Frequently Asked Questions
What Careers are Available for Physics?
A BS in Physics can be the start of an exciting and high paying career whether your interested in studying Black Holes, building nuclear accelerators, becoming a Physician, or pursuing a passion for teaching physics in High School. Our program offers several unique tracks including an Astronomy track and a Medical Physics track for students interested in preparing for advanced study leading to employment as a Medical Physicist overseeing a Therapeutic Radiation or Medical Imaging facility. Most of our graduates choose to double major and obtain dual BS degrees by adding two to three classes in Computer Science or Mathematics.
What is the Purpose of a Physics Degree?
Physics programs are primarily designed for students who have the ability and interest to eventually pursuing an advanced degree in engineering, physics, medicine, law, dentistry,etc. Math requirements are similar to engineering with courses through at least Differential Equations. Since Physics degrees are designed to train future graduate students, the average student must be stronger than the average engineering student and physics programs are generally much smaller than engineering programs which are designed for students who plan to be employed at the BS level. Physics students who decide to stop at the BS level usually find employment in industry is positions similar to engineering and computer science majors and are usually called engineers or computer programmers.
Over 50% of all physics students nationwide get advanced degrees with 100% of Tarleton physics majors obtaining paid graduate fellowships over the past decade. After graduate school, Physicists usually find employment doing in basic research at a national lab or university, working on applied research in industry or working in upper management in high tech companies. Physicists who work in industry usually will have a title based upon the job without “physics” in it. As basic researchers, Physicists are interested in the finding out how the laws of nature work that have large ramifications on society rather than developing a specific product or tool. Physicists often make the first device like the first NMR, laser, accelerator, transistor, radar, etc. BS level engineers will then implement these devices into mainstream society.
What is Medical Physics?
Medical Physicists work in hospitals and universities applying physics to medicine including medical imaging and radiation therapy. These include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), CT, proton therapy, etc. To work as a licensed medical physicists, one must either obtain an MS or PhD in Medical Physics or a PhD in Physics with additional clinical experience and pass the State licensing exam. Starting salaries in medical physics range from $100,000 to $150,000 depending on training.