Nuclear Physicist

Nuclear physicists understand the structure of atomic nuclei the particles they are made of and how the particles interact. With this knowledge they conduct research on nuclear energy and techniques for generating electric power from nuclear reactors and developing nuclear weapons technology. However the principles of nuclear physics have also been applied in the medical field with the development of devices such as magnetic resonance imaging. Aspiring nuclear physicists must first earn a bachelor’s degree in physics. However a master’s degree is required for most jobs and they will need a doctoral degree to qualify for jobs in basic research and teaching. After earning a doctorate they are usually expected to work for two to four additional years as a postdoctoral researcher during which time they earn relatively low salaries but they have the opportunity for further study under the guidance of senior scientists. Nuclear physicists usually work in laboratories often on teams. They are employed by research firms academic institutions and the U.S. government. Most nuclear physicists are members of the American Nuclear Society (ANS). The salaries nuclear physicists earn depend on their experience and educational credentials. The website says that in the near future job opportunities for nuclear physicists may be somewhat limited because the nuclear power industry has not been expanding. Competition for basic research jobs will be stiff but jobs for master’s level nuclear physicists with applied skills may be more plentiful. A report by the American Institute of Physics says that the median annual salary for nuclear physicists is approximately $104000 for those with Ph.D. degrees $94000 for those with master’s degrees and $72000 for those with bachelor’s degrees.

Education Required: Bachelor's Degree
Avg Salary: $88120
High Salary: $104240
Low Salary: $72000
Tasks: Studies atomic nuclei.
Conducts research on atoms.
Works in a laboratory environment.
Develops ways to generate power from nuclear reactors.
Also Called: Physicist
Nuclear Scientist
Nuclear Researcher
Particle Physicist
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