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Physicist title

  • Thread starter Legion81
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"Physicist" title

I'm not sure what section to post this in, so I guess this one will have to do.

I was recently told by an engineer that they have the title "Engineer" with a bachelor degree. I have always assumed the title "Physicist" was reserved for someone with a phd. But that got me to wondering, what do you call someone with a bachelor's or master's degree in physics? Does it depend on the place of employment? It seems misleading for someone to say they are a physicist if they don't have a phd.
 

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  • #2
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hi,
if you work or earn with the help of physics...then you can call your self as physicist.
but i always think physicist are persons who understand the theory behind physics of some process and write some codes/programs for theory..
 
  • #3
ZapperZ
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I'm not sure what section to post this in, so I guess this one will have to do.

I was recently told by an engineer that they have the title "Engineer" with a bachelor degree. I have always assumed the title "Physicist" was reserved for someone with a phd. But that got me to wondering, what do you call someone with a bachelor's or master's degree in physics? Does it depend on the place of employment? It seems misleading for someone to say they are a physicist if they don't have a phd.
Anyone with a physics degree, or working in physics, can call him/herself a physicist.

However, titles like this are often dependent on the nature of your job and your employment. There are many physicists who are called "Engineers", because that is the title of the job they do at the place of employment. The same is true for engineers that take on the responsibility of a physicists. So very often, your employment dictates your official title.

Zz.
 
  • #4
Borek
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In Poland to call yourself Enginner you need to be certfied as one, Physicist is not a title that requires certification. Not sure about details, but from what I haerd some system of certifications works in US as well.
 
  • #5


However, titles like this are often dependent on the nature of your job and your employment. There are many physicists who are called "Engineers", because that is the title of the job they do at the place of employment. The same is true for engineers that take on the responsibility of a physicists. So very often, your employment dictates your official title.
Zz.
I second this. When I did research at the Air Force Research Labs, my title was "Research Engineer (pay grade GS ___)" although at the time my only degree was a bachelor's in physics... but I had one friend whose degrees (up through Ph.D.) were in engineering, and he was labeled a "Research Physicist, GS___."

In the US (and many countries) there is a certification process for engineering -- here in the US known as becoming a "Professional Engineer (PE)." To do that, at least presently in the US, you need a Bachelor's degree in engineering from an accredited university, a few years experience in the field of engineering, and you need to then pass a series of tests, including a test in your particular field/branch of engineering. Note, I can't qualify for the PE tests because my undergraduate degree is in physics, even though I have a Master's in Engineering.... so under the present system I can't ever get to a "PE" (although there's starting to be some talk about allowing individuals to take the tests if their degree is in a related field and they have an MS from an accredited engineering program).
 
  • #6
mgb_phys
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Same here, degree/Phd in physics - but so far into experimental physics that it was really engineering.
Here in Canada you can't even be an MSCE (microsoft certified engineer) because only PEng can use the title engineer - it involves a certain amount of creative writing in technical job descriptions.
 
  • #7
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This seems to differ in each country. In The Netherlands, we used to have 2 engineering titles, ing. and ir. The first required a diploma from a special kind of school, comparable to bachelor level. The second one required a university diploma (comparable to masters degree, those universities didn't give out "bachelors", you'd ave to complete the whole program) in an engineering field.

For physicists there was no special title: you either was drs. (from latin docterandus, "he who must become doctor", masters degree), dr. (PhD) of ir. (masters in applied physics).

This has changed now and we are moving to a bachelor/master system (mostly for international contacts, a university bachelor is still looked uppon as someone who didn't finisch his or her study), however, many (like me) still prefer to use our "old" titles. Must be some kind of snobism. :-)
 
  • #8
ZapperZ
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I think you are confusing with the "title" of a conferred degree to the title being given in terms of "job description". I don't think the former is what is being asked here.

Zz.
 
  • #9
Choppy
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The Canadian Association of Physicists has, for about a decade now, been promoting the recognition of working physicists with a professional physicist designation, P.Phys.

To qualify, you essentially need to have a recognized undergraduate degree in physics and have some experience with physics-related work (the definition of which is quite broad). While I don't agree or disagree that a legal designation is necessary, I think what this demonstrates is a formal recognition (in Canada anyway) of who should be called a "physicist."

For anyone interested:
http://www.cap.ca/en/node/1086
 

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