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Summary Report for:
25-1054.00 - 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.

Sample of reported job titles: Professor, Physics Professor, Physics Instructor, Instructor, Professor of Physics, Math and Physics Instructor, Assistant Professor, Assistant Professor of Physics, Associate Professor, Physical Science Professor

View report: Summary  Details  Custom

Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Conduct research in a particular field of knowledge and publish findings in professional journals, books, or electronic media.
  • Prepare and deliver lectures to undergraduate or graduate students on topics such as quantum mechanics, particle physics, and optics.
  • Prepare course materials such as syllabi, homework assignments, and handouts.
  • Write grant proposals to procure external research funding.
  • Keep abreast of developments in the field by reading current literature, talking with colleagues, and participating in professional conferences.
  • Supervise undergraduate or graduate teaching, internship, and research work.
  • Collaborate with colleagues to address teaching and research issues.
  • Compile, administer, and grade examinations, or assign this work to others.
  • Plan, evaluate, and revise curricula, course content, and course materials and methods of instruction.
  • Evaluate and grade students' class work, laboratory work, assignments, and papers.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

Lasers — Far infrared FIR lasers; Laser systems; Optically pumped molecular lasers
Microphones — Handheld microphones; Wireless microphones
Parabolic mirrors — Concave mirrors; Convex mirrors
Portable data input terminals — Interactive whiteboard controllers; Student response systems
Televisions — Liquid crystal display LCD televisions; Television monitors

Technology used in this occupation:

Analytical or scientific software — Gravitation software *; The MathWorks MATLAB; VASP Data Viewer *; Wolfram Research Mathematica
Computer based training software — Blackboard Learn; Desire2Learn; Learning management system LMS software; Sakai CLE *
Development environment software — C; National Instruments LabVIEW; plotutils *; PLplot *
Electronic mail software — Email software; Microsoft Outlook
Word processing software — Collaborative editing software; Google Docs *; LaTeX; Microsoft Word

* Software developed by a government agency and/or distributed as freeware or shareware.

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Knowledge

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

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Skills

Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
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.
Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

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Abilities

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.
Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
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 there is a problem.
Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.

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Work Activities

Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
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.

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Work Context

Electronic Mail — How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
Freedom to Make Decisions — How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
Structured versus Unstructured Work — To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?
Contact With Others — How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
Face-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
Coordinate or Lead Others — How important is it to coordinate or lead others in accomplishing work activities in this job?
Duration of Typical Work Week — Number of hours typically worked in one week.
Spend Time Sitting — How much does this job require sitting?
Level of Competition — To what extent does this job require the worker to compete or to be aware of competitive pressures?

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed
Education Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).
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 specialized 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 organizational skills are required. Examples include librarians, lawyers, sports medicine physicians, wildlife biologists, school psychologists, surgeons, treasurers, and controllers.
SVP Range (8.0 and above)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
56   Doctoral degree
41   Post-doctoral training
  Master's degree

This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:

Mathematics — Theoretical and Mathematical Physics
Physics/Astronomy — Acoustics; Atomic/Molecular Physics; Elementary Particle Physics; Nuclear Physics; Optics/Optical Sciences; Physics (see all 10 programs)

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Credentials

Find Training Find Certifications Find Licenses

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Interests

Interest code: SI

Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Investigative — 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.

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Work Styles

Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

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Work Values

Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2013) $80,590 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 17,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Average (8% to 14%) Average (8% to 14%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 5,000
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2013 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

  • Postsecondary Teachers external site. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.

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