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Career Profile: Physics Teachers, Postsecondary

Teach courses pertaining to the laws of matter and energy. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 16,500 people employed as physics teachers, postsecondary in the United States. The median annual salary is $90,400. Entry level employees earn approximately $49,340 per year and senior employees earn approximately $169,240 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • 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, and participating in professional conferences.
  • 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 professional journals, books, or electronic media.
  • Select and obtain materials and supplies, such as textbooks and laboratory equipment.
  • Evaluate and grade students' class work, laboratory work, assignments, and papers.
  • Prepare course materials, such as syllabi, homework assignments, and 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 quantum mechanics, particle physics, and optics.
  • Maintain and repair laboratory equipment.
  • Perform administrative duties, such as serving as department head.
  • Participate in student recruitment, registration, and placement activities.
  • Serve on academic or administrative committees that deal with institutional policies, departmental matters, and academic issues.
  • Write grant proposals to procure external research funding.
  • Compile bibliographies of specialized materials for outside reading assignments.
  • Participate in campus and community events.
  • Act as advisers to student organizations.
  • Provide professional consulting services to government or industry.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
16,500
Annual Openings:
1,700
Increase in Openings by 2030:
8%
Annual Salary Range:
$49,340 - $169,240
Education Requirements:
Master's degree or higher