Physicist Salary

Men represent the vast majority of Physicists in the United States. People in this role can earn an average of $89K annually nationwide. With some bonuses approaching $14K and certain profit sharing proceeds approaching $7K, overall incomes of Physicists spread between $48K and $145K depending on individual performance. Geographic location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career duration. Most enjoy medical while more than half get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to a little more than half. For the most part, Physicists enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.
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$48,013 - $143,385
$48K
$89K
$140K
MEDIAN: $88,512
10%
50%
90%

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$20.21 - $92.52
$20
$33
$93
MEDIAN: $33.25
10%
50%
90%

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$0$145K
Salary $48,013 - $143,385
Bonus $0.00 - $14,094
Profit Sharing $481.77 - $6,801
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).
)
$47,611 - $145,153
  • Country: United States
  • Currency: USD
  • Updated: 11 Jul 2017
  • Individuals Reporting: 305
Hourly Data $0$92
Hourly Rate $20.21 - $92.52
Overtime $35.00
Annual Data $0$145K
Bonus $0.00 - $14,094
Profit Sharing $481.77 - $6,801
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).
)
$47,611 - $145,153
  • Country: United States
  • Currency: USD
  • Updated: 11 Jul 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 often transition into Medical Physicist positions, for which compensation tends to be much higher. On average, Medical Physicists earn $113K per year.

Physicist Job Listings

Popular Skills for Physicist


Overall, survey participants reported applying a fair number of skills 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. For most people, competency in Material Science indicates knowledge of 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: $88,154

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

San Diego offers some of the highest pay in the country for Physicists, 70 percent above the national average. Physicists can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Jose (+38 percent), Washington (+30 percent), Huntsville (+25 percent), and Houston (+5 percent). Physicists in Seattle earn salaries far below the national average by 42 percent, proving that geography overwhelmingly affects the pay scale for those in this field. Workers in Los Angeles and New York earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (29 percent less and 21 percent less, respectively).

Physicist Reviews

Q: What is it like working as a Physicist?

Physicist in San Diego:
"Great place."
Pros: Great city.
Cons:

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Physicist

Gender

Female
9 %
Male
91 %

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 29 votes.
Less than 1 year
13%
1-4 years
30%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
18%
20 years or more
18%
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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 29 votes.

Gender

Female
9 %
Male
91 %

Years of Experience

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

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 90%
dental benefits
Dental: 63%
vision benefits
Vision: 54%
no benefits
None: 9%
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