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.

What responsibilities are common for Physicist jobs?
  • 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
What are the typical qualifications for Physicist jobs?
  • 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
4.0 ★
Total Pay--
Career Opportunity
3.7 ★
Avg. Experience2-4 years

How much does a Physicist make?

$131,532 /yr
Total Pay

Base Pay


Additional Pay


 / yr
Most Likely Range
Possible Range
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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.


Years of Experience Distribution

0 - 1
2 - 4
5 - 7
Not including years spent in education and/or training

Physicist Insights

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

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

Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryLawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Design Physicist
Jan 8, 2023

“There are smart people here working on very enjoyable and challenging technical problems.”

Cambridge ConsultantsCambridge Consultants
Senior Physicist
May 4, 2021

“great people to work with and interesting projects”

University of Texas at AustinUniversity of Texas at Austin
Research Physicist
Apr 2, 2022

“Work and life balance good”

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

“Slow pace of career progress”

Lead Physicist
Jan 6, 2022

“Great Team to work with”

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

“Your salary increases will be nominal.”

US Air ForceUS Air Force
Oct 9, 2022

“Political issues are getting in the way of our effectiveness.”

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Physicist Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the roles and responsibilities of a Physicist

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  • Research Scientist
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Physicist Jobs