Excelling in physics requires development and expertise in a very broad skill set. Combined with the liberal arts education at TLU, the physics department provides graduates with a highly employable blend of skills, such as problem solving, computer programming, experimental design, technical writing, oral presentations, independent research, and teamwork. Many professions rely on these skills, which is why they are the very foundation of the physics curriculum. The American Institute of Physics reports that in 2008, a survey of starting salaries offered by campus recruiters to students graduating with a bachelor's in physics ranged from $40,000 to $64,000.
Here is a small sampling of the kind of careers physics majors might pursue upon completing their bachelor's (statistics from the AIP website
- Academia: As of 2007, about 35% of students with bachelor's in physics go into graduate school in physics or astronomy. For most physics graduate programs, schools pay tuition plus a stipend (actual numbers can be found at gradschoolshopper.com). In return, students are expected to research and/or be a teaching assistant. A master's in physics typically takes two to three years, while a Ph.D. in physics takes about five to six years.
- Medical School: Students with a degree in physics routinely score higher than biology majors on the MCAT, the entrance exam for medical school. Students wishing to go to medical school with a physics degree are strongly urged to at least also minor in biology.
- Engineering: This is the largest field of employment for physics majors. The problem solving skills developed through coursework in physics are highly sought after in this field.
- Consulting: Many companies hire consultants to assist in solving problems with their company. The development of problem solving for a physics major makes this an ideal match.
- Law: Physics majors are continually the top-scoring major on the LSAT, the entrance exam to law school. Many companies hire physicists to be expert witnesses when scientific information needs to be explained to a jury.
- Teaching: There is a need for high school physics teachers. In 2009, only 35% of high school physics teachers have a degree in physics or physics education. Increasing the number of high school teachers with an interest in physics will increase the morale, perception and prestige of the field.