Doctor of Physics (Ph.D. Physics) Career Guide: Salary and Info

phd in physics

The study of Physics is responsible for the theories and discoveries that have led to the exploration and development of microwave appliances, transistor radios, computers, and communications systems. Physicists study how forms of energy and matter interact as well as study the origin of the universe. Moreover, they perform experiments and design equipment using lasers, electron microscopes, and particle accelerators. They explore the fundamental properties and principles that govern matter, space, time, and energy. Indeed, being a physicist leads you to the vast beauty and mysteries of the universe.

If you are interested in furthering your education with a Ph.D. in Physics, it can be quite challenging because the majority of courses require on-campus laboratory activities or exercises. There are quite a few educational institutions that offer a hybrid learning format for students who are interested in enrolling in a Ph.D. Physics degree program. Also, some schools or universities allow students to take up the set of coursework through online learning at their convenience and flexibility. However, their on-campus presence is required especially when they need to complete activities.

What does a physicist do?

phd in physicsPhysicists are scientists who study and experiment motion and gravity, properties of gases, the structure of matter, different types of energy, and the relationship between energy and matter. They study the fundamental forces and laws of the universe. Other physicists apply their learning of physics to several forms of matter such as electrical equipment, missiles, laser beams, medicine, computer development, and many other things related to physics.

Physics is a very broad study of science. With this being said, many physicists specialize in a specific branch such as a nuclear physicist who mainly study on the nature and structure of atomic nuclei and their interaction with space and matter. Their work has paved the way to the discovery of active components that help the medical field in the diagnose and treatment of several illnesses. Astrophysicists deal with the study of the universe while medical physicists work in healthcare and use their knowledge in developing new medical equipment, technologies and radiation-based treatment for patients. Additionally, atomic or optical physicists study the nature and structure of atoms, electrons, molecules, and light that will eventually lead them to the discovery of new materials or technology.

Also, they create scientific theories and methodologies that explains the force of gravity, the formation of sub-atomic particles and many other principles governing the natural world. They conduct several scientific experiments and studies to discover the properties of energy and matter and other scientific theoretical discoveries. Physicists write scientific papers that will be published in journals. Also, they present research work at lectures and scientific conferences.

What sort of accreditation should I look for in a school?

phd in physics

The last thing that you would want to happen is to waste time and money on a degree that future employers won’t take seriously. With this in mind, you should make sure that your chosen school or university has proper accreditation before you enroll. Accreditation indicates that your chosen school or university is maintaining a reputable standard as well as continues to improve and make advancements within its field.

While you don’t necessarily need for a program-specific accreditation in earning your physics degree, there are program-specific recognitions if you are hoping to use your Ph.D. Physics degree to become a licensed Professional Engineer.

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, or commonly known as ABET, is a non-governmental accrediting agency for programs in applied and natural science, engineering technology, computing, and engineering. Therefore, choosing an ABET-accredited educational institution is your first choice if you have plans pursuing to become a licensed Professional Engineer. It will be an essential credential as you seek employment in a competitive job market.

Lastly, make sure that your Ph.D. in Physics degree program is offered by an institution that is regionally accredited by accrediting agencies, such as The Higher Learning Commission, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

What type of degree do I need to pursue research or educate others in physics?

phd in physics

Physicists need a Ph.D. for professional careers in academia and research. Thus, a doctorate level degree in Physics would qualify to teach in most accredited schools or universities. Typically, a Ph.D. in Physics degree program requires four to seven years of study. It is the most highly reputable degree in the Physics field. Moreover, those who pursue research work for the university or school have a Ph.D. in Physics. These researchers write scientific papers and research work or dissertation and publish their work as a contribution to the academic field.


What kind of career and salary can I expect from my Ph.D. in Physics?

phd in physics

A Ph.D. in Physics degree program can be the key to several rewarding professional career pathways in physical and social sciences. The four main areas in which Ph.D. in Physics graduates can find employment are the colleges and universities, government, industry, and laboratories. There are numerous careers related to the Physics world such as geoscientists, biochemists and biophysicists, mathematicians and statisticians, materials engineer, computer and information research scientists, nuclear engineers, and teachers. Those with Ph.D. in Physics tend to compete for permanent research positions since the marketplace for the Physics field is usually strong.  Despite the competition, they can apply in applied research, development, and other related technical areas.

The median wage for physicists is $115,870 per year. $57,640 is the lowest earning for a physicist while $189,560 is the highest earnings per year.

The top industries for physicists include hospitals ($166,330 median wage), ambulatory healthcare services ($135,740), scientific research and development ($131,280), federal government ($116,250), and educational institutions ($66,930).

Most physicists work fulltime in well-lighted laboratories and classrooms while others work outdoors. Besides, some work in the hospitals or factories, as well as some of them, are in the academia where they teach in the classroom while preparing lesson plans, conduct research and writing for the remainder of their workweek.

What schools offer Doctor of Philosophy in Physics degree?

phd in physics

The following schools offer a Ph.D. in Physics degree program with the opportunity to take online courses with the discretion of the university while taking up on-campus laboratory activities: Ohio University in Athen, Ohio, Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, University of California, Berkeley, and Clark University.

Are you inspired by the works and discoveries of Albert Einstein? Ever wondered if Stephen Hawking’s multiverse theories are true? Never give up on your dreams to earn a Ph.D. in Physics, and who knows it’ll be the road to mankind’s amazing new discoveries.

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