Physical Science Technologies/Technicians

Overview of Physical Science Technologies Program as a College Major

Physical science is the study of non-living systems, processes of matter and energy, and related phenomenon. Therefore, students who choose a degree program in physical science technologies should be interested in preparing for a career which will allow them to apply scientific principles and technical skills which support scientific research and development.

Typical physical science technology/technician programs include nuclear power technician, chemical technologist, environmental science technician and nuclear technologist.

Physical Science Technologies Program Curriculum       

Schools vary greatly in what they classify under the physical science technologies umbrella. Programs may include a wide range of scientific disciplines, from physical and life science to health care. Therefore, your actual course work will differ depending on your dedicated course of study.

However, here are some courses you may be expected to take if you were to choose a path specifically in physical science:

  • Inorganic, organic and analytical chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Nuclear physics
  • Nuclear engineering
  • Radiochemistry
  • Statistics
  • Computer applications
  • Mathematics
  • Environmental studies

Education Levels Available for a Physical Science Technologies Degree

While there are no specific college-level programs that offer a degree in the general area of physical science technologies, there are a variety of undergraduate degree and certification programs available in specific physical science disciplines.

Depending on your area of interest, you might consider an Associate degree of Applied Sciences (AAS) in nuclear power technology. This program is a great springboard to higher education in health physics, radiation safety and nuclear engineering. In addition, there are programs which offer a certificate in nuclear power technology. Or your interests might lie in the field of chemical technology. There are Associate programs available in this discipline as well.

Another discipline under the physical science technologies program is environmental technology. An environmental technology or environmental science program is generally an Associate degree and prepares you to work in environmental support such as water resource sampling & assessment and hazardous waste & materials management or to move on to higher education in the field of sustainability. There are also certificate programs available in environmental technology.

Skills Developed through Physical Science Technologies Degree Program

The primary purpose behind a physical science technologies degree is to prepare you to work in a support position within a scientific environment. Therefore, you will need to develop specific skill sets. These include:

  • Critical thinking and logic
  • Problem solving and decision making
  • Working knowledge of computers and a variety of computer programs
  • Keen ability to effectively collect, interpret, and evaluate scientific data in multiple formats using computer technology
  • Ability to present ideas both in writing and orally
  • Team and relationship building
Where to Obtain a Physical Science Technologies Degree

If you’re considering a career as a technician in a scientific capacity, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that employment growth will likely be about as fast as in other occupations – somewhere around 12% over the next few years.

While many colleges and universities use this general category to describe a group of undergraduate degree and certificate programs, there is no actual physical science technologies degree available at this time. Instead, students interested in this field of study should choose a specific focus in a science- or health-related field at a community or technical college.

Career Opportunities for Physical Science Technologies Majors

With an Associate degree in a physical science technologies discipline you are generally prepared to enter the workforce as an entry-level technician in industrial, research and governmental settings. However, your choice of focus will greatly influence the type of career you pursue.

If chemical technology is your passion, you might pursue a career as a chemical technician in chemical and petrochemicals, plastics, semiconductors, food, environmental, consulting, and numerous other industries. Chemical technicians work in laboratories or manufacturing plants.

Nuclear technology graduates, on the other hand, will find opportunities in non-licensed operator positions. More than 50% work for utility companies. And according to the BLS most environmental science and protection technicians work for professional, scientific, and technical services firms or for state and local governments.

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