What does a Physicist do?

A physicist works to explain how forces, structures and phenomena affect the natural world. This position requires extensive amounts of research to produce reports and technical papers that contribute to the industry at large as well as lecturing and teaching students about the laws of physics. The typical career progression of a physicist is into the position of a Chief Medical Physicist within the organization.

A bachelor's degree in physics is the minimum educational requirement to be a physicist with a master's degree or doctorate degree required to teach at a collegiate level. As part of the job, extensive research is required and therefore a good candidate for the position will possess excellent research and reporting skills with an expectation for exceptional verbal and written communications. Other skills include possessing great analytical and problem-solving skills that will assist in the writing of research papers and reports.

  • Conduct research on forces, structures and phenomena that affect the natural world
  • Focus research efforts in an appointed specialized field within the realms of physics
  • Plan and take control over the path of research and experiments to collate and gather relevant data
  • Create a hypothesis for each research based on methodology and expectations
  • Evaluate experiment results and perform quality control tests
  • Report findings into reports and presentations
  • Contribute to and assist with technical research papers
  • Lecture and teach students about the laws of physics according to curriculum
  • Master's degree or doctorate in physics preferred
  • Strong understanding of the laws of physics
  • Strong aptitude for mathematics, calculus and trigonometry
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Exceptional presentation and reporting skills
  • Enthusiastic and passionate about physics
  • Great analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Excellent research and data gathering skills
  • Able to sit in front of a computer to perform research for long hours at a time
Work/Life Balance
4.1 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
3.8 ★
Avg. Experience2-4 years

Physicist Salaries

Average Base Pay

$119,000 /yr
Same as national average
Not including cash compensation
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Not enough salaries reported to show distribution
Median: $119K
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Glassdoor Estimated Salary

Physicist Career Path

Learn how to become a Physicist, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

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Physicist Insights

Read what Physicist professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
Quantum Physicist
21 Jul 2021

“Management is at least highly receptive to this kind of feedback and I do expect this to change in the future.”

Cambridge ConsultantsCambridge Consultants
Senior Physicist
4 May 2021

“great people to work with and interesting projects”

Woodford County Public Schools
21 Sep 2019

“Doesn't allow you to have a good work life balance”

Lead Physicist
6 Jan 2022

“Great Team to work with”

Science and Technology Facilities CouncilScience and Technology Facilities Council
27 Oct 2021

“Slow pace of career progress”

Air Force Research LaboratoryAir Force Research Laboratory
Research Physicist
7 Aug 2021

“Your salary increases will be nominal.”

27 Jun 2020

“> Opportunities to participate in modern scientific analyses.”

Senior Physicist
29 Nov 2021

“Good work life balance.”

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Physicist Interviews

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Physicist jobs

Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of a physicist

The most similar professions to physicist are:
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