How To Become A Nuclear Physicist
A nuclear physicist will conduct research and experiments to help society understand the role that the atomic nucleus plays in science. Your research will help scientists learn about the origins of the nucleus, and how nuclei can help innovate science in different ways. You will study the smallest units of matter to help scientists understand how the universe works. You will work in scientific laboratories with state of the art technology and equipment.
Nuclear physics is a branch of physics that studies the nuclei of an atom, and how it can be used for practical applications. Nuclear physics has led to the advancement of nuclear power generation, nuclear medicine, nuclear engineering, and nuclear weapons.
Nuclear physicists require several years of education in order to receive a job in their field. This is a very rewarding career for people who love science.
Why Become A Nuclear Physicist
Nuclear physics is a relatively new field of science. There is still a lot to be explored. People who choose to go into nuclear physics have the opportunity to do research in many different areas. Nuclear physicists are able to make fascinating new discoveries in the world of science. They are able to use their research in practical ways, in the fields of medicine, engineering, energy and more.
This is a great career choice for people who enjoy science, conducting research, and solving complex problems. If you are interested in a career field with opportunities to be involved in new and challenging research, this is a great choice.
A Nuclear Physicist should possess the following qualities and skills:
- Good Researcher
- Good Communicator
- Problem Solver
Nuclear Physicist Work Environment
Nuclear physicists are hired anywhere that nuclear physics research may be conducted. Colleges and universities may hire nuclear physicists to conduct research or act as professors. Government agencies often hire physicists. Energy companies that specialize in nuclear power hire nuclear physicists. Nuclear engineering specialists are hired by engineering companies. Medical companies hire physicists for research and development.
Much of the time for a nuclear physicist is spent in a laboratory conducting experiments and using equipment and technology.
Nuclear Physicist Salary
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a physicist was $109,000 in 2014.
Salary may vary based on a number of factors, such as education, years of experience, location, industry, and other factors.
Nuclear Physicist Career Outlook
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for physicists are expected to grow seven percent from 2014 to 2024. This is average compared to other career fields in the country.
Nuclear physicists are in high demand, as the need for innovation in technology continues to grow. Physicists are needed to understand more about the nuclei and how science can use nuclear physics in everyday applications such as medicine, energy and engineering. The federal government is especially willing to fund research in the advancement of nuclear physics, and most research opportunities are funded by the federal government.
Nuclear Physicist Degree
A nuclear physicist must have several years of education and experience before securing a position in their field. Here are the steps you must take to become a nuclear physicist.
Step One: Undergraduate Degree Go to a college or university and receive your bachelor’s degree in nuclear science, nuclear engineering, or physics. Take courses which concentrate in nuclear physics and particle physics. These will give you a solid foundation in this career. Also be sure to take classes in mathematics, chemistry, and biology, which will help give you further insights into the field. English classes will help you become a more effective writer, which you will need to conduct and publicize your research.
Step Two: Research or Internships During your undergraduate program, apply to internships at laboratories or clinics that conduct physics research. Alternatively, you can also ask the head of your physics or engineering departments if you can participate in research studies on campus. These are great ways to become involved in physics research, and will make it easier for you to be accepted to a doctoral program. It will also help you find out if nuclear physics is the correct field for you.
Step Three: Doctoral Program Nuclear physicists must apply to a PhD program in nuclear physics. There are several universities that offer programs in nuclear physics, nuclear engineering, nuclear science, and similar. During this program you will take classes in electromagnetism, superconductivity, radiotherapy, and more. You will need to pass examinations, conduct research, and write a dissertation about your research topic. A doctorate degree in nuclear physics can take up to seven years to complete.