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PF, I Need Help Finding a Job!

  1. Jan 21, 2015 #1
    Hello everyone,

    Four years ago I went into physics because I was curious and had nothing else to do. As I continued I was pushed and pushed to attend graduate school. For most of my college life I thought that I did want to attend graduate school. However, now that I have decided to think for myself, graduate school is looking less tempting. Of course, the other option is to get a job.

    Let me lay it all out. When I graduate I will have, assuming no disasters, a 3.95 GPA and a B.S. in physics from a small state school in KY. When I search for jobs, many request years of experience or a high level of familiarity with a specific software. What kind of jobs should I be looking for and how should I go about pursuing them? Are the jobs there and I am just missing them? Am I out of luck?

    I appreciate any feedback!

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 21, 2015 #2

    Quantum Defect

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    You can look for jobs in government: USAJOBS.gov There should be some that you would be qualified for with a BS in physics.

    The National Laboraotries (Department of Energy) hire technicians without the PhD.

    Peace Corps is another option.

    Are you interested in teaching? Many schools would be thrilled to have somebody with a phsyics subject matter degree teaching physics. STEM teachers with STEM degrees are attractive to principals. Teaching is not for everyone, however.
  4. Mar 16, 2015 #3


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    Quantum Defect offered excellent advice. If you review your undergraduate coursework and you still have a class or two you can take in engineering, you can help yourself break into the engineering field. I would get a few classes in the area of engineering that might interest you as well. You might get lucky and land an engineering position with a physics degree only, but if you can stack the deck, do so.
  5. Mar 17, 2015 #4
    What job titles have you be looking at so far. Most working BS physicists have jobs in which the term physicist is not a part of the title.
  6. Mar 17, 2015 #5
    Working as an Americorp volunteer for a year typically results in a several month non-compete period where if you are simply qualified for a government job, you'll straight up just get it. That's what my girl ended up doing with her Masters in GIS. The thing is you have to be qualified to do the job to begin with though, so what you did with your undergrad in terms of stuff like REU's, programming, etc. will probably be more telling of your qualifications than just a good (albeit REALLY good) GPA.

    Also she did hate working for Americorp for the year she volunteered, but some people had better experiences than her.

    EDIT: It's PAID volunteer work btw.
  7. Mar 17, 2015 #6
    I highly suggest graduate school of some sort. There are opportunities besides a physics PhD. IMO, a physics BS alone is not very useful for a career.
  8. Mar 27, 2015 #7
    10 days late into this, but I had luck with getting interviews for entry level IT jobs, consulting, and financial analyst jobs. You will not be a physicist anymore, but it is possible to get a job with just a BS. Also I didn't have any programming experience, your life would be easier if you get some.

    Read job descriptions carefully so you know how to target your resume. That's your key to getting past HR, or call up a connection. You can even mail someone who works there or connect with someone through linkedin. Once you are called for an interview, make sure you know what they are looking for. Dig up questions they might ask and practice practice practice!

    However, moving up positions might be harder with just a BS. In some companies it might be hard to move up vertically...
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
  9. Apr 13, 2015 #8


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    Here in California there is a huge demand for STEM high school teachers, and you can even teach as you earn your teaching credentials! If you are looking for a quick job for right now, then California, and high school teachers might be right up your ally. If not, a government job may be helpful. Have you thought about going to graduate school for a degree that is loosely physics related? It would be more difficult, but going from physics to electrical engineering might be an easier transition depending on the courses you have taken in undergrad.
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