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Details for 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 both teaching and research.


  • Evaluate and grade students' class work, laboratory work, assignments, and papers.
  • Prepare and deliver lectures to undergraduate and/or graduate students on topics such as quantum mechanics, particle physics, and optics.
  • Compile, administer, and grade examinations, or assign this work to others.
  • Maintain student attendance records, grades, and other required records.
  • Supervise students' laboratory work.
  • Prepare course materials such as syllabi, homework assignments, and handouts.
  • Maintain regularly scheduled office hours in order to advise and assist students.
  • Supervise undergraduate and/or graduate teaching, internship, and research work.
  • Keep abreast of developments in their field by reading current literature, talking with colleagues, and participating in professional conferences.
  • Plan, evaluate, and revise curricula, course content, and course materials and methods of instruction.
  • Initiate, facilitate, and moderate classroom discussions.
  • Conduct research in a particular field of knowledge, and publish findings in professional journals, books, and/or electronic media.
  • Advise students on academic and vocational curricula, and on career issues.
  • Select and obtain materials and supplies such as textbooks and laboratory equipment.
  • Collaborate with colleagues to address teaching and research issues.
  • 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.
  • Perform administrative duties such as serving as department head.
  • Act as advisers to student organizations.
  • Provide professional consulting services to government and/or industry.
  • Compile bibliographies of specialized materials for outside reading assignments.
  • Participate in campus and community events.


  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with 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.
  • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Education, Training, Experience

  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • Personnel and Human Resources - Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • 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.


  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • 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.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Mathematics - Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

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Wages for this career
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