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Science and Research Careers | Physical Scientist

Physical Scientist

What Does a Professional in this Career Do?

Studies and conducts research in one of many specialized areas within the natural sciences including biology, chemistry and physics.

Job Outlook

There were 48 Physical Scientist job postings in North Carolina in the past year and 1303 in the United States.

In combination with other careers in the Physical Scientist industry, which includes the Physical Scientist career, the following graph shows the number of people employed for each year since 2012:

Salary

Many new Physical Scientist jobs have salaries estimated to be in the following ranges, based on the requirements and responsibilities listed in job postings from the past year.

National

The average estimated salary in the United States for this career, based on job postings in the past year, is $81,407.

State

The average estimated salary in North Carolina for this career, based on job postings in the past year, is $76,056.

Percentiles represent the percentage that is lower than the value. For example, 25% of estimated salaries for Physical Scientist postings in the United States in the past year were lower than $42,655.

Education and Experience

Posted Physical Scientist jobs typically require the following level of education. The numbers below are based on job postings in the United States from the past year. Not all job postings list education requirements.

Education LevelPercentage
Associate's Degree0%
Bachelor's Degree64%
Master's Degree25%
Doctoral Degree10%
Other1%

Posted Physical Scientist jobs typically require the following number of years of experience. The numbers below are based on job postings in the United States from the past year. Not all job postings list experience requirements.

Years of ExperiencePercentage
0 to 2 years73%
3 to 5 years22%
6 to 8 years2%
9+ years3%

Skills

Below are listings of the most common general and specialized skills Physical Scientist positions expect applicants to have as well as the most common skills that distinguish individuals from their peers. The percentage of job postings that specifically mention each skill is also listed.

Baseline Skills

A skill that is required across a broad range of occupations, including this one.

  • Research (39%)
  • Communication Skills (27%)
  • Planning (26%)
  • Writing (17%)
  • Written Communication (16%)

Defining Skills

A core skill for this occupation, it occurs frequently in job postings.

  • Chemistry (21%)
  • Personnel Management (21%)
  • Physics (16%)
  • Remote Sensing (10%)
  • Natural Resource Management (9%)

Necessary Skills

A skill that is requested frequently in this occupation but isn’t specific to it.

  • Copying (14%)
  • Materials Testing (14%)
  • Quality Assurance and Control (12%)
  • Masonry (12%)
  • Project Management (12%)

Distinguishing Skills

A skill that may distinguish a subset of the occupation.

  • Hydrology (7%)
  • Land Management (4%)
  • Meteorology (4%)
  • Natural Resources (4%)
  • Environmental Science (4%)

Salary Boosting Skills

A professional who wishes to excel in this career path may consider developing the following highly valued skills. The percentage of job postings that specifically mention each skill is listed along with the marginal value: the average salary difference between postings that request that skill and those that do not.

  • Meteorology (4%) – marginal value $3,378

Alternative Job Titles

Sometimes employers post jobs with Physical Scientist skills but a different job title. Some common alternative job titles include:

  • Construction Materials Technician
  • Physical Scientist, Zp
  • Physical Scientist, Gs
  • Entry Level Construction Materials Technician

Similar Occupations

If you are interested in exploring occupations with similar skills, you may want to research the following job titles. Note that we only list occupations that have at least one corresponding NC State Online and Distance Education program.

Common Employers

Here are the employers that have posted the most Physical Scientist jobs in the past year along with how many they have posted.

United States

  • US Government (142)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (73)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (69)
  • US Department of Energy (51)
  • Atlantic Testing Laboratories (48)

North Carolina

  • Environmental Protection Agency (8)
  • Applied Research Associates Incorporated (7)
  • US Government (5)
  • Terracon Consultants, Inc. (3)
  • Us Joint Activities (3)

NC State Programs Relevant to this Career

If you are interested in preparing for a career in this field, the following NC State Online and Distance Education programs offer a great place to start!

Not sure where to start?

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