Physicist Salary

Men represent the vast majority of Physicists in the United States. People in this role can earn an average of $88K annually nationwide. In the world of Physicists, total cash compensation can vary between $49K and $148K. Each package generally includes bonuses and profit sharing proceeds, and in exceptional cases, those amounts can reach heights of $17K and $10K, respectively. Residence is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by experience level. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. Most report receiving medical coverage from their employers and the greater part collect dental insurance. The data in this summary comes from the PayScale salary survey.
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$49,257 - $145,826
$49K
$88K
$150K
MEDIAN: $88,084
10%
50%
90%

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$20.31 - $93.87
$20
$33
$94
MEDIAN: $32.92
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
$49,257 - $145,826  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $16,886  
Profit Sharing
$202.73 - $10,067  
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).
)
$49,208 - $148,373  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 25 Mar 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 310
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
$20.31 - $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 - $16,886  
   
Profit Sharing
$202.73 - $10,067  
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).
)
$49,208 - $148,373  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 25 Mar 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 22

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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 generally report applying a varied skill set to their work. Most notably, skills in Research Analysis, Data 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 Nuclear Energy / Nuclear Power also typically command lower compensation. Most people familiar with Material Science also know Nuclear Energy / Nuclear Power.

Pay by Experience Level for Physicist

Pay by Experience for a Physicist has a positive trend. An entry-level Physicist with less than 5 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $72,000 based on 172 salaries provided by anonymous users. Average total compensation includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay. A Physicist with mid-career experience which includes employees with 5 to 10 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $89,000 based on 89 salaries. An experienced Physicist which includes employees with 10 to 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $114,000 based on 75 salaries. A Physicist with late-career experience which includes employees with greater than 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $135,000 based on 60 salaries.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $88,138

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

San Diego is home to an above-average pay rate for Physicists, 70 percent higher than the national average. Physicists can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Jose (+39 percent), Washington (+30 percent), Huntsville (+25 percent), and Houston (+5 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. Below-median salaries also turn up in Los Angeles and New York (29 percent lower and 21 percent lower, respectively).

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Physicist

Gender

Female
8 %
Male
92 %

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 27 votes.
Less than 1 year
13%
1-4 years
30%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
18%
20 years or more
18%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Physicist Salaries

▲53%

▲29%

▲1%

National Average
$88,000

▼19%

Skills That Affect Physicist Salaries



National Average
$88,000

Systems Engineering
▼1%


Data Modeling
▼6%

Object Oriented Programming (OOP)
▼9%


▼17%

Physics
▼21%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 27 votes.

Gender

Female
8 %
Male
92 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
13%
1-4 years
30%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
18%
20 years or more
18%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 90%
dental benefits
Dental: 64%
vision benefits
Vision: 55%
no benefits
None: 8%