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Theoretical Physics Ph.D and then switch to Engineering?

  1. Forget about Engineering, stay in Physics!

    2 vote(s)
    50.0%
  2. Maybe you should get a degree in Engineering after your Ph.D in Physics

    2 vote(s)
    50.0%
  1. Dec 13, 2009 #1
    I am still a senior in high school and I am goin go to graduate next year and go to university next year.

    I was in the career center today and the teacher asked how many students here are pursuing a career in Physics? And a few of us put our hands up.

    The teacher said that it is a wise choice because in this near future, a career in Physics will be a well off job.

    I am somewhat delighted to hear this because I always thought that jobs like Pharmacy, Doctors, or Lawyers maintain a profitable income. Now I have come to learn the Physics can too.

    Now here is (or are...) the problems. I realize that the "Physics career" that will make a lot of $$$ are Engineers, not Physicists. I am not even sure what type of income will a Physicist make or even who will hire a Physicist because I am not the only Physicist in the world and I do not think my job will be a great demand to society.

    Now I plan to get a Ph.D in Physics, particularly in Theoretical Physics and then perhaps go take undergrad courses for Engineering. I know this sounds really stupid, but how well a Theoretical Physicist stand in an Engineering course? I hear that a Bachelor is enough to get me a decent job.

    My high school Physics teacher has a Ph.D in Physics and I hear that he makes approximately $20,000 more than the other regular teachers in my school based on an annual income. But is he just lucky?

    Obviously there is a wide range of engineering jobs out there, but which is the most stable for $$$$? I hear Chemical Engineering is one. Not sure about unpopular Engineering like Material Engineering. My old math tutor has a Masters in Electrical Engineering and now he works as a tuition institution, how much he makes I have never asked him, but he once told me that companies who hire Engineers do not really care about your degree.

    I know I am insane. I am Canadian, applying to University of British Columbia.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 13, 2009 #2
    The educational system might be different in Canada than in the US... but down south, teacher pay within a particular school district is purely a function of years of experience, with a bonus for additional education. If your physics teacher is very experienced, he might very well be making $20K more than teachers with less experience and no M.S. or Ph.D.

    As for getting a bachelor's degree in engineering *after* a Ph.D. in physics... well... keep in mind you will probably be close to 30 before you have a Ph.D. At some point in your life, you are going to want to get a job and make a little money... :-)
     
  4. Dec 14, 2009 #3
    Oops selected wrong poll option...

    I don't think that doing an undergraduate degree in engineering after a PhD is a wise choice at all. If your that adamant that you may not want to stay in physics then perhaps consider going for a double major if not just a major in engineering? You can always take electives from physics. A physicist in academia (and teaching) will not, generally, earn the types of wages that can be found in the private sector.

    For some areas of engineering you will need to go through accredited degrees often ending up with chartered status/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Licensure" [Broken]. This should certainly be a consideration.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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