Physicist Salary

Men account for the majority of Physicists in the United States. The overall average income for this group is approximately $88K annually. Total cash compensation for Physicists runs from $50K to $142K depending on bonuses that can occasionally exceed $15K and profit sharing that can reach almost $10K. Residence is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by experience level. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Physicists. Most report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a majority collect dental insurance. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.
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$50,283 - $139,402
(Median)
$50K
$88K
$140K
MEDIAN: $87,682
10%
50%
90%

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$19.49 - $76.03
(Median)
$19
$34
$76
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
$50,283 - $139,402  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $14,975  
Profit Sharing
$195.74 - $9,967  
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).
)
$50,199 - $142,208  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 472
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$26$52$78
Hourly Rate
$19.49 - $76.03  
   
Overtime
$47.00  
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$60K$120K$180K
Bonus
$0.00 - $14,975  
   
Profit Sharing
$195.74 - $9,967  
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).
)
$50,199 - $142,208  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 17
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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.

Physicist Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Physicist


Physicists report using a wide range of professional skills. Most notably, skills in Material Science, Data Analysis, Research Analysis, and Systems Engineering are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Matlab, Object Oriented Programming, and Physics. It is not unusual for someone who knows Material Science to be familiar with Research Analysis as well.

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's salary is approximately $75K, and people with five to 10 years of experience bring in more at around $88K 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 $109K. Veterans who have surpassed the 20-year mark may make only slightly more than those who are navigating the mid-career stage; the more senior group reports median earnings 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


Data Analysis
up arrow 4%

Research Analysis
up arrow 2%

National Average
$88,000

Nuclear Energy / Nuclear Power
up arrow 1%

Systems Engineering
up arrow 1%

Data Modeling
up arrow 6%

Physics
up arrow 7%

Object Oriented Programming (OOP)
up arrow 9%

Matlab
up arrow 14%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 43 votes.

Gender

Female
8 %
Male
92 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
11%
1-4 years
27%
5-9 years
25%
10-19 years
20%
20 years or more
18%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 88%
dental benefits
Dental: 68%
medical benefits
Vision: 57%
dental benefits
None: 9%
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