Physicist at a Glance

Projected Job Growth

  • +0% Job Growth for

  • 2013
  • 2023

Average Salary for Physicist

  • $0 Annual Pay
    National Average
  • $0 Hourly Pay
    National Average

Best States for Physicist

in 2011
Annual Salary
Hourly Pay
Maryland 1,520 $123,170 $59
New Mexico 860 $102,600 $49
District of Columbia 480 $121,920 $59

Becoming a Physicist

Research physicists are expected to hold a Ph.D. in physics or a related field. A Ph.D. program will typically take five to seven years to complete. Individuals with just a bachelor's degree in physics may qualify to work as technicians or research assistants in a related field such as engineering or computer science. Many schools offer master's degree programs in physics that prepare students for research-and-development positions that do not require a Ph.D.

Many online bachelor's degree programs in physics lead to licensure to teach physics to middle and high school students, while other programs are designed to prepare students for graduate level studies. Students will need to complete any required lab work on-campus or in the field. Physics degree program curriculum will include courses in natural science and math, as well as classical and quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, and electromagnetism. Graduate students usually concentrate on a specific field of physics.

Classes in a bachelor's level physics degree program may include:

  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Introduction to Micro and Nanotechnology
  • Statistical Thermodynamics

Physicists with a Ph.D. may, over time, acquire larger research budgets or tenure in university positions. They may also advance to managerial positions such as a natural science manager.