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Physics Would I qualify for a patent examiner position with a BA in physics?

  1. Apr 10, 2012 #1
    More generally, what kind of jobs can a person who has a BA in physics qualify for? Because I received average grades in college, I have been trying to apply for any job at this point (from IT entry level help desk jobs to laboratory assistant jobs , to admin office and processing assistant jobs, to just plain old retail jobs) and so far , I have had no luck in being accepted for a job position for any of the job categories I applied in and it has been two years since I graduated from my university. I have a well written cover letter and resume. I know internships are mostly geared towards college students, but does anyone know of any internships for college graduates? I have been unable to find any. I am getting desperate here.Anyone here on this forum who has worked as a patent examiner know what type of background the job applicant must have before becoming a patent examiner besides a college degree? Thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 11, 2012 #2
    Really? No one here has worked as a patent examiner or earned a BA in physics and tried to get various job with their BA in physics ?
  4. Apr 11, 2012 #3

  5. Apr 11, 2012 #4
    I have no idea what the requirements for you to get a job as a patent examiner are because I don't know where you live. It varies by country.

    In the US a BS and passing the patent bar are a good start towards getting a job with the USPTO.
  6. Apr 11, 2012 #5


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    I have a few friends working for the patent office with physics degrees, but they've all got masters degrees in physics. That might be a requirement.
  7. Apr 11, 2012 #6
    Well, what other kinds of jobs can you get with a BA in physics? I tried applying for entry level help desks jobs in Information technology , but no avail :( Its been almost two years. I thought that having a 4 year degree in physics, even if its a semi-liberal arts degrees, would put me at some advantage above the average competitor in the labor market in the US.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  8. Apr 11, 2012 #7
    It is not.

    From the http://www.uspto.gov/ip/boards/oed/GRB_March_2012.pdf [Broken]:

    Emphasis mine.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  9. Apr 11, 2012 #8
    I guess it depends on what skills you pick up in the process. There are plenty of graduates with PhD’s in physics who have almost no employable skills at all (“Problem Solving” teehee). However if you did some computational work and/or actual lab work things might be different. There are so many of these “What do I do with my BS in physics” threads I can’t really keep up with them, but in a recent (last couple of months) one a list was made of some skills that are really useful. Do a search and see if you can track it down.
  10. Apr 11, 2012 #9
    And hey, with some additional training, you might well be qualified for this job posted just now in the physics forums employment area:

    (Apoligies to Greg if that sounds snarky; It's probably a solid job with good career prospects. It's just that working with plumbing after getting a physics degree smells like broken dreams.)
  11. Apr 11, 2012 #10
    Hah, I just had this startlingly clear memory of standing behind the reactor with a wench in one hand, a busted hose in another, up to my ankles in coolant, and thinking “A plumber gets paid four times as much to do this. . .”

    That’s two lumps of irony, a dose of sad, and a spoonful of funny, which is exactly how I would like my coffee, if I drank it.

    But now you’re free of me, because my lunch is finished and I have work due in 50 minutes.
  12. Apr 11, 2012 #11
    I have many friends who have bachelors, masters, and PhDs in math and physics. Most (barely over 50%) of them are still unemployed 5+ years after their degree. It's pretty sad considering they are some of the smartest people I know.

    The ones who found jobs:

    -one started as a teller at a bank and now is a home loan specialist, he did his PhD in physics
    -one is an actuary, she did her masters in applied math
    -another found a job teaching at a private high school, he did his M.S. in physics
    -Saad ended up joining the army and is going to med school through them; he did his B.A. in physics then enlisted after a few years of unemployment
    -one other guy I know has a PhD in math, pretty sure he was an algebraic geometer, anyway, he is now a regional starbucks manager who got his start as a barista while he was still finishing his dissertation.

    The people I know who are still unemployed have had a difficult time due to the job market itself (obviously), and that they have constraints on where they are looking or are still looking for work in their field. Apparently a few of them have defaulted on their school loans so they think they run into a lot of HR tossing their applications after running credit checks (not sure how true that is though) and also that they are intelligible for government positions given their default status on government loans (again, not sure if that's true or not). They aren't the most social of people to begin with, so networking is probably not getting them many new opportunities.

    So if none of the above stuff is really keeping you down, then just keep on going and keep your hopes up.

    I have no direct knowledge of anything along the lines of becoming a patent examiner, but maybe you could broaden your search to look for jobs that worked for some of my acquaintances: banks, actuarial work, private schools, military, etc...

    good luck!
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  13. Apr 11, 2012 #12
    I know three people with bachelors who worked for periods of time as patent examiners. Two majored in physics, one did CS.
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