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The AIP Statistical Research Center reports that over 80% of physics bachelor’s in private sector STEM positions describe themselves as satisfied with their current position overall. Job security and level of responsibility rank as the highest contributors toward this overall satisfaction.
In addition to a bachelor’s degree, a background in experimental research - through on-campus research, summer research projects, or REUs - is very helpful. For more information on how to gain this kind of experience, please see our webinar on Finding an REU program below.
Broad exposure to related fields, such as engineering or computer science, helps one navigate the cross-disciplinary teams that are common in private sector research. Having a firm understanding of fundamental physics principles and being familiar with other disciplines is more important than expertise in a narrowly-focused area.
Internships are a valuable way to gain experience and, often, get a foot in the door at a company. An internship provides the opportunity to hone specific skills such as programming, data acquisition, or equipment operation and maintenance. Beyond these hard skills, an internship can also help one develop verbal and written communication skills, find a mentor, and grow a dynamic network.
For a listing of current internship and research opportunities, please visit the APS Physics Job Center.
APS Physics Job Center Internship Postings
Generally, a physics bachelor begins at a company in an entry or junior level position, with opportunities for advancement with experience. Often, upon attaining a senior level position, the potential career path diverges into two distinct leadership tracks: technical or managerial.
APS Webinar: How I Got My Six Figure Salary in the Private Sector
APS Webinar: Finding Research Opportunities for Undergraduates
APS Webinar: Physics Careers - To the Bachelor's Degree and Beyond!
A bachelor's degree in physics or in a related field
BS level - prior research, e.g. REUs
Bachelor's Level Starting:
$40,000 - $65,000
About 40% of BS graduates find initial employment in the private sector
A former hardware engineer, December manages projects in the biomedical technology industry to produce medical devices.
Desiré found her dream job at the Exploratorium, a museum where she works in science education and teaches hands-on professional development workshops.
Maggie's first love may have been astronomy, but her current jet-set lifestyle as a technology consultant keeps her mind limber and her skymiles rolling in.
As an Associate Professor at a community college, Shahida focuses on teaching, mentoring, and science outreach especially among female students.