Physicists: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

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Job description

Physicists conduct research into physical phenomena, develop theories on the basis of observation and experiments, and devise methods to apply physical laws and theories.

  • Perform complex calculations as part of the analysis and evaluation of data, using computers.
  • Direct testing and monitoring of contamination of radioactive equipment, and recording of personnel and plant area radiation exposure data.
  • Describe and express observations and conclusions in mathematical terms.
  • Analyze data from research conducted to detect and measure physical phenomena.
Read more about what does a Physicist really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.



Become one

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Salary

Average salary
$125280 per year

Average hourly wage
$60 per hour


Physicists with little to no experience tend to make between $59300 and $85090 while the more experienced ones can earn over $158350 per year.

Top 5 paying statesHourlyAnnual
OK$79$164,190
MN$75$155,140
WI$72$150,670
MA$72$150,170
NM$72$149,910

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Physicist is to move to a higher paying state like OK. Right now, the highest paying states for Physicists are OK, MN, WI, MA and NM.

However, a higher pay at OK doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at OK might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Physicist is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Requirements

Recommended degree level
Post-Doctoral Training

We asked other Physicists what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a Post-Doctoral Training followed by a PhD.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Engineering Physics/Applied Physics
Astrophysics
Physics, General
Atomic/Molecular Physics
Elementary Particle Physics
Read more about how to become a Physicist and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Physicist.

PROS
Suitable for people who likes to solve problems mentally
Suitable for people who wants recognition and wants career advancement and a prestigious career
This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.
One of the highest paid careers in the world
CONS
Not suitable for people who likes to help and teach others
It is very hard to get into this career. Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience is required for this career.
Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)

What is the job like

Job satisfaction
77%

Is this job meaningful
79%


77% of Physicists said they were satisfied with their job and 79% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.


Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Thinkers and The Builders

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally..

They also like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.




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Related career information

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