Research Chemists in the United States can expect to earn an average of $62K annually. Total cash compensation to Research Chemists bottoms out near $41K and approaches $102K on the high end; the biggest paychecks include approximately $10K from bonuses and almost $7K from profit sharing. The most influential factor affecting pay for this group is geography, though years of experience and the particular employer have a (lesser) impact as well. Nearly all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a strong majority collect dental insurance. Male Research Chemists are more prevalent than women among those who took the survey — 67 percent of professionals. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. The data in this summary comes from the PayScale salary survey.
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$41,449 - $99,540
(Median)
$41K
$62K
$100K
MEDIAN: $61,532
10%
50%
90%

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$15.10 - $29.78
(Median)
$15
$21
$30
MEDIAN: $20
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
$41,449 - $99,540  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $10,085  
Profit Sharing
$290.87 - $7,255  
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).
)
$40,573 - $102,167  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 449
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$25$50$75
Hourly Rate
$15.10 - $29.78  
   
Overtime
$0.00 - $34.18  
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$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $10,085  
   
Profit Sharing
$290.87 - $7,255  
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).
)
$40,573 - $102,167  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 46
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Job Description for Research Chemist

A research chemist uses their background of chemistry and research techniques to discover new knowledge or develop new technologies. Chemistry is the study of matter and energy, and, thus, the discipline is applicable to expand a wide variety of fields. For example, a research chemist may work for a pharmaceutical company trying to develop a new compound capable of treating a somatic condition, or they may try to develop a new way to manufacture a medicine that reduces impurities causing side effects. Research chemists might also may work for an energy company trying to develop a new additive that makes gasoline burn cleaner and more efficiently, or they may work for a semiconductor company trying to develop a new compound that better aids in the doping process that gives rise to transistor behavior.

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Research Chemist Tasks

  • Keep up to date on current research and technologies.
  • Observe, analyze, calculate and evaluate results from laboratory work to improve processes and communicate data.
  • Design, develop, and characterize novel synthetic products and processes.
  • Create and maintain product development strategies, documentation and progress reports.

Common Career Paths for Research Chemist


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Though it's uncommon, some Research Chemists move into roles as Research & Development Managers, where pay is an average $97K per year. Going from Research Chemist to Senior Chemist is the transition that occurs most often in this field, where the paychecks are $75K. Many others choose to work as Analytical Chemists, where pay is typically $50K.

Research Chemist Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Research Chemist


Although BASF Corporation boasts the highest average salary in town at $105K, employee compensation still varies greatly — workers can make as little as $61K or as much as $110K.

Relative to other names in the field, compensation is very low at PPG Industries, Inc. — the median salary comes to just $60K, 75 percent less than the top paying company.

Popular Skills for Research Chemist


Survey results show that Research Chemists use a fair number of skills. Most notably, facility with Chemistry, Chemical Process Engineering, and Material Science are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 29 percent, 14 percent, and 4 percent, respectively. Those listing Data Analysis as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. HPLC and Research Analysis also typically command lower compensation. Most people experienced in Product Development also know Material Science.

Pay by Experience Level for Research Chemist

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


Research Chemists who reported more years of relevant experience also reported higher earnings. Folks with fewer than five years of experience take home $55K on average, and those who have worked for five to 10 years see a bigger median salary of $66K. Research Chemists with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $78K. Survey participants who have worked for more than two decades report bringing in $106K on average.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $61,142

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

For Research Chemists, busy Wilmington offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 131 percent above the national average. Research Chemists can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Philadelphia (+39 percent), Stamford (+37 percent), Houston (+14 percent), and Cincinnati (+13 percent). The lowest-paying market is St. Louis, which sits 21 percent below the national average, proving that location is a significant contributor to overall pay. Employers in Los Angeles and St. Paul also lean toward paying below-median salaries (19 percent lower and 18 percent lower, respectively).

Research Chemist Reviews

What is it like working as a Research Chemist?

Research Chemist in San Diego:
"Flexible work schedule and casual work environment."
Pros: Little micromanagement, flexible schedule, active and fun work environment. Applicable and interesting projects. Small company.
Cons: Job offers low salaries. Management and upper level people are slow with bonus program. Can be busy and is difficult to schedule reviews.

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Experience Affects Research Chemist Salaries




National Average
$61,000


Skills That Affect Research Chemist Salaries

Chemistry
up arrow 29%

Chemical Process Engineering
up arrow 14%

Material Science
up arrow 4%

National Average
$61,000

Product Development
up arrow 1%

Research Analysis
up arrow 4%

HPLC
up arrow 6%

Data Analysis
up arrow 28%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 67 votes.

Gender

Female
33 %
Male
67 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
8%
1-4 years
51%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
12%
20 years or more
8%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 91%
dental benefits
Dental: 74%
medical benefits
Vision: 65%
dental benefits
None: 8%
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