Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Aoife Mc Dermott from Department of Education and Skills to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Aoife Mc Dermott

Lecturer

Department of Education and Skills

Read more

  Aoife Mc Dermott
The most important thing is that you like your subject area! It?s also important to do as well as you can throughout your degree. For example, I applied for PhD scholarship during my final year, so they were looking at my first, second and third year results. Finally, I find that liking people helps a lot.
Close

Investigative?
Investigative 
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
Career Interviews
Sector Profiles
School Subjects (LC)
College Courses
Close
Study Skills
Other
Work Experience (School)
CV & Interview Preparation

Occupation Details

logo imagelogo image

Physicist

Job Zone

Education
Most of these occupations require post-graduate qualifications. For example, they may require a masters degree, and some require a Ph.D., or M.D.

Related Experience
Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialised medical training to be able to do their job.

Job Training
Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organisational skills are required. Examples include librarians, lawyers, aerospace engineers, wildlife biologists, school psychologists, surgeons, treasurers, and most scientists.

€25k >  
Physicist
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€25 -  
Related Information:
Data Source(s):
FAS

Last Updated: March, 2011

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Return to List
Saves this course to your Career File if you are registered.

At a Glance... header image

Conducts research into physical phenomena, develops theories and laws on the basis of observation and experiments, and devises methods to apply laws and theories to industry and other fields.


Videos & Interviews header image

1Total Records: 1

Dr Arlene O'Neill
Physicist  
Arlene's favourite subject in school was physics, so when it came to choosing an undergraduate degree programme she choose physics in Dublin City University (DCU). From there she decided to specialise in Nano Science and went to Trinity College Dublin (TCD) to completed a PHD.
Go to Interview  
 

The Work header image

Physicists study the Earth and the universe, in terms of matter, force and energy. They explain the world around us, for example, by finding out more about the particles we are made of. Physicists also develop the use of science and technology in everyday life.  
 
Research into energy is increasingly important to the environment. Physicists may study and develop alternative ways to produce energy, for example, from solar, tidal or wind power. Some physicists make sure nuclear energy is produced safely. Research into energy sources involves fieldwork, for example, to measure wave energy. They work in medicine and engineering.  
 
Most opportunities for physicists are in manufacturing, technology and engineering. For example, in the transport industry, some physicists develop cars that make better use of fuel, or are safer and quieter. In the aerospace industry, physicists research and develop lighter, stronger and safer aircraft, spacecraft and satellites. They may work on commercial or military equipment.  
 
Physicists play an important role in health services. Medical physicists prevent, diagnose and treat disease. They use calculated and measured doses of radiation to treat cancer, avoiding damage to healthy tissue. They may work with lasers to treat blindness, cancer, or to support surgery.  
 
Some physicists work with universities to develop computer models of parts of our bodies, for example, the heart, using their knowledge of biophysics to design new materials to be used in 'spare part' surgery.

 


Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation

bullet

Perform complex calculations as part of the analysis and evaluation of data, using computers.

bullet

Describe and express observations and conclusions in mathematical terms.

bullet

Analyze data from research conducted to detect and measure physical phenomena.

bullet

Report experimental results by writing papers for scientific journals or by presenting information at scientific conferences.

bullet

Design computer simulations to model physical data so that it can be better understood.

bullet

Collaborate with other scientists in the design, development, and testing of experimental, industrial, or medical equipment, instrumentation, and procedures.

bullet

Direct testing and monitoring of contamination of radioactive equipment, and recording of personnel and plant area radiation exposure data.

bullet

Observe the structure and properties of matter, and the transformation and propagation of energy, using equipment such as masers, lasers, and telescopes to explore and identify the basic principles governing these phenomena.

bullet

Develop theories and laws on the basis of observation and experiments, and apply these theories and laws to problems in areas such as nuclear energy, optics, and aerospace technology.

bullet

Teach physics to students.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.

bullet

Thinking Creatively:  Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

bullet

Processing Information:  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

bullet

Making Decisions and Solving Problems:  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

bullet

Getting Information:  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

bullet

Analyzing Data or Information:  Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

bullet

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others:  Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

bullet

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge:  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

bullet

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others:  Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

bullet

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization:  Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

bullet

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events:  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.


Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.

bullet

Physics:  Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.

bullet

Mathematics:  Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

bullet

English Language:  Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

bullet

Engineering and Technology:  Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.

bullet

Computers and Electronics:  Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.


Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.

bullet

Reading Comprehension:   Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

bullet

Science:   Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

bullet

Mathematics:   Using mathematics to solve problems.

bullet

Active Learning:   Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

bullet

Writing:   Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

bullet

Learning Strategies:   Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.

bullet

Critical Thinking:   Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

bullet

Instructing:   Teaching others how to do something.

bullet

Speaking:   Talking to others to convey information effectively.

bullet

Complex Problem Solving:   Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

As a physicist, you will need strong analytical skills, numerical, reasoning, communication and problem solving skills. Mathematical ability and strong computing skills to work with specific software programmes are aslo valuable.

