Bachelor's Employment

Physics bachelors one year laterIf you're interested in learning about what kinds of jobs you can do with a Bachelor's degree in physics, you've come to the right place!

 

Between 2017 and 2018, 52% of physics bachelors degree recipients entered the workforce. About a third of physics bachelors, or 60% of bachelors entering the workforce, were employed in the private sector. Other common employment sectors are at colleges or universities, high schools, the military, and civilian government, such as national labs.

You can find information about the kinds of employment fields physics bachelors work in, what the typical starting salaries are, the skills employed physics majors use in their jobs, and their levels of job satisfaction. If you're interested in going to law school or medical school, you can see how well physics majors do on the LSAT and the MCAT.

In addition to the statistics you can find on this page, feel free to read through our profiles of physics bachelors to learn more about the kinds of jobs you can find with a physics degree.

All the statistics on this page, and many more, can be found on the AIP Statistics website.

 

What fields do physics bachelors work in?

physics bachelors private sector fields

 

      Physics majors have lots of great career options!

 

  • About half of graduating physics major enter the job market
  • Of those, nearly two thirds are employed in the private sector
  • Most private sector jobs (nearly 80%) are in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields, and the two most common fields are engineering and computer or information systems
  • Most of the rest of physics majors who enter the job market are employed at colleges or universities, high schools, in civilian government or national labs, or the military.

 

 

Considering a career in law or medicine?

MCAT scores by major

LSAT scores by major

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A physics major is a great choice!

  • Physics majors outperformed many other majors on the LSAT, including more traditional majors for law school such as Pre-Law, Political Science, and Criminal Justice. Only Math majors scored higher
  • Many law specialties, like patent law, require and advanced degree in sciences (like physics!). You can check out some lawyers with physics degrees, like Amy Ziegler and Brett Gilbert, in our physicist profiles
  • Physics majors have also been out-performing traditional majors for medical school on the MCAT. 
  • In particular, physics majors score better in all three sections than both pre-med and biology.

 

What do physics bachelors make?

starting salaries for new bachelors

     Starting Salaries

  • In 2017 and 2018, over half of physics bachelors who went to work were in private sector jobs
  • The majority of these were in STEM areas, with median starting salaries between $50K-$70K, and as high as $100K
  • These bachelors were working primarily in engineering and computer science jobs
  • Private sector jobs in non-STEM areas, and jobs in civilian government, had slightly lower median starting salaries.

starting salary by major

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But how does physics stack up against other majors?

  • Physics bachelor's degrees now rank higher in starting salary than many other technical fields, including other sciences like chemistry and biology
  • Only computer science majors had significantly starting salaries than physics, and many physics majors work in the computer science field
  • The typical starting salary for a physics bachelor has increased by nearly $20,000 since 2003

Physics is an execllent choice for those interested in a degree with high earning power!

 

 

What skills do physics majors use in their jobs?

skills used by physics bachelors

A physics training gives you skills that are applicable to a wide variety of career paths.

  • Roughly half of 2017 and 2018 physics bachelor's degree recipients found initial employment in the private sector in engineering or computer science fields
  • Nearly 100% of them stated that the problem solving abilities they gained as physics students were useful in their jobs
  • Other useful skills include the ability to work on a team, technical writing, programming, simulation and modeling, and design and development
  • Those employed in engineering fields often used their knowledge of physics, astronomy, and advanced mathematics 

 

 

 

How happy are physics bachelors with their careers?

job satisfaction of physics bachelors

 

 

 

Many physics bachelors have successful, fulfilling careers! 

  • In times of economic instability, job security is important. Physics bachelors in the private sector rated their satisfaction with their job security very highly
  • Physics bachelors also have high levels of satisfaction in areas like level of responsibility, opportunity for advancement, and salary and benefits
  • Overall job satisfaction among physics bachelors employed in the private sector is over 80%