Physical Sciences

Are you interested in pursuing a job in a physical science field? The federal government might just have what you’re looking for.

For example, research chemists develop and test new drugs at the Food and Drug Administration, while geologists monitor mineral extraction for the Department of the Interior. Oceanographers improve ways to accurately predict tsunamis at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Top Agencies with Employees in Physical Science# of Current Employees
Department of Commerce 5,067
Department of the Interior 4,770
Department of the Navy 4,368
Department of the Army 2,863
Environmental Protection Agency 2,553
Department of Agriculture 1,721
Department of Health and Human Services 1,627
Department of the Air Force 1,416
National Aeronautics and Space Administration 912
Department of Energy 717

Percentage of Employees in Physical Science Fields% of Current Employees
Environmental Protection Agency 18%
Department of Commerce 14%
National Science Foundation 11%
Nuclear Regulatory Commission 10%
Department of Interior 10%
International boundary and Water Commission: U.S and Mexico 8%
National Aeronautics and Space Administration 5%
Department of Energy 5%

Top Physical Science Fields# of Current Employees
General Physical Science7,271
Chemistry4,788
Meteorology2,890
Physics2,120
Physical Science Technician1,999
Hydrology1,177
Health Physics924
Cartography574
Meteorological Technician545
Oceanography523

Top Positions by RegionPercentage
South Atlantic39.8%
Pacific West15%
Mountain West12.3%
West South Central6.8%
East North Central6.3%
West North Central5.2%
Mid-Atlantic5.1%
Northeast3.1%
Positions Overseas0.47%
Job Series Codes

You can search USAJOBS.gov using keywords or the job series code, a four-digit number corresponding to a government job category. The most common physical science job series codes are listed below.

0696: Consumer Safety Series

1301: General Physical Science

1313: Geophysics Series

1320: Chemistry Series

1397: Document Analysis Series

1910: Quality Assurance Series

Did You Know?

Top states with federal physical science employees: Maryland, Virginia, California, District of Columbia, and Colorado.

Did you know that nearly 20% of physical science employees work for the Environmental Protection Agency?


Sample Positions

Job Title: Geophysicist (1313)
Agency: Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
Salary Range: $99,692 to $129,605/year 

As a geophysicist, you will: 

  • Analyze, evaluate and interpret geological/geophysical information and related data to independently carry out detailed, complex and complete geoscientific investigations of considerable breadth and scope involving reservoir identification, structure and amplitude mapping, determination of faulting, pay zones and contracts and complete all evaluation at current industry standards
  • Keep current with new and developing evaluation techniques, 3-D seismic data and computer software packages

Job Title: Quality Assurance Specialist (1910)
Agency: Army National Guard Units 
Salary Range: $49,037 to $63,743/Year 

As a quality assurance specialist, you will: 

  • Develop the AASF Quality Management Plan (QMP) that documents the management and operational policies and procedures to ensure work processes, products and services satisfy expectations and quality standards
  • Develop quality assessment plans to evaluate and improve quality of maintenance production and work processes