Updated August 18, 2021
Average Scientist Salary
$97,000 yearly
$46.76 hourly

Entry level Salary
$69,000 yearly
10 %
90 %
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PercentileAnnual SalaryMonthly SalaryHourly Rate
90th Percentile$135,000$11,250$65
75th Percentile$115,000$9,583$55
25th Percentile$81,000$6,750$39
10th Percentile$69,000$5,750$33

Average Scientist Salary By State

The darker areas on the map show where scientists earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

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Average Salary:

Scientist average salary by State

StateAvg. salaryHourly rateJob Count
District of Columbia$84,119$40.44378
New Hampshire$82,927$39.87169
New Jersey$95,363$45.851,118
New Mexico$83,923$40.35184
New York$77,716$37.361,625
North Carolina$76,689$36.87892
North Dakota$58,996$28.3678
Rhode Island$96,151$46.23115
South Carolina$54,501$26.20267
South Dakota$64,441$30.98111
West Virginia$59,500$28.6177

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Highest Paying Cities For Scientist

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CityAvg. salaryHourly rate
San Francisco, CA$113,956$54.79
Ridgefield, CT$96,119$46.21
Piscataway, NJ$95,284$45.81
Baltimore, MD$89,625$43.09
Philadelphia, PA$88,904$42.74
Boston, MA$85,071$40.90

The largest raises come from changing jobs.

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How much does a Scientist make?

  • The average Scientist makes $97,260 in the United States.
  • The average hourly pay for a Scientist is $46.76.
  • The average entry-level Scientist salary is $69,000.
  • Highest paying states for Scientist are Nevada ($115,404), California ($108,474), Connecticut ($115,404) and Rhode Island ($115,404).
  • Highest paying cities for Scientist are San Francisco, CA ($113,956), Ridgefield, CT, Piscataway, NJ, Baltimore, MD and Philadelphia, PA.
  • Scientists on the lower end of that spectrum, the bottom 10% to be exact, make roughly $69,000 a year, while the top 10% makes $135,000.
  • The best-paid 25% made $115,000 that year, while the lowest-paid 25$ made $81,000
  • Industries with the highest Scientist salaries are Retail, Technology and Manufacturing.

Average Scientist Salary Over Time

Compare salaries for individual cities or states with the national average.

    YearAvg. salaryHourly rate% Change

    How Much Do Scientists Make In Different Industries?

    As we previously stated, Scientist salaries can vary depending on the industry. In fact, our data shows that Retail, Technology, and Manufacturing companies tend to offer much higher salaries for Scientists. For example, Scientists make a whopping average salary of $140,847 while working for Retail companies. Meanwhile, other people in this field are making $103,521 at Technology companies and $100,529 at Manufacturing companies. But Scientists may want to avoid working in the Pharmaceutical industry as it offers the lowest average salary at $86,014.
    RankIndustryAverage Scientist SalaryScientist Salary Range
    4Health Care

    High Paying Scientist Jobs

    Average JOB Salary by Field

    Research Fellow

    Avg. salary: $49,120

    A research fellow is an academic researcher who conducts research and analysis of comprehensive literature, data, and results and provides literature reviews. He/She supervises research assistants and recruits study participants to interview them for a particular study. To become a research fellow, a candidate should have a doctorate in a relevant discipline and publish peer-reviewed papers. Also, a research fellow can be an independent investigator or be supervised by a principal investigator.
    63,905 Research Fellow Jobs
    Laboratory Analyst

    Avg. salary: $47,557

    A Laboratory Analyst helps conduct experiments, run laboratory tests, and analyze results. They compile and record data for the documentation needed for testing and report preparation.
    43,234 Laboratory Analyst Jobs
    Quality Control Analyst

    Avg. salary: $62,045

    Quality assurance representatives are professionals who are responsible for ensuring the quality of units produced or manufactured is following the standards set by the industry. These representatives supervise the entire production process to identify erroneous methods or tools being used by workers and observing produced for visible defects. They are required to perform various tests to check for the durability of the product and other desirable characteristics. Quality assurance representatives must also collaborate with the manufacturing engineer to implement quality control programs and preparing training manuals and quality guidelines.
    73,422 Quality Control Analyst Jobs
    Research And Development Chemist

    Avg. salary: $71,304

    A research and development chemist primarily works at laboratories to conduct extensive tests and experiments aiming to develop new products and technologies. Although the extent of their duties may vary, it typically revolves around conducting research and studies, observing chemical reactions, maintaining records and databases, collaborating with fellow experts, and identifying the strengths and weaknesses of existing components or mixtures. They can find employment in different areas, such as manufacturing companies, private laboratories, government agencies, and even education.
    109,357 Research And Development Chemist Jobs
    Quality Control Chemist

    Avg. salary: $54,416

    A Quality Control Chemist uses chemistry lab skills to test and measure materials, usually in a manufacturing or pharmaceutical field. They analyze samples using scientific equipment, prepare study protocols, collect data, and identify and investigate abnormal test results.
    78,519 Quality Control Chemist Jobs
    Research Chemist

