Physicist Career Information

Physicists are scientists who study or practice the field of physics. They work at colleges and universities, government agencies, independent research centers, hospitals, and private industries. Among the things they do are identifying the laws of nature and studying the structures and behavior of matter. They delve into the nature of the universe and also apply their knowledge into developing the things people need, such as appliances, devices, computers, transistors, satellites, and medical solutions.

Physics is broad and has many specializations, giving aspiring physicists a lot of choices on which field they want to concentrate on. These fields include geophysics, astrophysics, atomic physics, molecular physics, biophysics, chemical physics, material science physics, cosmology, nuclear physics, and optics.

Students who want to be physicists need to have constant discipline and a curiosity in discovering the unknown. They must be willing to devote a lot of time to research and be able to communicate ideas both orally and in writing. Of course, education is vital as well. A physics college degree usually takes about 4 years. A Master’s degree is a definite plus and is required by some industries while a doctoral degree is a requisite in some positions in research.

The salary of a physicist depends on his education, job, and location. In 2004, the average annual income of physicists was $87,450. In 2005, the average annual income of physicists employed by the federal government was $104,917. Aside from their basic salaries, physicist can gain more income by doing research and consulting work.

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