I am a rising junior physics major at Iowa State University. In addition to physics, I have a strong interest in chemistry. When I graduate from Iowa State, I am planning to either go to graduate school in material science or join the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program as a Naval Reactors Engineer. As a Naval Reactors Engineer, I would have to go to school through the Navy and get the equivalent of a masters degree before I could start working as an engineer. To be clear, I would be an officer in the US Navy, but my job would focus more on the engineering side rather than purely being an officer on a submarine. My commitment to the Navy would be 5 years after I complete schooling.
My other option is pursuing a PhD in materials science--I can see myself enjoying this because materials science is a combination of chemistry and physics. My only hesitation is that I'm not sure I want to commit to serving 5+ years in the Navy and then deciding I want to go get a PhD in materials science, a completely different field from nuclear engineering. The plus for the Navy is that being a Naval Reactors Engineer is not a boring desk job, you actually get to work with submarines and do nuclear engineering. In other words, I would not have to do the research that a PhD requires. My question: how much chemistry/ physics is involved in the work of Naval Reactors Engineer?
What would my job prospects be if I did Naval Reactors Engineer vs. PhD in materials science? I do not want to do both.