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Career profile Physics Professor

Also known as Adjunct Professor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Instructor, Physical Science Professor, Physics Instructor, Physics Lecturer, Physics Professor, Professor, Science Instructor

Physics Professor

Also known as Adjunct Professor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor

Interests Profile
  • Social
  • Investigative
  • Realistic
Pay Range
$49,340 - $169,240 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Instructing
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Speaking
Knowledge Areas
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Education and Training
Core tasks
  • Evaluate and grade students' class work, laboratory work, projects, assignments, and papers.
  • Prepare course materials, such as syllabi, homework assignments, or handouts.
  • Compile, administer, and grade examinations or assign this work to others.
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What does a Physics Professor do?

Physics Professors teach courses pertaining to the laws of matter and energy.

In addition, Physics Professors includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

What kind of tasks does a Physics Professor perform regularly?

Physics Professors are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Evaluate and grade students' class work, laboratory work, projects, assignments, and papers.
  • Prepare course materials, such as syllabi, homework assignments, or handouts.
  • Compile, administer, and grade examinations or assign this work to others.
  • Prepare and deliver lectures to undergraduate or graduate students on topics such as anatomy, therapeutic recreation, and conditioning theory.
  • Maintain regularly scheduled office hours to advise and assist students.
  • Supervise undergraduate or graduate teaching, internship, and research work.
  • Initiate, facilitate, and moderate classroom discussions.
  • Maintain student attendance records, grades, and other required records.
  • Plan, evaluate, and revise curricula, course content, course materials, and methods of instruction.
  • Supervise students' laboratory work.
  • Keep abreast of developments in the field by reading current literature, talking with colleagues, giving presentations at conferences, and serving on committees in professional associations.
  • Collaborate with colleagues to address teaching and research issues.
  • Advise students on academic and vocational curricula, and on career issues.
  • Conduct research in a particular field of knowledge and publish findings in scholarly journals, books, or electronic media.
  • Select and obtain materials and supplies, such as textbooks and performance pieces.
  • Maintain and repair laboratory equipment.
  • Perform administrative duties, such as serving as department heads.
  • Participate in student recruitment, registration, and placement activities.
  • Serve on academic or administrative committees that deal with institutional policies, departmental matters, and academic issues.

The above responsibilities are specific to Physics Professors. More generally, Physics Professors are involved in several broader types of activities:

Training and Teaching Others
Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others
Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

What is a Physics Professor salary?

The median salary for a Physics Professor is $90,400, and the average salary is $101,290. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Physics Professor salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Physics Professors earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Physics Professors earn less than $49,340 per year, 25% earn less than $64,990, 75% earn less than $125,290, and 90% earn less than $169,240.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Physics Professors is expected to change by 7.9%, and there should be roughly 1,700 open positions for Physics Professors every year.

Median annual salary
$90,400
Typical salary range
$49,340 - $169,240
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
7.9%

What personality traits are common among Physics Professors?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Physics Professor are usually higher in their Social and Investigative interests.

Physics Professors typically have very strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Also, Physics Professors typically have very strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Physics Professor tend to value Achievement, Working Conditions, and Recognition.

Most importantly, Physics Professors strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Second, Physics Professors strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Lastly, Physics Professors strongly value Recognition. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Physics Professors must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, analytical thinking, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Physics Professors, ranked by importance:

Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Achievement/Effort
Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

What education and training do Physics Professors need?

Many Physics Professors have earned a graduate degree. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D..

Physics Professors may need some on-the-job training, but most candidates will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Educational degrees among Physics Professors

  • 0.6% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 1.4% completed high school or secondary school
  • 2.0% completed some college coursework
  • 1.8% earned a Associate's degree
  • 14.6% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 32.1% earned a Master's degree
  • 47.4% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Physics Professors

Physics Professors may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as mathematics, physics, or education and training knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Physics Professors might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
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.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Chemistry
Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.

Important Abilities needed by Physics Professors

Physics Professors must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Physics Professors need abilities such as oral expression, oral comprehension, and written comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Physics Professors, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.

Critical Skills needed by Physics Professors

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Physics Professors frequently use skills like instructing, reading comprehension, and speaking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Physics Professors, ranked by their relative importance.

Instructing
Teaching others how to do something.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Science
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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