How to Become a Physicist

Many people wonder how to successfully become a physicist. Getting into the field of physics can be very difficult and requires a lot of education. However, if you take the proper steps, there is no reason that you should not be able to successfully get into a job as a physicist. Here are the basics of how to become a physicist.


The education of a physicist starts long before college. Most aspiring physicists should take as much math and science as possible. If you can take advanced math classes in high school, it will prepare you for the rigorous schedule of math in college. Take physics in high school as well, as it will give you a nice introduction to what you will be doing in the future.

In college, you will need to obtain a bachelors degree in physics. At that point, you should also consider getting a Masters degree in physics. This will allow you to become a professor or teacher of physics in the future. If you plan on working in a research environment, you will need to obtain a doctorate in physics.

There are also many subcategories of physics that you might choose to get an emphasis in. For example, you could choose to specialize in nuclear physics, geophysics, astrophysics, or biophysics. Specializing in a certain field can help you to get a job in that field later on. Many research labs prefer to have a specialist on hand depending on the type of research that they are doing. Therefore, this can give you a leg up on the competition if you know exactly what you want to do.

Getting a PhD

If you decide that you want to pursue a PhD in physics, you will have to work directly with a thesis advisor. You will have to publish original research under their guidance. Many times, the thesis adviser will give you some type of assignment or subject to write your thesis on. Many times, if you work for a professor during this period, you can obtain funding through a grant. This entire process will typically take 4 to 5 years to complete.

Potential Job Sources

After you have completed the necessary education requirements, there are a few different places that you could look for a job. You can obtain a job from a government agency, a university, or a private company. You will be able to teach physics or pursue a career in research.

Tips To Keep in Mind

You need to remember that the process of becoming a physicist is a very lengthy one. It will require a lot of dedication especially during the process of getting your doctorate. In the early stages, you need to remember that you should not get discouraged with the math. Physics will start to make sense once you become proficient in calculus. Therefore, you need to definitely pay attention when learning calculus as it is critical to a physicist.