Physics Professions | Where physicists make a career

If you want to know how the world works and what holds it together at its core, you should study physics. But it is not only an exciting and challenging course of study, it also guarantees employment. The number of possible career paths  for physicists is long, so a degree in physics can open a lot of doors.

Academic physics professions

One natural career path is an academic career. It begins after the bachelor's and master's degree with a doctoral thesis (PhD studies), followed by several years of postdoctoral work. The long-term goal is often a professorship, either via a tenure-track position or a direct appointment. The career profile of an academic researcher includes an interesting combination of teaching, research and management activities.

For further information, please visit the career portal of the University of Innsbruck!

Beyond classical physics jobs

Fields of application go far beyond the classical jobs of physicists
Physicists can make a career not only in their own field, but they also show a high degree of professional and industrial flexibility. In addition to the "classical" field of academic research & teaching, the two fields of industry and services are becoming increasingly important.

In particular, physicists can pursue a variety of other careers in the so-called STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) because they are generally highly employable in these fields. During their studies, physicists learn to approach complex problems and tasks analytically and to solve them according to specific procedures. This ability can be transferred to very many professions. In addition, due to its mathematical foundation, Physics is always application-oriented, practice-oriented and problem-oriented. This makes physicists interesting for many employers. Physicists often work in an interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary way, i.e. at the interfaces between scientific and technical professions.

Examples for this are:

  • Materials engineering
  • Medical technology
  • Nanotechnology
  • Microsystems technology
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Precision engineering
  • Ophthalmic optics
  • Production
  • Chemistry

Quite a few physicists also work in jobs very far from universities and observatories, laboratory jobs, research and development. Here is an (incomplete) list of other possible fields of employment:

  • IT / Data processing
  • Banks / Insurance companies
  • Project management
  • Logistics jobs
  • Auditing / Management consulting
  • Patent attorney
  • Journalist/Publicist (for scientific topics)
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