What Can I Do With a Major in Physics?

Physics is sometimes referred to as the ‘liberal arts degree of science,’ because unlike some other fields in the sciences, physics isn’t vocational in nature. With that said, even though studying physics doesn’t directly prepare students for any particular type of employment after college, it’s still an incredibly valuable field of study.

The truth is, physics is a great major that provides students with an opportunity to develop many highly marketable skills. While in school, physics majors learn how to use mathematics to develop solutions to complex problems. This is a highly valuable skill set in every industry, and having a degree in physics opens up many opportunities in occupations related to finance, programming, healthcare, and engineering. In the end, every business runs on math.

If your intention is to attend graduate school or medical school after earning your bachelor’s degree, there’s good news there as well. Physics majors are great candidates for all sorts of graduate programs, and are even able to satisfy medical school requirements by taking just a few biology and chemistry courses along the way.

With so many options available, you can probably guess that very few physics majors actually go on to become physicists. According to recent surveys, less than thirty percent of physics majors end up working in an occupation that is closely related to the field of study. And that’s not a bad thing! It means that the degree leaves graduates with many options.

Regardless of where they end up working, there is good news for physics majors: college graduates with a bachelor’s in physics are highly desirable. As a whole, they make thirty percent more than the average of all college graduates.

Careers for Physics Majors

Below is a list of some of the most common career choices for those who graduate from physics programs. This is not a comprehensive list, but it should give you a good idea of the types of work that physics students do after graduation.

Occupation Median Salary Median Hourly Current jobs Outlook Required Education
Aerospace Engineer $97,480 $46.87 71,610 Normal Bachelor’s degree
Astronomer $87,260 $41.95 1,470 Normal Doctoral degree
Chemical Engineer $90,300 $43.41 31,660 Normal Bachelor’s degree
College Professor $62,050 $29.83 1,756,000 Good Graduate Degree
Computer Programmer $71,380 $34.32 363,100 Good Bachelor’s degree
Computer Systems Analyst $77,740 $37.38 235,410 Normal Bachelor’s degree
Cost Estimator $57,860 $27.82 217,760 Good Bachelor’s degree
Electrical Engineer $84,540 $40.64 157,800 Normal Bachelor’s degree
Elementary School Teacher $51,660 $24.84 1,549,520 Good Bachelor’s Degree
Financial Analyst $74,350 $35.75 250,630 Good Bachelor’s Degree
Financial Examiner $74,940 $36.03 27,020 Good Bachelor’s Degree
Financial Manager $103,910 $49.96 539,250 Good Bachelor’s Degree
High School Teacher $53,230 $25.59 1,109,500 Good Bachelor’s Degree
Hydrologist $75,690 $36.39 8,130 Normal Master’s Degree
Industrial Engineer $83,340 $40.07 214,770 Normal Bachelor’s degree
Logistician $70,800 $34.04 100,380 Good Bachelor’s degree
Management Analyst $78,160 $37.58 746,860 Good Bachelor’s degree
Market Research Analyst $60,660 $29.16 249,810 Good Bachelor’s degree
Mathematician $99,380 $47.78 2,940 Good Doctoral degree
Mechanical Engineer $78,160 $37.58 238,700 Normal Bachelor’s degree
Middle School Teacher $51,960 $24.98 659,460 Good Bachelor’s Degree
Occupational Health Specialist $64,660 $31.09 58,700 Normal Bachelor’s Degree
Physicist $86,410 $41.54 15,620 Normal Doctoral Degree
Software Developer $94,180 $45.28 514,790 Good Bachelor’s Degree
Statistician $73,720 $35.44 22,560 Normal Master’s Degree
Survey Researcher $73,720 $35.44 19,600 Good Graduate Degree
Updated: 09/03/2017