To design complex experiments, you will need to be both practical and imaginative. You must have a logical, enquiring mind, and good powers of concentration, observation and perseverance.  
 
You need to be able to explain ideas clearly, both verbally and in writing, and work as part of a team. Physics, Maths and Chemistry are essential subjects for this career. Analytical and high numerical ability would be an advantage.


Entry Routesheader image

Most careers in physics require graduate-level education, especially in theoretical physics. Degrees in relevant disciplines such as astronomy, astrophysics, medical physics or geophysics may also be acceptable.

Increasingly employers expect candidates to have a postgraduate qualification. 
 
Continuing professional development (CPD) is expected throughout your career.

Last Updated: November, 2014


Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go.. - from:  
Go..Physicist - from:  N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Physicist - from:  GradIreland

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image

bullet

Organisation: Smart Futures
  Address: Discover Science & Engineering, Wilton Park House, Wilton Place, Dublin, 2
  Tel: (01) 607 3171
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here

bullet

Organisation: Institute of Physics in Ireland
  Address: Department of Physics, University of Limerick, Limerick
  Tel: (061) 202 290/ (01) 708 3953
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here

bullet

Organisation: Smart Futures
  Address: Discover Science & Engineering, Wilton Park House, Wilton Place, Dublin, 2
  Tel: (01) 607 3171
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here

bullet

Organisation: Institute of Physics in Ireland
  Address: Department of Physics, University of Limerick, Limerick
  Tel: (061) 202 290/ (01) 708 3953
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here

 

Job Search


Industry Expert


Career Articles

Adrian Collins - Physics Researcher
Life after a STEM Degree
Jessamyn Fairfield - Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Shane Bergin - Physics Lecturer
A day in the life of a Laser Physicist
A day in the life of a Physics Lecturer
A day in the life of a Mathematics Modeller
A Day in the Life of a Solar Physicist
A day in the life of a Failure Analysis Engineer
A day in the Life of an Econophysicist

Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...


...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Physical & Mathematical Sciences
Space Science and Technology

Search for Related Courses from Qualifax - the National Learners Database

Go..


Higher Ed & CAO Course suggestions
If you are interested in this occupation, then the following courses may also be of interest. Note that these course suggestions are not intended to indicate that they lead directly to this occupation, only that they are related in some way and may be worth exploring.
Courses found: 57
Actuarial Mathematics
DCU
Applied Physics
DCU
Applied Physics
University of Limerick
Applied Physics and Instrumentation
Cork Institute of Technology
Arts (Mathematics and Education)
NUI Galway
Arts - Applied Mathematics
UCC (NUI)
Arts - Mathematical Physics
Maynooth University
Arts - Mathematical Studies
UCC (NUI)
Arts - Mathematical Studies
Maynooth University
Arts - Mathematics
TCD
Arts - Mathematics
UCD (NUI)
Arts - Mathematics
UCC (NUI)
Arts - Mathematics
University of Limerick
Arts - Mathematics
NUI Galway
Arts - Mathematics (Pure)
Maynooth University
Arts - Statistics
UCD (NUI)
Arts - Statistics
Maynooth University
Bachelor of Science - Common Entry (Cavan Institute)
Cavan Institute
Computational Thinking (Computer Science, Maths & Philosophy
Maynooth University
Computing with Data Analytics
IT Tallaght
Data Science
DCU
Economics and Mathematical Sciences
University of Limerick
Financial Mathematics
University of Limerick
Financial Mathematics and Economics
NUI Galway
Industrial and Environmental Physics
DIT
Industrial Mathematics
DIT
Industrial Physics
UCC (NUI)
Mathematical Science
NUI Galway
Mathematical Sciences
UCC (NUI)
Mathematical Sciences
DIT
Mathematical Sciences
University of Limerick
Mathematics
TCD
Mathematics (Common Entry)
University of Limerick
Mathematics and Physics
University of Limerick
Nanoscience, physics and chemistry of advanced materials
TCD
Pharmaceutical Science
Waterford IT
Pharmaceutical Science
Waterford IT
Physical Sciences (Common Entry)
Cork Institute of Technology
Physical Sciences (Common Entry)
Cork Institute of Technology
Physics & Instrumentation
GMIT - Galway-Mayo IT
Physics (Degree options in Applied, Astrophysics, Biomedical, Theoretical)
NUI Galway
Physics and Astrophysics
UCC (NUI)
Physics and Astrophysics
Maynooth University
Physics and Instrumentation
GMIT - Galway-Mayo IT
Physics for Modern Technology
Waterford IT
Physics Technology
DIT
Physics with Astronomy
DCU
Physics with Energy & Enviroment
DIT
Physics with Medical Physics and Bioengineering
DIT
Pilot Studies
IT Carlow
Science - (Mathematical, Physical and Geological Sciences)
UCD (NUI)
Science in Physics (Common Entry)
University of Limerick
Science Undenominated
IT Sligo
Science with Nanotechnology
DIT
Sustainable Energy Engineering
Waterford IT
Theoretical Physics
TCD
Theoretical Physics and Mathematics
Maynooth University