Physical Scientist Career

Science and Research

 
Science and Research Careers | Physical Scientist

Physical Scientist

Career Area: Science and Research

Occupation Group: Chemical and Physical Science

Salary

Percentile wages tell how much a certain percentage of an overall population in a geographic area or within a given industry or field makes. The percentile wage estimate is the value of a wage below which a certain percent of workers fall.

An example would be the 25th percentile, 25 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 75 percent earn more than the estimated wage value. At the 75th percentile, 75 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 25 percent earn more than the estimated wage value.

A typical Physical Scientist earns the following wages (national and state):

State

The average salary in North Carolina for those pursuing this career is $85,517

*The salaries depicted here are representative of the range of salaries posted in job listings over the past year. Living wage in North Carolina is $30,000.

National

The average salary in the United States for those pursuing this career is $88,712

*The salaries depicted here are representative of the range of salaries posted in job listings over the past year. Living wage in North Carolina is $30,000.

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.

Employment Trends

The job demand and job growth statistics shown here were derived from job posts over the past year. Expected job growth projections are extrapolated from year-over-year job post listing history.

Job demand and job growth is expected at the following rates:

Growth
North Carolina66+9.9%
Nationwide1282+6.8%

Skills

A professional in this position typically utilizes the following skills in the course of everyday work in this exciting and challenging field:

Baseline Skills

The following are baseline skills every Physical Scientist is expected to have in order to experience success in this field:

  • Research: Experience performing creative and systematic work to understand a product, market, or customer, either before building a new solution, or to troubleshoot an existing issue
  • Planning: Working experience with the process of thinking about and organizing the activities required to achieve desired goals.
  • Communication Skills: The ability to convey information to another effectively and efficiently.
  • Writing: Experience expressing business messages effectively in written form. This may include planning drafting and revising as necessary.
  • Written Communication: Working experience of Written Communication, which involves any type of message that makes use of the written word. Written communication is the most important and the most effective of any mode of business communication.

Specialized Skills

These skills are specific to working in this career:

  • Personnel Management: Human Resource Management [HRM or HR] is the management of human resources.
  • Chemistry: Chemistry is a branch of physical science that studies the composition, structure, properties and change of matter.
  • Physics: Knowledge and working experience of the branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy.
  • Project Management: Project management is the discipline of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria.
  • Biology: Biology is the natural science that involves the study of life and living organisms, including their physical and chemical structure, function, development and evolution.

Distinguishing Skills

Any Physical Scientist that possesses the following skills will stand out against the competition:

  • Environmental Science: Environmental science is an interdisciplinary academic field that integrates physical, biological and information sciences (including ecology, biology, physics, chemistry, zoology, mineralogy, oceanology, limnology, soil science, geology, atmospheric science, and geodesy) to the study of the environment, and the solution of environmental problems.
  • Hydrology: Hydrology is the scientific study of the movement, distribution, and quality of water on Earth and other planets, including the water cycle, water resources and environmental watershed sustainability.
  • Meteorology: Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences which includes atmospheric chemistry and atmospheric physics, with a major focus on weather forecasting.
  • Environmental Restoration: Environmental restoration is a term common in the citizens environmental movement.
  • Hydrogeology: Hydrogeology (hydro- meaning water, and -geology meaning the study of the Earth) is the area of geology that deals with the distribution and movement of groundwater in the soil and rocks of the Earth's crust (commonly in aquifers).

Salary Boosting Skills

A professional who wishes to excel in this career path may consider developing the following highly valued skills:

  • Overhead Persistent Infrared: Those systems originally developed to detect and track foreign intercontinental ballistic missile systems.
  • Metallurgy: Metallurgy is a domain of materials science and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements, their inter-metallic compounds, and their mixtures, which are called alloys.
  • Weather Prediction: Working experience of Weather Prediction, which is the application of science and technology to predict the conditions of the atmosphere for a given location and time. Weather forecasts are made by collecting quantitative data about the current state of the atmosphere at a given place and using meteorology to project how the atmosphere will change.

Education

This career typically requires the following level of education. The numbers presented in the pie charts below were derived from actual job posts over the past year. Not all job postings list education requirements.

.
Education Level%
Bachelor's Degree61%
Master's Degree37%
Doctoral Degree2%

Experience

This position typically requires the following level of experience. The numbers presented in the pie charts below were derived from actual job posts over the past year. Not all job postings list experience requirements.

Experience Required%
0 to 2 years81%
3 to 5 years13%
6 to 8 years1%

Many of the programs offered through NC State are designed for working professionals who need additional credentials to enhance existing work experience.

Students who do not have the expected level of experience may wish to look into internship and employment opportunities.

Common Job Titles

It is possible to find work in this field in positions commonly listed as the following job titles:

  • Physical Scientist
  • Construction Materials Technician
  • General Physical Scientist
  • Physical Scientist, Gs
  • Physical Scientist, Zp

Similar Occupations

If you are interested in exploring similar occupations, you may want to research the following job titles:

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