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Physics/Medicine careers advice

Hi I’m 17 doing a level chem,physics and sociology and I loveee physics and am alright with chemistry. I’m super conflicted on what degree to get into that has a high salary. I’m not keen on mechanics but would love to do something in medicine but not something bio related either. I’ve looked into radiology and radiography but they don’t pay as much as I wish. If anyone has any advice or has been in the same position as me please let me know TYSM🩷
Original post by Ehlizabeff
Hi I’m 17 doing a level chem,physics and sociology and I loveee physics and am alright with chemistry. I’m super conflicted on what degree to get into that has a high salary. I’m not keen on mechanics but would love to do something in medicine but not something bio related either. I’ve looked into radiology and radiography but they don’t pay as much as I wish. If anyone has any advice or has been in the same position as me please let me know TYSM🩷

As no one has set the record straight with you, I might as well start.

I’m super conflicted on what degree to get into that has a high salary
Your degree doesn't pay you a salary; your job does. As such, it depends on what the job requires not what your degree requires. You can have 2 jobs in the same field paying very different salaries, with different requirements. Your degree also never guarantees you a job and it's not a ticket to securing a job right after uni; your job hunt and application does that. Unis should put that as a very clear disclaimer on any course that they teach.

If you are doing physics without maths, you are limiting yourself to using chemistry and physics as just optional science subjects i.e. you are not likely going to be able to do engineering degrees. You might find something in life science or healthcare, all of which will involve biology of some description.
You can always do a chemistry degree by default.

If you want to be superficial, you can see the following regarding salaries and STEM jobs:
https://uk.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/highest-paying-science-jobs
https://www.newscientist.com/nsj/article/highest-paying-jobs-in-science
https://news.hyperec.com/post/best-paid-science-jobs-uk
https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/blog/highest-paying-science-jobs/
https://highestpayingjobs.co.uk/science

I’m not keen on mechanics but would love to do something in medicine but not something bio related either.
Well that's going to limit a lot of jobs then.
The 2 major areas in science are in physics (involving a lot of maths) and engineering, vs life sciences. In other words, you are either studying something with a lot of maths or something that inevitably involve biology.
The only subject that won't use a lot of either maths or biology is chemistry, but that's only if you avoid top end unis where a lot of maths is involved. Even then, you would inevitably study some maths and biology.
Reply 2
Original post by MindMax2000
As no one has set the record straight with you, I might as well start.
I’m super conflicted on what degree to get into that has a high salary
Your degree doesn't pay you a salary; your job does. As such, it depends on what the job requires not what your degree requires. You can have 2 jobs in the same field paying very different salaries, with different requirements. Your degree also never guarantees you a job and it's not a ticket to securing a job right after uni; your job hunt and application does that. Unis should put that as a very clear disclaimer on any course that they teach.
If you are doing physics without maths, you are limiting yourself to using chemistry and physics as just optional science subjects i.e. you are not likely going to be able to do engineering degrees. You might find something in life science or healthcare, all of which will involve biology of some description.
You can always do a chemistry degree by default.
If you want to be superficial, you can see the following regarding salaries and STEM jobs:
https://uk.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/highest-paying-science-jobs
https://www.newscientist.com/nsj/article/highest-paying-jobs-in-science
https://news.hyperec.com/post/best-paid-science-jobs-uk
https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/blog/highest-paying-science-jobs/
https://highestpayingjobs.co.uk/science
I’m not keen on mechanics but would love to do something in medicine but not something bio related either.
Well that's going to limit a lot of jobs then.
The 2 major areas in science are in physics (involving a lot of maths) and engineering, vs life sciences. In other words, you are either studying something with a lot of maths or something that inevitably involve biology.
The only subject that won't use a lot of either maths or biology is chemistry, but that's only if you avoid top end unis where a lot of maths is involved. Even then, you would inevitably study some maths and biology.


I’m the eldest child in my family and first to do stem so I’m honestly just curious/confused, not “superficial” I love maths too that’s why I like physics so much so I’m not opposed to considering maths heavy degrees (I’m aware I’m not able to do engineering without a level maths) . Thanks for clearing up the confusion about degree VS job! Maybe radiology is the area for me then, tysm again :smile:
Original post by Ehlizabeff
I’m the eldest child in my family and first to do stem so I’m honestly just curious/confused, not “superficial” I love maths too that’s why I like physics so much so I’m not opposed to considering maths heavy degrees (I’m aware I’m not able to do engineering without a level maths) . Thanks for clearing up the confusion about degree VS job! Maybe radiology is the area for me then, tysm again :smile:

Sorry, should also mention that you won't be able to do physics degrees without A Level Maths. Most would ask for both physics and maths (with further maths being a strong preference for top end unis). There was one physics degree that I have found where you don't necessarily need both, but even then it requires A Level Maths (i.e. it's not a physics degree if you don't have A Level Maths).

I personally recommend doing A Level Maths during a gap year if you could. It might seem hard, but it can easily open a lot more doors (on top of any degree that asks for 3 A Levels in any subject, most of STEM, economics, finance, data science, etc.)

If you are just using physics and chemistry as optional science subjects, then you are likely going to be looking in the life science and healthcare degrees.
Reply 4
Original post by MindMax2000
Sorry, should also mention that you won't be able to do physics degrees without A Level Maths. Most would ask for both physics and maths (with further maths being a strong preference for top end unis). There was one physics degree that I have found where you don't necessarily need both, but even then it requires A Level Maths (i.e. it's not a physics degree if you don't have A Level Maths).
I personally recommend doing A Level Maths during a gap year if you could. It might seem hard, but it can easily open a lot more doors (on top of any degree that asks for 3 A Levels in any subject, most of STEM, economics, finance, data science, etc.)
If you are just using physics and chemistry as optional science subjects, then you are likely going to be looking in the life science and healthcare degrees.


I was heavily considering doing maths during my gap year if I don’t end up deciding. I thought about what u said in terms of a job determining your salary rather than the degree and I definitely radiology is for me! Since I don’t necessarily need biology a level for that. Still open to other options but will talk to the careers team at my school to find out more.
Original post by Ehlizabeff
I was heavily considering doing maths during my gap year if I don’t end up deciding. I thought about what u said in terms of a job determining your salary rather than the degree and I definitely radiology is for me! Since I don’t necessarily need biology a level for that. Still open to other options but will talk to the careers team at my school to find out more.

I'll throw in the following resources since a lot of school careers teams can be questionable in terms of the advice that they give:
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/explore-careers
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles
https://www.careerpilot.org.uk/job-sectors/sectors
https://life-pilot.co.uk/job-sectors/sectors

To sum most of the above up in terms of STEM related careers: you would likely need a degree to work in most roles in the NHS. For most other STEM roles, you can often get away with degree apprenticeships or professional IT certifications. However, I would still do A Level Maths to be safe.
For anything in research (if you would ever consider that), you would likely need degrees at undergrad (bachelor's) and postgrad (at least master's but most likely PhD), even though there are sometimes degree apprenticeships for them.
Original post by Ehlizabeff
I was heavily considering doing maths during my gap year if I don’t end up deciding. I thought about what u said in terms of a job determining your salary rather than the degree and I definitely radiology is for me! Since I don’t necessarily need biology a level for that. Still open to other options but will talk to the careers team at my school to find out more.


What do you mean by radiology? Do you want to become a radiologist? This is a medical specialism so you would need to do medicine at uni. Or do you mean one of the Allied Health Professions - diagnostic radiographer or therapeutic radiographer? Or are you thinking more in terms of medical imaging/radiotherapy physics, which you can train for through the NHS STP programme?

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