What are the highest paid physics jobs?

  • Thomas Cserep
  • May 20 2022

Studying physics opens the door to pursue careers in a wide variety of fields. But which pathway will lead you to the highest salary?


The importance of your physics education

Your physics education will play a key role in determining your salary. 

If you choose to go down the university route, you’ll need to gain an undergraduate degree in order to start a career in physics. Working towards a master’s degree and subsequently a PhD will allow you to specialise further in a specific area of physics and become a more attractive candidate for employers. 

In your postgraduate courses you will learn valuable research skills, which is applicable for roles at companies or institutions that are pushing the boundaries of the field and are at the forefront of innovation.

Bear in mind that university is not the only way to secure a physics career, with apprenticeships offering the same benefits as a degree. Level 6 and level 7 qualifications are equivalent to an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree respectively, allowing you to unlock numerous career opportunities. Completing an apprenticeship also has a number of benefits of university, such as your training being paid for by your employer and gaining extensive work experience.

Choosing a field

During your studies you will have the opportunity to specialise in a particular area of physics. However, the field you choose to pursue will have an impact on the potential salaries you can earn.

The type of role you fulfil will also influence your salary. As you would expect, a teacher in a secondary school will earn less than a physicist carrying out cutting-edge research at a top university. However, if you think you’d be happier as a secondary school teacher, remember there will be opportunities for promotion (i.e Head of Science).

To give you a better idea of what are the best paid physics jobs, we have put together a list of roles in the field with the highest salaries. Do keep in mind that these figures are averages, and the actual value you may receive will depend on your educational background, your experience and the type of company you work for. 

The highest paid physics jobs

We have collected together some of the highest paid physics jobs…

1. Physicist: £50,000 (experienced)

Whether you are working as an academic in a university or as a physicist in a tech company, physicists carry out ground-breaking research that encourages innovation and supports society’s development. 

Due to their specialist knowledge and the amount of funding they receive from both the private and public sector, being a physicist is one of the highest paying physics jobs. As we have hinted at earlier, completing a PhD will put you in a good position to apply for vacancies with the best salaries. 

2. Nuclear engineer: £58,000 (experienced)

Nuclear energy plays a key role in meeting the world’s energy demand. As a physicist working as a nuclear engineer, you will make nuclear power plants safer and more energy efficient.  

3. Aerospace Engineer: £52,000 (experienced)

Becoming an aerospace engineer is a highly rewarding experience. With the increasing prices of fossil fuels and their role in causing climate change, manufacturers call upon physicists to design aircraft that are more environmentally friendly.

4. Geophysicist: £50,000 (experienced)

The amount of money you take home at the end of each month as a geophysicist really depends on who you work for. Some of the biggest oil and gas companies pay much higher salaries to their employees as they are important in helping increase knowledge about potential fossil fuel reserves. 

It is also an ideal position to consider if you are interested in working outdoors and not just in an office or lab environment. 

5. Biophysicist: £50,000 (experienced)

From making the agricultural sector more efficient to combining biology and physics to develop new medicines, biophysicists tend to specialise in a particular area of interest. As they work for some of the biggest multinational companies in the world, their positions are usually well-paid, especially ones in research.

Getting a job concerning physics will promise you a healthy salary. However, the amount you will earn will depend on a variety of factors, including the years of experience you have and who you work for.