Choosing a field of study for your college career is a big decision, as there are several majors to choose from, but where does physics come into play? Is it worth it to study physics? Or is it a useless degree?
Studying Physics is worth it for anyone who enjoys learning about “the bigger picture.” Physics majors learn how the universe works, which is why it is best for anyone looking to pursue a career related to space.
In this article, you’ll learn about different careers a person can pursue with a physics degree, the benefits of majoring in physics, and how to complete a physics degree successfully.
Is Physics a Useless Degree?
Physics is not a useless degree, but it largely depends on what you want to do after graduation. As a natural science, physics is helpful for anyone pursuing a research role in various fields. These may include automotive and aerospace engineering, healthcare, and energy, to name a few.
Generally speaking, a bachelor’s degree in physics won’t get you far unless you plan to use it as a foundation for a master’s program or a Ph.D. However, a bachelor’s degree in physics will likely get you into an entry-level role in the career field of your choosing.
A degree in physics opens up many possibilities in research for many career fields. An entry-level position in a scientific field for physics degree holders will make you roughly $41,000 per year.
However, the more education you receive, the more your chosen career path will pay.
The median annual income for a physicist or astronomer in 2020 was around $129,850. The most important thing to keep in mind here is if physics is your passion, the more education you complete, the more likely you are to have a higher salary.
A degree in physics, whether it’s a bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D., can earn you a number of careers. Some of the most common jobs among those with this degree are physics teachers and professors, data and research scientists, and astronomers, to name a few.
Let’s take a look at the different career paths you can take with your physics degree:
- Data and Research Science: You can enter this field with only a bachelor’s degree. However, if long-term research is your preference, you’ll want to pursue graduate studies. Your physics degree can get you a job in researching different fields, including astrophysics, nanotechnology, and climate science, to name a few.
- Space and Astronomy: If you never grew out of the “astronaut” phase, a degree in physics will significantly increase your chances of making that dream a reality. A degree in physics is also a must for anyone interested in becoming an astronomer.
- Healthcare: While these seem unrelated, a physics degree is helpful in the healthcare field as physicists and biomedical engineers work together to create breakthrough medical technology.
- Engineering: Having a physics degree can help you get a career in the engineering sector as someone who checks the integrity of automotive and aerospace vehicles. You may also get to improve and develop new technology in a number of scientific fields.
- Energy: As wind and solar energy become the desired energy source, physicists are often called upon to help coordinate ways to best harness the Earth’s natural, renewable resources.
- Information Technology: Physicists can find careers in information technology as new fields like robotics, nanoscience, and nanotechnology gain more traction.
- Geophysics and Meteorology: Physics degree holders are optimal for research and innovation in the environmental field. Many people holding a physics degree have become the frontrunners in the fight for climate health.
Benefits of Taking Physics Classes
Aside from the vast selection of careers available to someone with a degree in physics, there are other advantages to studying this science. To begin with, studying physics teaches you how and why the world works the way it does.
You’ll learn the laws of the universe as well as how the vast world works.
Your physics degree will also help you become a better problem-solver because it forces you to think outside of the box and look at an issue from every angle. This skill is helpful to have both in your professional and personal life.
Beyond that, the world of physics is constantly changing.
The universe is ever-expanding, and there is still so much that we don’t understand about it. With a physics degree, you won’t need to worry about a shortage of jobs because it focuses on, quite literally, the broadest scientific subject known to humankind.
Succeeding in Physics Studies
Like any other scientific college degree, physics takes hard work and discipline to learn. The subject matter requires you to think critically and combine your math and science knowledge to understand what you’re learning truly.
There are a few helpful things to keep in mind to ensure success in studying physics:
- Go in with an open mind. Physics isn’t all math, all the time. The course study requires you to think conceptually too. Math formulas for gravity and force are only going to get you so far. You need to be able to think about the actual subject matter you’re learning.
- Memorize the basics and don’t get behind. If you fall behind, it’ll be challenging to catch up. To ensure you stay on track, your first order of business should be to memorize the basic principles and math formulas in physics. This way, you have foundational knowledge when diving into the coursework.
- Find someone to study with you. It’s nice to know you aren’t alone. Physics isn’t an easy degree to earn, and learning with a fellow physics major will help you hold each other accountable.
- Read the textbook and actively participate. It’s essential to make yourself familiar with the subject matter before it’s covered in class. This way, you aren’t blindsided on the day of your lecture.
- Don’t procrastinate. Procrastinating will only stress you out, and for most people, it will cause them to do poorly on quizzes and exams.
Source: Carnegie Mellon University
Working toward a degree in physics is worth it for anyone who hopes to break into various scientific careers. Whether you want to be the first person on Mars, map out far-away galaxies, or want to be at the forefront of technological advances, physics is the right choice for you.
Although there are many careers at your disposal, it’s essential to work hard if you choose to study physics. By working hard and staying on top of your studies, you’re sure to succeed.