Astrophysicists study the physics of the universe. “Astrophysics” is a term that is often used interchangeably with “astronomy.” Physicists and astronomers study the ways in which various forms of matter and energy interact.
Physicists and astronomers typically need a Ph.D. for jobs in research and academia. However, physicist jobs in the federal government typically require a bachelor’s degree in physics. After receiving a Ph.D. in physics or astronomy, many researchers seeking careers in academia begin in temporary postdoctoral research positions.
Overall employment of physicists and astronomers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. Physicists are projected to have employment growth in the scientific research and development services, educational services, and healthcare and social assistance industries.
Physicists and astronomers spend much of their time working in offices, but they also conduct research in laboratories and observatories. Most physicists and astronomers work full time.