Very much a male-dominated career in the United States, Physicists earn an average of $88K annually. Total cash earnings of Physicists range from $49K on the low end to $147K on the high end; the final amount can include bonuses and profit sharing proceeds that occasionally exceed $15K and $10K, respectively. Geography is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by tenure. Nearly all enjoy medical while more than half get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to a little over a half. For the most part, Physicists enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. The data for this synopsis comes from respondents who took the PayScale salary survey.
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$49,161 - $144,176
(Median)
$49K
$88K
$140K
MEDIAN: $87,890
10%
50%
90%

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$19.87 - $93.87
(Median)
$20
$34
$94
MEDIAN: $33.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Salary
$49,161 - $144,176  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $14,813  
Profit Sharing
$202.73 - $10,213  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$48,991 - $146,777  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 324
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$32$64$96
Hourly Rate
$19.87 - $93.87  
   
Overtime
$40.00  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$70K$140K$210K
Bonus
$0.00 - $14,813  
   
Profit Sharing
$202.73 - $10,213  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$48,991 - $146,777  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 22
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Job Description for Physicist

Humanity's understanding of the mechanical workings of reality is, relative to our history, in its infancy. Only in the last two centuries have scientists been able to directly observe and manipulate matter and energy at microscopic levels, and new discoveries and applications have skyrocketed in that time-frame, all while our technology continually enhances our ability to understand these things. Physicists are scientists who study the properties of matter and energy and perform experiments, often using extremely advanced equipment, to discover how these mysterious properties work and interact.

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Physicist Tasks

  • Maintain and use equipment and lab space.
  • Communicate results in writing and in presentations to researchers, students, funders, the public, and other audiences.
  • Design, conduct and evaluate the results of experiments, methodologies, and quality control tests.
  • Provide technical support and calculations to non-scientists, students, and other groups.

Common Career Paths for Physicist


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Physicists often transition into Medical Physicist positions, for which compensation tends to be much higher. On average, Medical Physicists earn $113K per year.

Physicist Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Physicist


Survey results suggest that Physicists put a wide range of professional skills to use. Most notably, skills in Data Analysis, Research Analysis, Systems Engineering, and Material Science are correlated to pay that is above average. Those listing Physics as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Matlab and Object Oriented Programming also typically command lower compensation. Most people experienced in Material Science also know Nuclear Energy / Nuclear Power.

Pay by Experience Level for Physicist

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Experience and income seem to be closely related; in general, the survey respondents who had worked for more years reported higher incomes. Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience have a median salary of $72K. Those who have been around for five to 10 years can expect to take home more — $89K on average. Professionals who claim 10 to 20 years of experience can secure some pretty cushy paychecks; the median for this group is a six-figure $115K. Physicists who surpass 20 years on the job report pay that isn't as high as one would expect; the median compensation for this crowd sits around $137K.

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Experience Affects Physicist Salaries




National Average
$88,000


Skills That Affect Physicist Salaries


Research Analysis
up arrow 4%

Systems Engineering
0%

National Average
$88,000


Data Modeling
up arrow 6%


Object Oriented Programming (OOP)
up arrow 9%

Matlab
up arrow 15%

Physics
up arrow 20%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 28 votes.

Gender

Female
5 %
Male
95 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
12%
1-4 years
28%
5-9 years
24%
10-19 years
17%
20 years or more
18%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 90%
dental benefits
Dental: 63%
medical benefits
Vision: 55%
dental benefits
None: 8%
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