Careers in Physics & Astronomy

First, some quick facts:

Nationally, about  1/3 of physics & astronomy students go onto graduate school in physics or astronomy. So, graduate school is only one option. If you do go to a PhD program, tuition is paid for and you receive a stipend. 
Nationally, 95% of graduating physics students reported they were employed or obtaining further education 6 months after graduating.
Physics majors outscore almost all other majors on the medical school admissions test (MCAT), demonstrating the quality of education you receive as a physics student and the range of options availble to you.
Physics majors score the highest on the law school admission test (LSAT) of any other undergraduate major.
For the 1000 new physics teaching positions that open in high schools across the country, schools can only find 300 physics-qualified candidates, showing that there is a very large demand for high school teachers.


The physics major can provide you with a long list of desirable skills that employers seek for a wide range of technical positions, some of which are shown below:

  1. Problem solving
  2. Quantitative analysis
  3. Technical communications
  4. Scientific literacy and integrity
  5. Computer skills
  6. Experimental design
  7. Familiarity with electronic and scientific apparatus
  8. Ability to work independently and with groups
  9. Presentation experience
  10. Interdisciplinary experience 

Because of this strong skill-set, your career path can be one of your own choosing. Often, physicists who go into areas other than physics or astronomy end up in leadership roles in engineering and other technical firms. Where you go depends on your interests, motivation, and drive. Furthermore, with our increasing reliance on scientific innovation and technology to lead our economic development, people with training in physics will be more and more valuable. 

On the left are some links that provide more information about some of your options. Please explore them so that you can see what awaits you after you graduate Valpo with your physics degree.