Men make up the majority of Physicists in the United States, bringing in about $88K annually. Total incomes of Physicists incorporate potential for, in a few cases, more than $15K from bonuses and close to $10K from profit sharing; these performance components cause packages to range between $49K and $148K. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career duration. The majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job. Nearly all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and the larger part collect dental insurance. This overview is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$49,099 - $144,926
$49K
$88K
$140K
MEDIAN: $87,823
10%
50%
90%

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$20.21 - $94.16
$20
$33
$94
MEDIAN: $33.25
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
$49,099 - $144,926  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $14,813  
Profit Sharing
$204.26 - $10,137  
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).
)
$49,056 - $147,936  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 327
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
$20.21 - $94.16  
   
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
$204.26 - $10,137  
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).
)
$49,056 - $147,936  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 21

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

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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

  • 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.
  • Maintain and use equipment and lab space.
  • Communicate results in writing and in presentations to researchers, students, funders, the public, and other audiences.

Common Career Paths for Physicist


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Physicists who move on to become Medical Physicists may enjoy significant pay raises, as Medical Physicists get paid an average of $113K per year.

Physicist Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Physicist


Physicists seem to require a number of specific skills. Most notably, skills in Research Analysis, Data Analysis, Systems Engineering, and Material Science are correlated to pay that is above average. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Physics, Matlab, and Object Oriented Programming. Those proficient in Material Science are, more often than not, also skilled in Nuclear Energy / Nuclear Power.

Pay by Experience Level for Physicist

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


Experience is an important factor influencing the compensation of Physicists. Workers with less than five years' experience earn around $72K on average, and those who have five to 10 years under their belts see a higher median salary of $89K. Between 10 and 20 years, pay surpasses six figures; at this stage, the average professional scores around $113K. 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.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $87,998

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

San Jose offers some of the highest pay in the country for Physicists, 39 percent above the national average. Physicists can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Huntsville (+22 percent), Washington (+20 percent), Albuquerque (+6 percent), and Irvine (+4 percent). Place of residence plays a huge part in a Physicist's salary, with Seattle Physicists earning salaries that are 42 percent less than the national average. Los Angeles and New York are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 26 percent lower and 20 percent lower, respectively.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Physicist

Gender

Female
7 %
Male
93 %

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 28 votes.
029
Less than 1 year
12%
1-4 years
29%
5-9 years
23%
10-19 years
17%
20 years or more
19%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Physicist Salaries




National Average
$88,000


Skills That Affect Physicist Salaries



National Average
$88,000

Systems Engineering
up arrow 1%


Data Modeling
up arrow 6%


Object Oriented Programming (OOP)
up arrow 9%

Matlab
up arrow 14%

Physics
up arrow 15%

Job Satisfaction

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

Gender

Female
7 %
Male
93 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
12%
1-4 years
29%
5-9 years
23%
10-19 years
17%
20 years or more
19%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 91%
dental benefits
Dental: 64%
vision benefits
Vision: 56%
dental benefits
None: 7%
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