CareerExplorer rates Particle Physicists with a B- employability rating, meaning this career should provide good employment opportunities for the foreseeable future.
Demand for Particle Physicists
Increased spending by the U.S. federal government for university research programs will continue to be the major driver of jobs for particle physicists. Competition for these research posts, however, is expected to be strong, with candidates often having to complete several appointments before securing a permanent position. The fact that particle physics or ‘high energy physics’ jobs are usually pure science positions with no immediate real-world application naturally limits employment options for new graduates. But large research laboratories such as the Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics in Russia, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, and the KEK Laboratory in Japan employ thousands of people who conduct experiments on the theories of quantum mechanics, dark matter, and other questions of physics. Their conviction, and that of many scientists around the world, is that there is no telling where research in this field could lead. The possibilities presented by particle physics will continue to spur demand for further exploration and research.
Not all particle physicists participate in experimental research; many more students enter graduate programs than can ever hope to work in research facilities. Jobs also exist in academia, but those hoping to teach the subject at the university level will face considerable competition, particularly for tenured positions. Perhaps surprisingly, particle physicists are increasingly finding jobs on Wall Street. Investment firms are employing them because their training enables them to understand the mathematical equations used to calculate the risks and probabilities associated with complicated financial instruments such as derivatives. Instead of analyzing the likely behavior of subatomic particles governed by quantum mechanics, these ‘quants,’ as they have become known, analyze the likely behaviour of financial markets.
Supply of Particle Physicists
We are still collecting data for this career.
Find your perfect career
Would you make a good particle physicist? CareerExplorer's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!