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 career in higher education. 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

Job Title Median Salary
Physical Scientist $76,140
Astronomer $104,100
Physicist $111,580

(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015 Physical Scientist | Astronomer and Physicist)