Principal Scientist Salary

The average salary for a Principal Scientist is $118,251 per year. A skill in Machine Learning is associated with high pay for this job.

$85,821 - $146,893
MEDIAN: $118,250

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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.
$85,821 - $146,893  
$650 - $22,733  
Profit Sharing
$1,212 - $24,658  
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).
$87,965 - $159,380  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Sep 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 883
United States (change)

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Job Description for Principal Scientist

Principal scientists lead scientific teams, conducting research and analyzing results. The goals of this research vary according to the field and industry in which the principal scientists are employed. For example, principal scientists working in commercial manufacturing and other fields within the private sector typically look for ways to improve products or create new products or technologies. Principal scientists n academia seek to build on existing knowledge or technology; their aim is generally the advancement of the science itself versus improving a company’s commercial advantage.


Principal Scientist Tasks

  • Monitor staff performance and conduct annual performance reviews.
  • Lead a team of researchers, and coordinate work activity and training sessions.
  • Provide technical guidance on area of expertise and respond to internal and external queries.
  • Conduct quantitative and qualitative research to improve existing products or develop new ones.
  • Coordinate with other departmental team leads to produce effective business solutions, and provide updates to project managers.

Common Career Paths for

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Experience Affects Salaries

National Average

Skills That Affect Salaries

Machine Learning
up arrow 35%

Chemical Process Engineering
up arrow 4%

Engineering Design
up arrow 4%

Material Science
up arrow 3%

Research Analysis
up arrow 2%

up arrow 1%

up arrow 1%

National Average

Product Development
up arrow 1%

Project Management
up arrow 1%

up arrow 1%

Molecular Biology
up arrow 4%

Manufacturing Process Engineering
up arrow 17%

Clinical Research
up arrow 20%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 102 votes.


20 %
80 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1-4 years
5-9 years
10-19 years
20 years or more

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 96% dental benefits Dental: 89%
vision benefits Vision: 76% employee benefits None: 2%