Department of Physics

Career Paths and Salaries

According to the Society of Physics Students, only about 30 percent of those earning a Ph.D. in astronomy or physics go on to a higher education career. The rest work in the private sector, civilian government, the military, and other entities. Median salary figures indicate a starting salary of roughly $50,000 in the private sector, with more than double that for those with advanced degrees and professional experience. 

Students with physics majors can pursue a career as an: 

  • Astronomer/astrophysicist 
  • Biophysicist 
  • Computer modeling professional 
  • Data analyst 
  • Engineer 
  • Entrepreneur 
  • Healthcare professional 
  • Patent attorney 
  • Physical scientist 
  • Physicist 
  • Radar developer 
  • Research scientists 
  • Satellite engineer 
  • Solid state physicist 
  • Teacher 

Median Salaries for Physics Majors

Physical Scientist

$68,168 median salary for physical scientist


$114,590 Astronomer median salary


$122,850 physicist median salary

(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019 Physical Scientist | Astronomer and Physicist)