The branch of physics that deals with the relationships between heat and other forms of energy..

Alternative labels

laws of thermodynamics

Skill type


Skill reusability level


Relationships with occupations

Essential knowledge

Thermodynamics is an essential knowledge of the following occupations:

Steam engineer: Steam engineers provide energy and utilities to facilities, such as steam, heat and refrigeration. They operate and maintain equipment such as boilers and air compressors, and research and develop new methods and improvements for the provision of utilities.
Heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration engineering technician: Heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration engineering technicians aid in the design of devices which provide heating, ventilation, air conditioning and possibly refrigeration in buildings. They ensure the equipment complies with environmental standards. They handle hazardous materials used in the systems, and ensure safety precautions are in place.
Solar energy engineer: Solar energy engineers design systems which generate electrical energy from sunlight, such as photovoltaic systems. They design and construct systems which optimise the energy output from solar power, and the sustainability of the production process of solar systems.
Heating engineer: Heating engineers install and maintain gas, electric, oil, solid-fuel and multiple fuel heating and ventilation equipment as stand-alone heating and ventilation systems or build into machinery and transport equipment. They follow instructions and blueprints, perform maintance on systems, perform safety checks and repair the systems.
Steam plant operator: Steam plant operators operate and maintain mechanical equipment such as stationary engines and boilers to provide utilities for domestic or industrial use. They monitor proceedings to ensure compliance with safety regulations, and perform tests to ensure quality.
Heating, ventilation, air conditioning (and refrigeration) service engineer: Heating, ventilation, air conditioning (and refrigeration) service engineers install and maintain industrial heating, air conditioning and possibly refrigeration systems. They set up furnaces, thermostats, ducts, vents, and other equipment needed to ensure the controlled passage and treatment of air. They also carry out repairs.
Steam turbine operator: Steam turbine operators operate and maintain machinery which generates power. They ensure the safety of the operations and monitor operations to detect problems, and react to emergency situations.
Thermal engineer: Thermal engineers design systems which provide heating or cooling, using thermodynamics, that transfer heat or energy through liquids and gases. They also construct these systems, and perform test to ensure proper functionality.
Nuclear reactor operator: Nuclear reactor operators directly control nuclear reactors in power plants from control panels, and are solely responsible for the alterations in reactor reactivity. They start up operations and react to changes in status such as casualties and critical events. They monitor parameters and ensure compliance with safety regulations.
Geothermal power plant operator: Geothermal power plant operators operate and maintain equipment, often steam-driven turbines, which produce electrical energy. They monitor measuring equipment to ensure the safety of operations, and that the production needs are met. They also react to system problems, and repair faults. They may regulate the generators to control the flow of electricity to the power lines.
Nuclear engineer: Nuclear engineers plan and design engineering equipment and processes in nuclear plants and sites. They engage in engineering activities pertaining to nuclear power plants, and develop risk solutions.

Optional knowledge

Thermodynamics is optional for these occupations. This means knowing this knowledge may be an asset for career advancement if you are in one of these occupations.

Heating, ventilation, air conditioning engineer: Heating, ventilation, air conditioning engineers design and develop heating, ventilation, air conditioning and possibly refrigeration systems for usage in residences, manufacturing sites, offices, commercial buildings, etc. They strive for solutions that serve the needs of clients and respond to architectural restrictions of sites.
Energy systems engineer: Energy systems engineers supervise the energy conversion and distribution processes. They analyse the energy supply and consumption efficiency developing new ways to improve the existing processes, taking into account both the technical and the financial aspects. They also study the environmental impact of energy usage and combine the production of renewable energy in the current power systems.
Fire prevention and protection engineer: Fire prevention and protection engineers study, design, and developed innovative solutions aimed to the prevention of fire and the protection of people, natural sites, and urban areas. They propose suitable materials for construction, clothing, or other applications and they design detection systems aiming to prevent fire or the propagation of it.

Physics teacher secondary school: Physics teachers at secondary schools provide education to students, commonly children and young adults, in a secondary school setting. They are usually subject teachers, specialised and instructing in their own field of study, physics. They prepare lesson plans and materials, monitor the students’ progress, assist individually when necessary, and evaluate the students’ knowledge and performance on the subject of physics through assignments, tests and examinations.
Mechanical engineer: Mechanical engineers research, plan and design mechanical products and systems and supervise the fabrication, operation, application, installation and repair of systems and products. They research and analyse data.
Physics lecturer: Physics lecturers are subject professors, teachers, or lecturers who instruct students who have obtained an upper secondary education diploma in their own specialised field of study, physics, which is predominantly academic in nature. They work with their university research assistants and university teaching assistants
for the preparation of lectures and of exams, for leading laboratory practices, grading papers and exams and for leading review and feedback sessions for the students. They also conduct academic research in their field of physics, publish their findings and liaise with>other university colleagues.
Secondary school teacher: Secondary school teachers provide education to students, commonly children and young adults, in a secondary school setting. They are usually specialist subject teachers, who instruct in their own field of study. They prepare lesson plans and materials, monitor the students’ progress, assist individually when necessary and evaluate their knowledge and performance through assignments, tests and examinations.
Physicist: Physicists are scientists who study physical phenomena. They focus their research depending on their specialisation, which can range from atomic particle physics to the study of phenomena in the universe. They apply their findings for the improvement of society by contributing to the development of energy supplies, treatment of illness, game development, cutting-edge equipment, and daily use objects.
Aerodynamics engineer: Aerodynamics engineers perform aerodynamics analysis to make sure the designs of transport equipment meet aerodynamics and performance requirements. They contribute to designing engine and engine components, and issue technical reports for the engineering staff and customers. They coordinate with other engineering departments to check that designs perform as specified. Aerodynamics engineers conduct research to assess adaptability of equipment and materials. They also analyse proposals to evaluate production time and feasibility.
Health and safety engineer: Health and safety engineers design objects and programs by combining engineering principles and health and safety requirements. They envision the protection and well-being of the people using designed objects or performing work under designed health and safety programs. They assess facilities and the risks that they might pose (e.g. contaminant materials, ergonomics, handling of dangerous substances, etc.) in order to design and improve health and safety measures.
Drafter: Drafters prepare and create technical drawings using a special software or manual techniques, to show how something is built or works.
Physics technician: Physics technicians monitor physical processes and perform tests for manufacturing, educational or scientific purposes. They work in laboratories, schools or production facilities where they assist physicists in their work. Physics technicians perform technical or practical work and report about their results.
Energy engineer: Energy engineers design new, efficient and clean ways to produce, transform, and distribute energy to improve environmental sustainability and energy efficiency. They extract energy through natural resources, such as oil or gas, or renewable and sustainable sources, such as wind or solar power. 
Civil engineer: Civil engineers design, plan, and develop technical and engineering specifications for infrastructure and construction projects. They apply engineering knowledge in a vast array of projects, from the construction of infrastructure for transportation, housing projects, and luxury buildings, to the construction of natural sites. They design plans that seek to optimise materials and integrate specifications and resource allocation within the time constraints.
Heating, ventilation, air conditioning (and refrigeration) drafter: Heating, ventilation, air conditioning (and refrigeration) drafters create prototypes and sketches, technical details, and aesthetic briefings provided by engineers for the creation of drawings, usually computer aided, of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and possibly refrigeration systems. They can draft for all kinds of projects where these systems can be used.




  1. Thermodynamics – ESCO


Last updated on September 20, 2022

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