Research & Development (R&D) Director Salary (United States)

Salaries for Research & Development (R&D) Directors in the United States are generous, with average pay above six figures ($136,533) per year. Career length and the particular city each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Medical benefits are awarded to almost all workers, and most earn dental coverage. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Research & Development (R&D) Directors. The numbers in this rundown were provided by PayScale's salary survey participants.
Research & Development (R&D) Director Salary (?
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.
$78,699 - $164,209
MEDIAN: $126,756
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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.
$78,699 - $164,209  
$1,948 - $30,586  
Profit Sharing
$2,068 - $15,025  
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).
$81,039 - $184,873  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 718
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Job Description for Research & Development (R&D) Director

Research and development (R&D) directors oversee their company's R&D department(s). As such, they are responsible for ensuring that companies meet their objectives for researching and developing new products or technologies and improve existing products. To accomplish these goals, R&D directors lead their company's research staff. They must ensure that their companies correctly understand and anticipate market demand, planning and developing products to meet consumer needs and remain competitive in the marketplace.
Research & Development (R&D) Director Tasks
  • In accordance with company objectives develop and monitor research plans and budgets for R&D projects, ensuring projects are completed on time and within cost objectives.
  • Drive accountability, consistency, quality, and process standardization across all phases of research and development.
  • Direct the Research and Development (R&D) program, from new product proposal to commercialization.

Research & Development (R&D) Director Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Research & Development (R&D) Director

Research & Development (R&D) Directors report using a diverse set of skills on the job. Most notably, facility with Clinical Research, Intellectual Property (IP), and People Management are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 39 percent, 9 percent, and 7 percent, respectively. Most people who know Product Development also know People Management.

Pay by Experience Level for Research & Development (R&D) Director

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Research & Development (R&D) Directors with a lot of experience tend to enjoy higher salaries. At career start, salaries are typically $100K, which quickly surpasses six figures to $117K after five to 10 years. After 10 to 20 years, compensation comes in at $142K. After two decades on the job, Research & Development (R&D) Directors see salary growth dwindle, averaging $151K. Research & Development (R&D) Directors with 10 to 20 years in the field are most commonly found while those with more than 20 years of experience are harder to spot. The rarest group is those with one to 10 years of experience.

Pay Difference By Location

San Jose
up arrow 22%
San Diego
up arrow 11%
San Francisco
up arrow 11%
up arrow 6%
Menlo Park
up arrow 3%
National Average
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Los Angeles
up arrow 2%
up arrow 9%
up arrow 12%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
Research & Development (R&D) Directors in search of above-average pay will head to California: In particular, Research & Development (R&D) Directors in San Jose, San Diego, and San Francisco are the best-paid American cities for Research & Development (R&D) Directors, who enjoy higher pay rates than the national average. Atlanta ranks last in the field for pay, reporting salaries 12 percent below the national average. Below-median salaries also turn up in Seattle and Los Angeles (-9 percent and -2 percent, respectively).

Related Job Salaries

Experience Affects Research & Development (R&D) Director Salaries

up arrow 10%
National Average
up arrow 14%
up arrow 30%

Skills That Affect Research & Development (R&D) Director Salaries

Clinical Research
up arrow 39%
Intellectual Property (IP)
up arrow 9%
People Management
up arrow 7%
Research Analysis
up arrow 4%
Product Development
up arrow 2%
National Average
Project Management
up arrow 3%

Job Satisfaction

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Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5 based on 179 votes.


female alumni
male alumni

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: 91% dental benefits Dental: 79%
vision benefits Vision: 63% employee benefits None: 8%
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