6 things you didn't know about physics careers

  • Helena Kudiabor
  • May 06 2022

Find out more about the physics job market, and discover some surprising things about a physics career.


Physics careers shape the future

Physics is the study of natural phenomena, and many physics careers centre around how we can use natural phenomena to make new discoveries. The research collected by physicists has been used to develop new products, or to improve existing ones. A career in physics allows you to develop things like artificial intelligence, robots and cancer research. A career in physics is an investment in the future. 

You can choose from a wide variety of physics careers

There is a wide ranges of jobs specifically related to physics, so it’s a good idea to do some research, to work out which one best suits your interests. If you’d like to spread the joy of physics to others, you may wish to become a physics teacher at school, or a physics professor at university.

If you’d like to go down this route, keep in mind that you’ll have other responsibilities in addition to teaching, such as marking exams, meeting with parents and preparing for lessons. 

If you’re more interested in making new discoveries, you could become a research scientist, designing and carrying out experiments to prove the existence of natural phenomena. 

You can unlock a range of STEM careers with a physics degree

STEM stands for ‘science, technology, engineering and mathematics.’ Someone who completes a degree in a STEM-related subject unlocks a wide range of careers. For instance, you could become a patent attorney, someone who advises their clients on how to apply for a patent, a legal document that protects inventions.

Although patent attorneys are lawyers, you don’t need a law degree to become one, just a degree in a STEM subject. However, if you’re interested in working with the natural world, why not become a geologist?

Geologists are scientists who study the earth, its materials and processes. Typical responsibilities of a geologist include: collecting geological information in the field, undertaking laboratory work to understand the quality of the resources, and interpreting geological data using technical software. 

Please note: You can unlock a range of STEM careers without a physics degree as well. Find out more about physics apprenticeships here.

You might need a postgraduate degree

Many careers might require you to have a postgraduate degree, in addition to an undergraduate physics degree. For example, to become a meteorologist researcher, you’ll need a meteorology-related postgraduate degree, while research scientists need a Master’s course and a PhD.

Some fields may not require you to have a postgraduate degree, but you might find that having one will improve your employment prospects, and even result in a higher salary. Remember, though, that you do not necessarily need an Honours or Masters qualification to have a career in physics. There are many routes into physics, including apprenticeships.

You can combine an interest in medicine with physics

If you weren’t sure whether to do a degree in medicine or physics, why not become a medical physics clinical scientist.

There’s a number of different specialties within medical physics, such as radiotherapy, nuclear medicine and ultrasounds. However, the responsibilities are often the same: developing and maintaining healthcare equipment which is designed to improve patient outcomes. 

A physics degree provides a number of transferable skills

In addition to the core physics skills you’ll gain from your degree, you’ll gain transferable skills valued by employers. These include: problem solving, numeracy, team working and information technology.

This means that even if you decide you don’t want to get a job directly related to physics, having a physics degree is highly respected in a range of professions.

Hopefully this article has helped you understand more about what careers in physics are like, and has made you more excited about your future career journey. If any of the careers mentioned have interested you, why not look into doing some work experience or job-shadowing?