APS Careers | Becoming a physicist

Resources for Career Advisors

Helping students become physicists

Statistics indicate that the majority of physics graduates will find permanent employment in the private sector. However many educators and mentors who wish to advise and prepare students for their future careers only have access to a network of academic colleagues, themselves having spent most of their career in an academic field.

The key to providing students with adequate preparation for a successful future is to broaden their career focus, and make them aware of the wide variety of options available to those with a physics degree. This article can help educators and mentors do just that.

Career exploration

Whether you are a professor, mentor, guidance counselor, or working with students in other ways, you have the opportunity to guide them as they explore their interest in physics and possible career paths. You can assist students in understanding their skills, interests, and career options in physics with these APS resources:

  • APS's Career Navigator provides questions to help students think through their skill sets and career options, including many stories of physicists' varied career paths and a workbook for journaling.
  • APS hosts webinars to help students explore their career options, prepare for careers in industry, and plan their education and career path whether they are undergraduates, graduates, or early career physicists.
  • Through the PIPELINE Project, APS promotes physics innovation and entrepreneurship, with the EPIC report providing resources and data for impactful careers.

The outlook for physics careers

The American Institute of Physics (AIP) Statistical Research Center is a source for mentors and students to find data on education, careers, and diversity in physics, astronomy, and other physical sciences. With this information, you and your students can better understand which job opportunities in physics are expected to grow, as well as learn more about expected salaries and educational attainment of physicists at different career levels.

Hearing directly from physicists

One of the best ways to get information to students about career paths in physics, especially non-academic careers in industry, is to invite representatives from those paths to speak in your institution or department. Through the Career Lectureship Award, honoring physicists in industrial or other non-academic careers, you can find physicists interested in sharing their career journeys and experiences with your students.

You can contact the APS Careers team to invite a speaker.


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Physics teaches foundational lessons about the natural world with useful applications for many careers.

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A guide to the breadth of opportunities for physics graduates in industry, national labs, and beyond — including guidance to land those jobs.

Discover how much you can do with a degree in physics by seeing how others have put theirs to use.

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