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Working as a Research Investigator

The research investigator acts in a leadership role, overseeing and designing advanced experiments. They usually assist the principal investigator and play a leading role in developing a research program to advance a specific area of study. They play a crucial role in all aspects of research products, including development, implementation, and data analysis.

As a research investigator, your responsibilities will include performing analysis and documentation as per the procedure, reviewing and approving analytical data, and communicating with the client. You'll also be expected to adhere to all operating procedures, communicate with relevant departments, and ensure all measures are met and imparted to the team by training. Educational requirements include a Ph.D., a doctor of medicine (MD) degree, or equivalent doctoral degree along with five years or more work experience.

The position comes with a lot of responsibilities, but it also compensates generously. The average hourly salary for the position is $36.84, which equates to $76,626 annually. The career is expected to grow 8% in the near future.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a research investigator. For example, did you know that they make an average of $36.84 an hour? That's $76,626 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 8% and produce 10,600 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Research Investigator Do

There are certain skills that many research investigators have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed observation skills, communication skills and leadership skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a research investigator, we found that a lot of resumes listed 11.3% of research investigators included data analysis, while 7.6% of resumes included molecular biology, and 7.3% of resumes included phd. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the research investigator job title. But what industry to start with? Most research investigators actually find jobs in the health care and education industries.

How To Become a Research Investigator

If you're interested in becoming a research investigator, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 30.3% of research investigators have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 21.9% of research investigators have master's degrees. Even though most research investigators have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a research investigator. When we researched the most common majors for a research investigator, we found that they most commonly earn doctoral degree degrees or bachelor's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on research investigator resumes include master's degree degrees or associate degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a research investigator. In fact, many research investigator jobs require experience in a role such as research assistant. Meanwhile, many research investigators also have previous career experience in roles such as research fellow or senior scientist.

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Average Salary$76,626
Job Growth Rate8%

Research Investigator Career Paths

Top Careers Before Research Investigator

Top Careers After Research Investigator

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Average Salary for a Research Investigator

Research Investigators in America make an average salary of $76,626 per year or $37 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $123,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $47,000 per year.
Average Salary
$76,626

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
Wallingford, CT
Salary Range111k - 196k$148k$147,907
New Brunswick, NJ
Salary Range110k - 194k$147k$146,572
Wilmington, DE
Salary Range108k - 189k$143k$143,285
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range101k - 172k$132k$132,483
Cambridge, MA
Salary Range86k - 149k$114k$113,741
Bethesda, MD
Salary Range84k - 146k$111k$111,259
$43k
$196k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Research Investigator 3 (Doh5208)
Research Investigator 3 (Doh5208)
Washington State
Washington State
12/17/2020
12/17/2020
$62,74812/17/2020
$62,748
Dshs FFA Research Investigator 3
Dshs FFA Research Investigator 3
Washington State
Washington State
02/27/2020
02/27/2020
$60,92002/27/2020
$60,920
Research Investigator
Research Investigator
La Biomed
La Biomed
01/24/2020
01/24/2020
$92,39401/24/2020
$92,394
Research Investigator
Research Investigator
Hunter International, Inc.
Hunter International, Inc.
12/31/2019
12/31/2019
$73,04512/31/2019
$73,045
Research Investigator
Research Investigator
University of Michigan
University of Michigan
09/23/2019
09/23/2019
$62,71409/23/2019
$62,714
See More Recent Salaries

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Research Investigator Demographics

Gender

male

43.6 %

female

42.0 %

unknown

14.5 %

Ethnicity

White

54.9 %

Asian

27.6 %

Hispanic or Latino

8.2 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

47.2 %

Korean

6.9 %

French

6.9 %
See More Demographics

Research Investigator Education

Degrees

Doctorate

35.7 %

Bachelors

30.3 %

Masters

21.9 %

Top Colleges for Research Investigators

1. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

2. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

3. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Public

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

4. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

5. University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$13,226
Enrollment
31,568

6. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Public

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

7. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

8. Yale University

New Haven, CT • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,430
Enrollment
5,963

9. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,740
Enrollment
5,567

10. Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN • Private

In-State Tuition
$49,816
Enrollment
6,840
See More Education Info
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Internship
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Top Skills For a Research Investigator

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 11.3% of research investigators listed data analysis on their resume, but soft skills such as observation skills and communication skills are important as well.

Best States For a Research Investigator

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a research investigator. The best states for people in this position are Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, and California. Research investigators make the most in Connecticut with an average salary of $142,698. Whereas in New Jersey and Delaware, they would average $142,105 and $138,948, respectively. While research investigators would only make an average of $120,293 in California, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New Jersey

Total Research Investigator Jobs:
362
Highest 10% Earn:
$223,000
Location Quotient:
1.61
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Massachusetts

Total Research Investigator Jobs:
789
Highest 10% Earn:
$185,000
Location Quotient:
3.24
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Connecticut

Total Research Investigator Jobs:
83
Highest 10% Earn:
$224,000
Location Quotient:
0.9
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Research Investigator Employers

1. Bristol-Myers Squibb
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$127,758
Research Investigators Hired: 
264+
2. Sanofi US
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$111,134
Research Investigators Hired: 
92+
3. MD Anderson Cancer Center
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$58,539
Research Investigators Hired: 
66+
4. DuPont
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$116,494
Research Investigators Hired: 
61+
5. Abbott
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$109,957
Research Investigators Hired: 
25+
6. Incyte
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$118,847
Research Investigators Hired: 
24+

Research Investigator Videos

Updated October 2, 2020