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. In the world of Physicists, total cash compensation can vary between $50K and $140K. Each package generally includes bonuses and profit sharing proceeds, and in exceptional cases, those amounts can reach heights of $15K and $10K, respectively. Geographic location and experience level each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Medical benefits are awarded to a large number, and the larger part earn dental coverage. The majority of Physicists claim high levels of job satisfaction. Figures cited in this summary are based on replies to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$50,006 - $136,552
(Median)
$50K
$88K
$140K
MEDIAN: $87,867
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
$50,006 - $136,552  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $14,681  
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).
)
$49,927 - $139,960  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 422
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 - $14,681  
   
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).
)
$49,927 - $139,960  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 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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Physicists report using a wide range of professional skills. 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. Many workers who know Material Science also know Research Analysis.

Pay by Experience Level for Physicist

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


For many Physicists, more experience generally translates to higher pay. The average inexperienced worker earns $73K, and someone who has worked for five to 10 years can expect a bigger median salary of $88K. Experienced professionals — those with 10 to 20 years in the field — see salaries in the six-figure territory, securing around $107K on average. Folks who have racked up more than 20 years in the field report incomes that aren't that much higher than less experienced individuals' earnings; the veterans make just $126K on average.

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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 3%

Material Science
up arrow 3%

Nuclear Energy / Nuclear Power
up arrow 2%

National Average
$88,000

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 45 votes.

Gender

Female
9 %
Male
91 %

Years of Experience

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

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 89% dental benefits Dental: 66%
vision benefits Vision: 54% employee benefits None: 9%
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