Physicist Salary

Men represent the vast majority of Physicists in the United States. People in this role can earn an average of $88K per year nationwide. With some bonuses approaching $15K and certain profit sharing proceeds approaching $10K, overall incomes of Physicists spread between $50K and $140K depending on individual performance. Residence and career length each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. The majority of Physicists claim high levels of job satisfaction. Medical benefits are awarded to a large number, and the larger part earn dental coverage. Participants in PayScale's salary questionnaire provided the particulars of this report.
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$50,166 - $136,611
(Median)
$50K
$88K
$140K
MEDIAN: $87,986
10%
50%
90%

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$15.97 - $73.71
(Median)
$16
$32
$74
MEDIAN: $32.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Salary
$50,166 - $136,611  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $14,711  
Profit Sharing
$193.92 - $10,090  
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).
)
$50,077 - $140,014  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 421
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$25$50$75
Hourly Rate
$15.97 - $73.71  
   
Overtime
$22.75 - $67.00  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $14,711  
   
Profit Sharing
$193.92 - $10,090  
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).
)
$50,077 - $140,014  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 14
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Job Description for Physicist

A physicist is someone who practices physics, the science of matter and energy. Physicists study the natural world from small particles to large galaxies. They conduct experiments to uncover the laws of nature, as well as study the behavior and composition of matter. They also design, conduct, and evaluate the results of experiments, methodologies, and quality-control tests. They are then responsible for communicating their results in writing and through presentations to researchers, students, funders, the public, and others. Physicists also maintain and use equipment and lab spaces, as well as provide technical support and calculations to non-physicists, students, and others. Some physicists create materials, new electronic devices, and even medical equipment.

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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.

Physicist Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Physicist


Overall, survey participants reported applying a fair number of skills to their work. Most notably, skills in Research Analysis, Material Science, Nuclear Energy / Nuclear Power, and Systems Engineering are correlated to pay that is above average. Those listing Object Oriented Programming as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Physics and Data Modeling also typically command lower compensation. Those with knowledge of Material Science tend to be skilled in Research Analysis as well.

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. Average salaries for inexperienced employees average out to around $74K, but folks who have five to 10 years of experience earn a higher median of $88K. Six-figure salaries surface after one to two decades on the job — experienced professionals in this group reap a six-figure median of $107K. Respondents who claim more than 20 years of experience may encounter pay that doesn't quite reflect their extensive experience; these veterans report a median income of around $126K.

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Experience Affects Physicist Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 42%



National Average
$88,000


Skills That Affect Physicist Salaries

Research Analysis
up arrow 2%

Material Science
up arrow 2%

National Average
$88,000

Nuclear Energy / Nuclear Power
up arrow 1%

Systems Engineering
up arrow 2%

Data Modeling
up arrow 7%

Physics
up arrow 22%

Object Oriented Programming (OOP)
up arrow 26%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 44 votes.

Gender

Female
9 %
Male
91 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
10%
1-4 years
26%
5-9 years
25%
10-19 years
21%
20 years or more
18%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 88% dental benefits Dental: 66%
vision benefits Vision: 55% employee benefits None: 9%
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