Department of Physics and Astronomy

Careers in Physics and Astronomy

Employment statistics for BA degrees from AIPB.A. degree career prospects

If you invest four years of your life at our department at UToledo, you expect a good return. According to AIP statistics  students with a B.A. in physics or astronomy across the nation see less than 10% unemployment. Half of them found industry positions and about 40-50% of them went on to graduate school to pursue a higher degree.

What kinds of jobs did their degrees prepare them for? You might be surprised. More than half of the physics majors went into engineering, computer science, or information systems jobs. Only 7% went into positions that did not require problem solving. While people might expect astronomy majors to become professors, only 18% work at a universe; more than half of astronomy majors work in private sector industry jobs.

These jobs can involve software (image processing, data management, signal processing, simulation) or hardware (fiber optics, sensors of all types, lasers, semi-conductor materials). They could be in education, regulation and law, or marketing and sales. What is true is that you rarely see the world "physicist" or "astronomer" in the job title; instead, you might see "software developer" or "research analyst".

The kinds of skills people use in these jobs might also surprise you: they lean equally on their content knowledge and teamwork skills. They also frequently use technical writing and design skills. Starting salaries vary a great deal depending on what career you choose, that is seen in both physics and astronomy degree earners.

UToledo Career Services provides you with additional tools to get that job, including interview practice, attire advice and lenders, and CV and resume overhaul. Below are a selection of  career sites that have more information and guidance:

Ph. D. degree career prospects

Employment statistics for PhD degrees from AIPMore than half of new physics and astronomy PhDs accepted postdocs after receiving their degree to gain research experience and improve their chances at getting a permanent position. About 40% of doctorates accepted potentially permanent positions, many of which were in the private sector (data science, software engineer). Aside from technical expertise and subject knowledge, people working in private sector jobs also indicated they regularly worked in teams and relied on communication and management skills.

Starting salaries for new astronomers working in the private sector were considerably higher than those for their peers, and government postdocs were better compensated than postdocs in academia, and the same trends hold for physics doctorates.

Last Updated: 8/28/19