Research Chemist Salary (United States)

Earnings for Research Chemists in the United States typically come in at around $60,752 per year. Compensation generally starts at $38,635 and does not exceed $97,629 per year. Residency is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by experience level. A strong majority enjoy medical while most get dental coverage in this occupation. Vision coverage is also available to more than half. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Research Chemists. The numbers in this rundown were provided by PayScale's salary survey participants.
Research Chemist 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.
)
$41,030 - $95,150
(Median)
41K
63K
79K
95K
MEDIAN: $62,565
10%
50%
75%
90%
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Research Chemist 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.
)
$14.25 - $26.95
(Median)
14
20
24
27
MEDIAN: $19.00
10%
50%
75%
90%
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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.
)
$0$33K$66K$99K
Salary
$41,030 - $95,150  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $9,528  
Profit Sharing
$300.00 - $10,000  
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).
)
$38,635 - $97,629  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 737
National Hourly Rate 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.
)
$0$17$34$51
Hourly Rate
$14.25 - $26.95  
   
Overtime
$20.68 - $37.27  
National Annualized 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.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $9,528  
   
Profit Sharing
$300.00 - $10,000  
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).
)
$38,635 - $97,629  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 101
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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 not the most common occurrence, Research Chemists who become Research & Development (R&D) Managers earn an extra $36K per year. Research Chemists go on to become Sr. Chemists more often than anything else, where paychecks are higher by $13,780. Research Chemists will find lower salaries (-$11,286) when they move into an Analytical Chemist role, another well-traveled path for those in this field.

Research Chemist Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Research Chemist

Survey takers who work as Research Chemists typically report just a few professional skills. Those who have experience with Material Science can expect to be compensated well for these skills, typically earning 11 percent more than the national average, respectively. Skills that pay less than market rate include Research Analysis. It is often found that people who know Product Development are also skilled in Material Science.

Pay by Experience Level for Research Chemist

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
For many but not all Research Chemists, a key factor in salary decisions is experience; more experience generally yields higher pay. Beginning workers can expect to earn $51K starting out, which grows to $64K after five to 10 years. Earnings total $78K after one to two decades. After 20 years in the field, Research Chemists see their salaries growing more slowly, eventually averaging out to $100K. Experienced employees who have 10-20 years of experience make up 16 percent of the workforce; inexperienced individuals who have been working for less than one year comprise 6 percent, and senior people with more than 20 years under their belt fill out the remaining 11 percent. Between one and nine years is the typical spectrum of experience for those in this line of work—of those who took the survey, more than half land within it.

Pay Difference By Location

Wilmington
up arrow 130%
San Francisco
up arrow 23%
Pittsburgh
up arrow 20%
Philadelphia
up arrow 14%
Cincinnati
up arrow 13%
Houston
up arrow 11%
Los Angeles
up arrow 5%
National Average
$61,000
Minneapolis
up arrow 6%
Dallas
up arrow 11%
St. Paul
up arrow 18%
St. Louis
up arrow 22%
San Diego
up arrow 36%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
For Research Chemists, working in the bustling city of Wilmington has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. Those in search of high salaries should also consider checking out cities like San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati, top-paying markets where Research Chemists rake in more than the national norm (+23 percent, +20 percent, +14 percent, and +13 percent). Place of residency plays a huge part in a Research Chemist's salary, with San Diego Research Chemists earning salaries that are 36 percent less than the national average. Employers also pay below the national average in St. Louis (-22 percent) and St. Paul (-18 percent).

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Experience Affects Research Chemist Salaries

National Average
$61,000

Skills That Affect Research Chemist Salaries

National Average
$61,000
Product Development
up arrow 3%
Research Analysis
up arrow 4%

Job Satisfaction

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Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5 based on 218 votes.

Gender

Female
38%
female alumni
 
Male
62%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
6%
1-4 years
43%
5-9 years
24%
10-19 years
16%
20 years or more
11%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 89% dental benefits Dental: 76%
vision benefits Vision: 57% employee benefits None: 10%