An interesting study of the American Institute of Physics (AIP) on physics education and careers in the United States :


AIP Research Update, June 12, 2024
AIP Statistical Research has published four new reports recently. The reports examine high school physics in the United States, the physics and astronomy workforce, and what influences students to major in physics. We hope you find these reports useful.
  • Who Teaches High School Physics?
    • In the US, most high school students take biology and chemistry, but not all take physics. Physics is among a set of courses that might be taken in a third or fourth year of science. The physics-taking rate, defined as the proportion of high school seniors who will have taken at least one physics class prior to graduation, has continued to increase since 1987. With the welcome addition of more physics students comes the need to understand who is teaching high school physics and what their qualifications are.
Table 1 HS Physics Teacher Demographics-01.png
HS Physics Teacher Demographics
  • State of the Academic Workforce
    • Every two years, the American Institute of Physics surveys all degree-granting physics or astronomy departments across the United States to conduct a national census of faculty members. This report contains results on the total number of faculty members in physics and astronomy departments, the tenure status and rank of faculty members, and the percentage of women among faculty members.
graph 1 locations of physics and astronomy departments-01.png
Location of Physics and Astronomy Departments
  • Physics Bachelor’s: Influences & Backgrounds
    • Recent physics bachelor’s degree recipients indicated they pursued their undergraduate degree as a result of a variety of influences, ranging from informal exposure to science (e.g., visiting a museum) to taking a physics course in high school. This report focuses on what new physics bachelors indicated influenced them to pursue a physics bachelor’s degree. It also examines student’s’ educational background, such as taking a high school physics course or starting their undergraduate education at a two-year institution, and the influence these had on their path to receiving a physics degree.
Influences on Physics Bachelors Decision to Pursue Physics, Classes of 2021 and 2022 combined. Similar proportions of men and women reported being influenced by informal exposure to science, high school physics, and parents or relatives.
Influence by Gender
  • High School Physics Enrollments by Type of Course
    • Enrollment in high school physics courses continues to increase and see shifts in the number of students taking various types of physics courses. This report examines the effects of these changes, including the impacts of the new AP Physics 1 and 2 courses, on the various types of physics courses offered in US high schools and the number and proportion of students enrolled in each type of course.
      Enrollments in US HS type of course Report 3-01.png
      Physics Enrollments in HS by Type of Course