some money for a year and taking some time to make sure this is what I want to do before I sign off the next 6 years of my life plus the possibility of getting into a better program.
  8. Feb 16, 2007 #7


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    No, because we have graduate students to do that. They are cheaper and do not need to be fed as often.

  9. Feb 16, 2007 #8
    You can do medical physics, you just need to get on the payroll then they send you to do a masters then hey presto your a clinical scientist. Takes about 3 years and then you get to mess around inventing new clinical techniques and testing out ultrasound devices etc.
  10. Feb 16, 2007 #9
    Doing medical should have some amount of biology knowledge, so how many should they need? What if a person didn't study biology even before, are he/she can take medical physics when entering physics major?
  11. Feb 16, 2007 #10
    It's a masters usually done after a physics degree,so not necessarilly, some clinical scientist jobs require biology but with most it's physics, and you'll learn everything you need to know in the masters, mostly you'll be dealing with, X-rays, ultrasound, MRI's and PET scanners, so most of it these days is physics.Of the clinical scientists I know, none studied biology, they all did a degree in physics.

    Which kind of explains why the department I work in is called Medical Physics :smile: there are some PhD's as well, depends what your doing really.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2007
  12. Feb 16, 2007 #11
    Just a side question: how easy would it be for me to become involved in medical physics after getting a PhD in physics? I certainly don't intend to end my physics education with a Bachelor's, but medical physics does seem rather interesting.
  13. Feb 16, 2007 #12
    First year undergrad anatomy and physiology are about all the biology most medical physicists need. A little bit of pharmacy and lab experience is also helpful if you're interested in nuclear medicine. it's nothing that can't be picked up pretty easily on your own or as part of the coursework in a graduate degree.
  14. Feb 16, 2007 #13
    A CAMPEP accredited residency program is the best route to take. Or you could do your PhD in an accredited medical physics program followed by the residency. It should also be possible to find a few other non-accredited (or just not accredited yet) training programs to go through. The primary goal of the residency program is to get the 2 years of clinical experience needed to sit for the board exam.
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