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Physical Science Jobs and Careers

Updated on January 22, 2018
StFX Physical Sciences Center lab.
StFX Physical Sciences Center lab. | Source

What does the Study of Physical Science Involve?

Physical science explores the study of non-living systems and includes physics, chemistry and earth sciences such as geology, geography and geophysics. The fundamental science of physics looks at the laws of matter, energy and the forces of nature which dictate the interaction of atomic particles (molecules, atoms and subatomic particles). Physics students study Newton’s laws of motion, the theory of gravity, energy, work and power, Kinetic molecular theory and optics, behaviour of light among other topics. Chemists deal with reaction chemistry, spectroscopy, many theoretical areas such as electron configuration and molecular modelling, and the study of organic and inorganic compounds, biochemistry and analytical chemistry. Earth science studies may include oceanography, agrophysics, soil science, geomorphology and geophysics, meteorology or climatology.

NOAA scientists with AOML’s Physical Oceanography Division and the NMFS Southeast Fisheries Science Center.  The collaborative research cruise was part of a new three year interdisciplinary research project aimed at examining how recruitment of larva
NOAA scientists with AOML’s Physical Oceanography Division and the NMFS Southeast Fisheries Science Center. The collaborative research cruise was part of a new three year interdisciplinary research project aimed at examining how recruitment of larva | Source

Median Wages Earned in Physical Science Careers

Field
Median Salary
chemistry
$68,320
physics
$106,370
astronomy
$87,260
hydrology
$75,690
atomospheric/space science
$87,780
all other physical sciences
$94,780
Physical scientist wages vary considerably depending upon field and occupation. As of May 2010, the US Bureau of Labour Statistics reported the above median average wages.(Degree Directory.org)

What level of education is required for a Job in the Physical Sciences?

The study of science in school appears to be dropping in the U.S.; therefore, there is currently a large demand for those qualified for positions in the physical sciences ranging from technicians to research scientists. Most jobs in the physical sciences require the following levels of education:

1.A diploma from college in a program related to the study of physics, chemistry or earth sciences or a combination of the former tends to be a minimal requirement. College programs will generally lead to a job as a technician or technologist and require two to three years of study preferably with concurrent work-placement opportunities.

2.A Bachelor or Honors Bachelor of Science in one or more of the physical sciences will provide a greater scope of job choice. Work as a science teacher, college professor, engineer and some research lab jobs can be achieved through this level of education.

3.A Master’s Degree or PhD results in the higher paying job opportunities including research physicist or chemist, physician and university professor.

What skills are important in Physical Science Careers and Jobs?

The following aptitudes and skills learned through your program of study are important when considering a job in the physical sciences:

  1. Analytical / Critical Thinking / Problem Solving Skills
  • You should have an interest and an aptitude for logical activities.
  • You should have a fascination with the world around you.
  • You should be good at problem solving.

2. Ability to synthesize / Deal with Complexity

  • You should be a good team player.
  • You should have strong mathematical skills.
  • You often must be an expert in your field. This quality is especially important for engineers, research positions and professorships.
  • You must be strict in following the rules, as the nature of the work is often hazardous and relies upon reproducible results.

· 3. Research Methodology / Data Analysis Techniques/ Computer Skills/ Detail Oriented/ Precise/ Organized/ Thorough

  • You must be a sharp observer, especially in research jobs, because while doing experiments, even minute changes must be noted.
  • You must be well versed in the steps of scientific inquiry.
  • You must be able to take initiative in starting any task or experiment.

4. Technical Writing / Report Writing

  • Your written language skills should be excellent for the preparation of reports.

Examples of Jobs and Careers in the Physical Sciences

With a college diploma
With a BSc
With Additional Training/Education
Electrical Engineering Technician
Meteorologist
Professor
Fire Systems Engineering Technician
Chemistry Research Assistant
Physician
Earth Resources Technician
Aviation Forecaster
Senior Organic Chemist
Electrical Power Generation Technician
Ocean Technician
Pharmaceutical Chemist
Geographic Information:Application Specialist
Chemical laboratory Technician
Ecologist
Geographic Information:Cartographic Specialist
Forensic Laboratory Technician
Seismologist
Geomatics Technician
Agricultural Scientist
Hydrogeologist
Resources Drilling and Blasting
Geophysicist
Geochemist
Environmental Technician
Petroleum/Mineral Technician
Urban Planner
Environmental Technologist
Land Survey Technologist
Energy Conservation Engineer
 
Soil Scientist
Resource Economist
 
Cartographer
Environmental Consultant
 
Aerial Photographer
Geochemist
 
Fuel and Physics Scientist (Nuclear Energy)
Project Scientist – Cyclotron Physicist

Comments

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    • antigravity profile image

      antigravity 

      3 years ago

      It is a very versatile job has a great career.

    • Teresa Coppens profile imageAUTHOR

      Teresa Coppens 

      3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Happy you found it helpful!

    • sanasiddiqui profile image

      sanasiddiqui 

      3 years ago

      Thanks for describing the scope of physical science in job career.

    • Pro Shell profile image

      Pro Shell 

      3 years ago from Vereinigten Staaten

      This is a great piece. I love the detailed content, really good work

    • Teresa Coppens profile imageAUTHOR

      Teresa Coppens 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Physical science offers so many great job opportunities if you can handle the level of education required. My hubby works in the nuclear power industry and loves his job but it took a degree in physics to do it. Not an easy educational path but the effort was worth it.

    • ithabise profile image

      Michael S. 

      6 years ago from Winston-Salem, NC

      Excellent overview of the field of physical science! Very interesting!

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