Physicist

Alternative titles for this job include

Physicists study matter and try to work out why it behaves like it does.

Average salary (a year)

£15,609 Starter

to

£50,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

35 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays occasionally

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a physicist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • a graduate trainee scheme

University

Most employers will expect you to have a degree in physics, applied physics, or a related science or engineering subject. You may also need a relevant postgraduate qualification, like a master's degree or PhD.

You could do a combined degree and master's qualification, like an MPhys or MSci. These courses include more independent research and lead directly onto further postgraduate study like a PhD.

You may be able to do a 1-year physics foundation course before your degree, if you do not have a background in science.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and physics
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More Information

Apprenticeship

You could do a level 7 research scientist degree apprenticeship.

This apprenticeship typically takes 30 months to complete.

It may give you some of the requirements you need to become a chartered scientist in your scientific field.

Entry requirements

Employers will set their own entry requirements.

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

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Other Routes

You may be able to start on a company's graduate training scheme after completing your degree or postgraduate qualification.

More Information

Career tips

You may have an advantage if you've got relevant work experience. You could get this through a work placement as part of your degree or during vacations, or a scheme like the Year in Industry programme.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in physics through the Institute of Physics.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of physics
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • analytical thinking skills
  • science skills
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In your day to day tasks you could:

  • analyse theories and develop ideas
  • use computer simulations and mathematical modelling techniques
  • design and conduct experiments and supervise research

Depending on the sector you work in you could:

  • be involved in climate forecasting
  • teach in schools, colleges or universities
  • develop new medical instruments and treatments
  • work in satellite technology and space exploration
  • investigate new ways to generate power
  • explore robotics and artificial intelligence
  • use your knowledge to work in publishing, broadcasting or journalism

Working environment

You could work in a workshop, in a factory or in a laboratory.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time and you may spend nights away from home.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You could work in health or research institutes, defence or robotics, aerospace, computing and electronics, power generation or gas and oil,or government departments, like the Met Office.

You could use your scientific knowledge in other areas like education, scientific journalism and patent work.

With experience, you'll take on more responsibility and manage the work of other scientists.

In higher education you could progress to senior lecturer or professor.

You could also move into a senior research role, or progress into consultancy work.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a physicist right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Physics

  • Provider: TAVERHAM HIGH SCHOOL
  • Start date: 05 September 2022
  • Location: Norwich

Physics

  • Provider: SHELLEY COLLEGE, A SHARE ACADEMY
  • Start date: 01 September 2022
  • Location: Huddersfield

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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