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What are some other career options for physics majors besides high school physics teacher?

I'm planning to take more lab courses involving optics, lasers, and coding simulations, but I learned that I definitely don't want to pursue a career in software. I love doing research and am applying to summer internships at national labs. Any other suggestions would be appreciated!

#careers #physics #aerospace #coding #engineering #physicist #research #jobs #optics

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lily’s Answer

Physics is a highly valued skill when applying for investment banking. Though you won't directly be using the skill, studying such a difficult subject displays your ability to think critically and your dedication to hard work, so employers will believe you can be easily trained.

If you love research, you could consider pursuing a PhD and becoming a professor if you are still interested in education but want to work on the side of physics which is constantly applying their knowledge to publications in addition to passing on knowledge to students.

Also an option is to consider becoming interdisciplinary with another one of your passions. How can you combine physics with another field of study such as computer science or engineering? These will make you a unique candidate and help you stand out to broaden the doors for you.

Other interesting career options include(you will have to look into whether or not these involve software, but if you google these options, they are often pursued by people with physics degrees) :

- nuclear power plant manager
- medical device designer
- quality control manager
-satellite data analyst

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Ryan’s Answer

Hi Abby,
There is so many Engineering jobs that go hand in hand with a Physics degree!
- Aerospace
- Ceramic and Materials
- Civil
- Environmental
- Electrical
- Mechanical
and so much more.
You have so many options and potential paths.
Good luck! :)

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John’s Answer

Physics is a great entry discipline for a number of very important fields. Physics is the basis for fields like engineering, astronomy, architecture, quantum mechanics. I agree with an earlier comment that material science has and will continue to be a critical field that is the cutting edge of batteries, mobile devices, computers, medical devices, etc.

I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering and had a professor say that Physics is applied mathematics and that engineering is applied physics. I see a tremendous opportunity in quantum computing and 5G infrastructure.

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Monica’s Answer

How exciting! Physics is a beautiful scientific area. Try an intership at an aerospace company. Did you know that Elon Musk has a Physics degree?

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Kyle’s Answer

I have an engineering and business background, but have several members of my network with advanced degrees in Physics. In my observation, they have found interesting work in the fields of optics (Self Driving Cars - Tesla and Waymo); semi-conductors and micro-processor designs (Intel, Cisco, Micron, AMD, NVIDIA, and other manufacturers of tech components using silicon) and robotics!

Another tip, often my friends who have an undergraduate degree in Physics also have a masters degree in Material Science. If you like physics then you may really enjoy studying applied materials and material science.

Kyle recommends the following next steps:

Explore more in the area of applied materials or materials science?
Reach out to mentors in silicon fabrication like micro-processers, chip design, computer memory and optics!
Seek out advance programs for study that are near industry leaders in semiconductors, robitics and advance manufacturing using robotics.

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Beth’s Answer

Physics is used in a wide variety of fields, from police work to engineering. Think about real life applications to what you're learning, and how you can solve problems in the world. Accident scenes need to be analyzed and often re-created to understand what happened, who was at fault, and how similar accidents could be prevented altogether in the future. The safety we know of having speed limits, complex and efficient road structures, lane sizes, angles of inclines, etc. is all due to physics!

Beth recommends the following next steps:

search YouTube, LinkedIn and other resources for physics and how it's applied to real world scenarios

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Queena’s Answer

Areas you could also look into:
- Professor in Physics
- Researchers
- Astronaut
- Data scientist
- Engineering, like the quantum computations, flash memory device engineering
Many of them requires PHD degree, so you may want to consider to pursue the PHD degree

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Anuj’s Answer

Researcher, Astrophysicist, Aerospace Engineering, Automobile industry

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Tommy’s Answer

Physics provides a great foundation for all career interests. I have my undergraduate degree in Physics and a MS in Electrical Engineering. I have worked in aerospace defense, simulation development, and theme park design development and operations. I did summer interns at a laboratory before embarking on a career that spans the areas listed above.

A big question you should consider is whether you interest is in theoretical physics or applied physics. Applied Physics will have more flexibility across more business. Theoretical may lend itself more to research and academia.

At the end of the day physics will give you capabilities across many technical industries. As important it will provide you with a basis for critical thinking and problem solving. This skill along with understanding business principles can afford you many opportunities.