How to become a Physicist

Physicists study the behaviour of the physical world at the most basic level and find practical ways to apply new knowledge gained from their research in areas of science and technology. Physicists are usually identified within three broad roles: • theoretical physicists, who develop theories or models of how particular aspects of the world work • experimental physicists, who test these theories, determining their limits and suggesting new approaches to them • applied physicists, who apply these findings in practical settings, such as within industry and through the introduction of new technology. There is interaction between all three roles and physicists generally have skills in each of these areas.

Personal requirements of a Physicist

  • Aptitude for analysis and problem-solving
  • Enthusiasm for research
  • Aptitude for mathematics and computing
  • Able to visualise and explain ideas clearly
  • Able to work independently or as part of a team

Education & Training for a Physicist

To become a physicist you usually have to complete a degree in science or applied science at university with a major in physics, astrophysics, nanoscience, nanotechnology or photonics. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, biology, chemistry, earth and environmental science and physics are normally required. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For further details, visit

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:

relatively steady

Employment by state:

ACT 6.6%

NSW 44.1%

NT 0.3%

QLD 11.8%

SA 6%

TAS 0.9%

VIC 14%

WA 16.4%

Hours worked:



below average

Gender split:

Male 60.2%

Female 39.8%

Education level:

Not completed Year 10: 0%

Not completed Year 12: 0%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 0%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 0%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 0%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 36.4%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 63.6%

Age bracket:

Below 35 years: 59.2%

Above 35 years: 50.5%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

Related careers