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10 highest paying jobs for Physics graduates

Updated on: May 15, 2024
10 highest paying jobs for Physics graduates
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A degree in Physics can lead you into a whole host of careers, some deeply involved in the subject itself, and others totally unrelated. 

Either way, a physics degree is an impressive one to hold as it demonstrates a sharp, analytical, and curious mind. 

And you’ll be rewarded financially too - the average physics graduate starting salary in the UK is around £3,000 higher than the average overall graduate salary. 

As usual, we’ve done painstaking research and found a diverse number of careers where physics graduates earn well, get plenty of perks, and make an impact. 

In this article, we will explore the 10 highest paying physics jobs. So, if you're ready to embark on an extraordinary journey where your passion for physics meets unparalleled earning potential, read on to discover the highest paying jobs with physics degree.

Also Read: 10 Best-Paid Jobs For Students In The UK

10 highest paying physics jobs

JobAverage Annual Salary
Aerospace Engineer£54,054
Research Scientist (physical sciences)£53,921
Medical Physicist£52,259
Test Engineer£48,705
Physics Professor£46,081
Nanotechnology Engineer£40,589
Radiation protection practitioner£31,075

1. Aerospace Engineer

Average salary: £54,054

Aerospace engineering is one of the exciting and rewarding jobs for physics graduates. Designing aircraft and spacecraft is bound to be pretty engaging work, and it’s well paid too. 

Also read: High demand in the UK

Graduate aerospace engineers earn as much as £54,000 in the UK, a number which rises to north of £65,000 after a few years on the job. 

Job satisfaction is generally very high, as there is a feeling of accomplishment with the work, as well as a constant demand - you’re unlikely to have to spend very long looking for a job. 

Also read: In-demand engineering jobs in Canada

2. Research scientist (physical sciences)

Average salary: £53,921

This one might seem pretty obvious, but with good reason. The average research scientist earns more than £50,000 per year in the UK, making it one of the highest paying jobs in physics.

There’s plenty of work available in both the private and public sectors, and it’s important work too. Research scientists make discoveries about just about everything there is to investigate. Without them, we’d know very little. 

Naturally, a career as a research scientist comes with its pressures, as you’ll be carrying out experiments, publishing papers, and constantly seeking funding for your work, but if you're passionate about making new discoveries, then you’re sure to enjoy this one. 

3. Medical Physicist

Average salary: £52,259

Medical physicists are professionals who apply principles of physics to the field of medicine, specifically in the use of radiation for diagnostic imaging and cancer treatment.

They play a crucial role in ensuring the safe and effective use of medical technologies such as X-rays, MRI, and radiation therapy.

Due to the specialised knowledge and responsibility involved in this role, medical physicists are among the highest paying jobs with physics degree. On average, a medical physicist earns £52,259 per year, depending on factors such as experience, location, and the employing institution.

4. Test Engineer

Average salary: £48,705

Test engineers in the physics field are responsible for developing and implementing testing procedures to assess the performance and functionality of various scientific equipment and instruments.

They work on designing and executing experiments, collecting and analysing data, and ensuring the reliability and accuracy of scientific measurements.

Test engineers in physics can earn a competitive salary, with average earnings ranging from £45,000 to £55,000 per year, depending on their expertise, industry, and company size.

5. Physics Professor

Average salary: £46,081

Physics professors find themselves doing a lot on a day-to-day basis. This includes conducting research, writing and publishing papers, and passing on knowledge to the next generation of students.

Professors in the UK tend to earn more than double the national average, pulling in a very tidy £56,000! This makes it one of the highest paid physics graduate jobs.

Of course, getting into a position like this is hard, requiring a lot of post-graduate work and qualification, but if you’re willing to rough it for a few years for something you’re passionate about, the rewards are waiting.

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6. Geophysicist

Average salary: £45,648 

Using your physics knowledge to figure out how the earth works, while spending ample time in the great outdoors rather than in an office environment? That sounds pretty good to us. 

Geophysicists’ work is wide ranging and the salaries are great too. Most start at least £38,000 per year, and go as high as £50,000 after enough years on the job. 

