How to Become a Physicist
Physicist Job Description
Skills and Qualities Needed to Become a Physicist
Physicist Salaries
Influential Professional Physicists
Leading Organizations for Physicists
Top Cities for Physicist Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Physicist

A physicist is a man or woman of science, a bringer of knowledge, a man or woman that studies or uses physics knowledge to practice his job. Physicists study all sorts of physical phenomena at the micro and macro scale, from sub-atomic particles to the wonders of the Universe as a whole.

To become a physicist you will require a doctoral degree. Any position in the field, whether applied physics or research, will require you to have a doctoral degree in physics. Your specialization will be dictated when acquiring your master's degree. You can specialize in experimental or theoretical physics, as follows: atomic physics, astrophysics, geophysics, molecular physics, biophysics, chemical physics, optics, particle physics, sub-atomic physics, condensed matter physics and many others. Some positions, especially in highly classified research, will most likely necessitate some sort of post-doctoral experience.

If you want to be a high-school physics teacher, all you need is a bachelor's degree in physics and some teacher certificates, but if you want more, you'll have to go the full length to become a Doctor of Physics. You'll need to be passionate about your work, as you'll no doubt face many obstacles in your career, whether you're employed or fighting for a job or you're a researcher, trying to get grants to continue the research. You also have to keep in mind that the competition is very fierce, since you'll be up against physicists from around the world.

Most technical universities in the United States can be used to achieve your doctoral degree, the most famous of all being MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

After you complete your education you'll need to think of your career, make a plan, and start following it. Since this is one of the hardest and most competitive jobs on the planet, you will need to have a sound plan before embarking on your career.

What does a Physicist do?

A physicist is someone that studies physics or uses physics knowledge as a means of earning a living, whether it's researching or patent counseling. A physicist doesn't necessarily have to work specifically in theoretical and experimental physics, but could work in other related fields, such as engineering, finance, computer science and technology development.

As a physicist you can even become a software engineer or a systems developer, or you can become a theoretical physicist and do your research with funding from different organizations. You can work as a university teacher, or as a government physicist. There are a lot of opportunities for you, depending on your specialization. You can even work on the next big things in technology, such as nano-technologies, advanced AI or robotics. If you're talented, you can even start writing books about physics, and make a living out of that.

There are three major employers of physicists in the United States: academic institutions, private industries, and government laboratories. The first and the last offer the hardest-to-get jobs, whilst private industry offers the most jobs.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Physicist?

First of all, in order to succeed as a physicist, you'll have to be extremely intelligent and extremely ambitious, as this is a job that takes a lot of education years and needs at least a master's degree in order to become a viable career choice for you. Other than that, you'll have to be determined to succeed, to love to solve all sorts of problems and to be very, very curious. The ability to take initiative will be of a tremendous help to you. You'll also need to be flexible, since specialties might overlap, and you may want to switch from one to another with ease. You don't even have to limit yourself to only one specialty as you can choose a double field, such as biophysics.

Don't expect to succeed if you don't have lots of ambition and determination. The competition is very, very stiff, and you'll compete against qualified people from all over the world.

How much do Physicists make?

I'm afraid that we can't give a definitive answer to the question in the title. There are too many possible specializations, fields of work and types of companies to give a definitive answer, however we can try.

A Physicist V, working in research, will be making anything between $98,676 and $123,999, as opposed to a Physicist I, who will be making something between $46,851 and $54,153. But if we're talking about a Radiation Physicist, well, such a physicist will be making something between $126,524 and $169,085.

Again, all these are mainly estimates, and you could be making much more, or much less, depending on your actual conditions, such as geographical location, company, experience, education and age.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

The most well known physicist of all time is, no doubt, Albert Einstein. Albert Einstein, who died in 1955, was a theoretical physicist. He is known for his theory of relativity and his famous formula: E = mc2. Einstein won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921, for his discovery of the photoelectric effect. We have Einstein to thank for the general theory of relativity.

Another incredibly influential physicist is Stephen Hawking. He was born in 1942, in London. He is well known for his popular science bestseller "A Brief History of Time", and for his great contributions to the fields of cosmology and quantum gravity, particularly in the study of black holes. He has contributed to the field theorems about general relativity and he gave his name to the radiation he discovered, the radiation of black holes.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

When it comes to physics, there are a couple of organizations and institutions that can't be ignored. First of all, there's the Nobel Prize for Physics, which is an institution on its own. Those that won this prize are all leading personalities on the field. Lots of incredibly talented physicists have won this prize, and it is the most sought after prize in the history of mankind.

Another organization, if we may call it so, is NASA. NASA is a dream come true for most physicists, since it allows you to work on projects that benefit all humanity. Other than nano-technology and advanced artificial intelligence, space work is one of the top choices for physicists.

The other dream organization would be the MIT. To be a researcher at MIT is a crowning achievement of a well directed career, comparable to all the other great achievements of a physicist's life.

What are the top cities for Physicist jobs?

Since the competition is tough, any well paid job as a physicist is a good job, no matter where you can get it. However, our research points to three cities that you are most likely to get a job in: Baltimore, Maryland, followed by Dayton, Ohio and last but not least, Houston, Texas.

Just keep in mind that it isn't the city that matters, but your training, experience, ambition and knowledge plus education. A happy mixture of these will get you a job anywhere in the United States.

Other Careers of Interest

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