Generally, geophysicists are happy in their work, and they’re paid well for it too! 

7. Nanotechnology Engineer

Average salary: £40,589 

Nanotechnology engineers are at the forefront of cutting-edge research and development in the field of nanoscience. They work with materials and devices at the nanoscale, creating new technologies with applications in electronics, medicine, energy, and other industries.

Due to the high demand for their expertise and the groundbreaking nature of their work, nanotechnology engineers are among the highest paying jobs in physics.

Their salaries typically range from $37,000 to £45,000 per year, with the potential for even higher earnings in specialised industries or research institutions.

8. Astronomer

Average salary: £38,580

Astronomers study the universe, the stars and the planets, delving into some of life’s greatest mysteries. 

It’s a research-heavy job, requiring great curiosity and patience, with an average UK salary of £45,000. That makes this one of the highest-paid professions for physics graduates!

Aside from money, astronomers are generally happy in their work as they’re following a passion, and making discoveries that most people in the world wouldn’t even dream of, and are often employed by high profile government agencies.

9. Meteorologist

Average salary: ££35,696

Meteorologists use advanced instruments, data analysis, and computer models to predict weather events and provide crucial information for various industries, including agriculture, aviation, and disaster management.

The average salary for a meteorologist in the UK is £35,696 per year. However, salaries can go even higher for experienced meteorologists working in high-demand industries or research institutions.

10. Radiation protection practitioners

Average salary: £31,075

Radiation protection practitioners work to ensure the safe use of radiation in various applications, such as nuclear power plants, medical facilities, industrial settings, and research laboratories.

They are responsible for monitoring radiation levels, implementing safety protocols, and minimising exposure risks to workers and the general public.

The average salary for a health physicist in the UK ranged from $28,000 to $33,000 per year. Experienced radiation protection practitioners, especially in the nuclear power industry or government agencies, may earn higher salaries.

If you’re not set on Physics, why not take a look at our blog on the topn highest paying degrees in the UK.

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The field of physics offers numerous rewarding career paths for graduates, providing both intellectual fulfilment and substantial financial rewards. The above mentioned highest paying physics jobs showcase the diversity and significance of the discipline across various industries and sectors.

Frequently asked questions

What can you do with a physics degree?

With a physics degree, you can find opportunities in research and development, engineering, data analysis, finance, teaching, and technology-related industries. Additionally, physics graduates are well-equipped to enter academia, national laboratories, and research institutions, contributing to cutting-edge scientific advancements.

What are the high paying jobs after BSc Physics?

After completing a BSc in Physics, graduates can become a data analyst, research scientist, software engineer, financial analyst, or working in the aerospace industry

What are the highest paying physics jobs in the UK?

Some of the highest paying physics jobs in the UK include

aerospace engineer, research scientist (physical sciences), medical physicist, test engineer, physics professor, and geophysicist.

What are the highest paying jobs for physics graduates after MSc Physics?

After completing an MSc in Physics, graduates can explore well-compensated positions such as becoming a nuclear physicist, astrophysicist, research scientist in specialised fields, or an engineering consultant.

What are the highest paying jobs for ?

Some of the top-paying jobs for physics PhD holders include research scientists in cutting-edge industries, senior positions in academia and national laboratories, astrophysicists working for space agencies, and roles in quantum computing and technology companies.

Where do most physics graduates work?

Physics graduates find employment in various sectors like research and development, engineering, education, and technology-related industries.

Are physics graduates in demand?

Yes, physics graduates are in demand due to their specialised skills and problem-solving abilities. There are a lot of highest paying jobs in physics available worldwide.

Which country is leading in physics?

The United States remains a global leader in physics, with numerous renowned research institutions, laboratories, and universities dedicated to advancing the field. Other countries, such as Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Japan, also have strong contributions to physics research and innovation.

Which study abroad is best for physics?

Several countries offer excellent opportunities for studying physics abroad. Popular choices include the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and Australia. The US and UK with most physics graduate jobs are the most preferable countries.

Which specialisation is best in physics?

Some popular and promising specialisations include condensed matter physics, particle physics, astrophysics, quantum mechanics, nuclear physics, and computational physics.

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