    Avg. salary: $69,467

    A research chemist specializes in conducting studies and experiments to develop new products. Their duties primarily focus on conducting research and assessments, gathering and analyzing chemical samples, developing ideas, conducting tests to study chemical reactions, maintaining records of all procedures, and utilizing previous studies. Their research findings can be used to create new medicines, enhance existing products, and lead to innovations. When it comes to employment, a research chemist may work for pharmaceutical companies, private laboratories, government agencies, and learning institutions.
    52,717 Research Chemist Jobs
    Job TitleAnnual SalaryMonthly SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
    Research Fellow$49,120$4,093$23.6263,905
    Laboratory Analyst$47,558$3,963$22.8643,234
    Quality Control Analyst$62,045$5,170$29.8373,422
    Research And Development Chemist$71,305$5,942$34.28109,357
    Quality Control Chemist$54,417$4,535$26.1678,519
    Research Chemist$69,468$5,789$33.4052,717
    Job Openings

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    Scientist Salaries By Years Of Experience

    The salary for a Scientist can vary depending on the years of experience that a person has, from entry level to senior level. Data on how experience level affects total compensation is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as part of their National Compensation Survey, which is based on factors such as knowledge, complexity, contacts, and environment.

    Which Companies Pay Scientists The Most?

    If you insist on knowing when your check is going to come and for how much, then you'd be better off working for companies like Walmart and Airbnb as they offer the highest salaries for Scientists.

    How would you rate the starting salaries for Biological Scientists, as well as the prospects for salary advancement?

    James Dooley Ph.D.

    Lovejoy Professor of Biology, Muskingum University

    Many of our students go on to professional schools (medical, veterinary, PT, PA, etc.), so they are not drawing salaries immediately after graduation. We don't know for those who do head straight into the working world because we don't ask our students to share that information.Show more

    How much should you get paid?

    Tell us about yourself to get a free, personalized Zippia Salary Report and suggestions on how to increase your pay.

    Recently Added Scientist Salaries

    CompanyJobLocationDate AddedSalary
    Cdc FoundationHealth ScientistKane, IL12/31/2021$90,000
    St. John's River Water Management District-SaRegulatory Scientist I/II (3 Positions)Jacksonville, FL12/30/2021$45,802
    Randstad UsScientist I (R&D)Cambridge, MA12/30/2021$62,610
    SalesforceApplied ScientistSan Francisco, CA12/28/2021$82,400
    HyperscienceApplied Scientist-Machine LearningNew York, NY12/28/2021$72,000
    Atrium StaffingScientistBoston, MA12/25/2021$110,000
    Bio-Rad LaboratoriesScientistBoulder, CO12/23/2021$75,000
    Atrium StaffingScientist (Gene and Cell)Boston, MA12/22/2021$125,000
    SalesforceApplied ScientistSan Francisco, CA12/22/2021$82,400
    Cdc FoundationHealth ScientistKane, IL12/22/2021$90,000

    Average Scientist Salary by Demographic

    Scientist Gender Pay Gap

    Male Income
    Female Income
    Median Scientist Income by Race
    White Scientists have the highest average salary compared to other ethnicities. Hispanic or Latino Scientists have the lowest average salary at $96,326.
    Black or African American
    Hispanic or Latino
    Black or African American$96,548
    Hispanic or Latino$96,326
    Average Scientist Salary by Education Level
    Scientists with a Doctorate degree earn more than those without, at $97,996 annually. With a Masters degree, Scientists earn a median annual income of $97,026 compared to $90,498 for Scientists with an Bachelors degree.
    Bachelor's Degree
    Master's Degree
    Doctorate Degree
    Bachelor's Degree$90,498
    Master's Degree$97,026
    Doctorate Degree$97,996

    Scientist Salaries FAQs

    What is a good salary for a scientist?

    A good salary for a scientist is around $80,000 to $90,000 a year. The average scientist earns an average of $93,500 a year, with a range as low as $50,000 a year to as high as $240,00 a year.

    There are many different types of scientists working in various fields (e.g., engineering, physical science, health). Most scientists work in academia as research professors or work in an industry conducting science to improve a product or service.

    Scientists working for a company can potentially earn much more than a scientist working at a university. For example, an academic research scientist averages $84,000 a year compared to an industry scientist who earns around $129,000 a year.

    Top paying industries for scientists.

    • Physicists median salary is $129,850 a year

    • Natural-science managers median salary is $137,940

    • Principal Computer Vision Scientist median salary of $180,260 a year

    • Computer and information research scientist median salary of $126,830 a year

    Learn more about this question

    What is the highest salary of a scientist?

    The highest salary for a scientist is around $200,000 a year. Meanwhile, the average salary for a senior scientist is approximately $100,000 per year. The top ten percent of senior scientists make around $150,000 a year, while the bottom ten percent make around $80,000.

    Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, industry, and years of experience in the profession.

    A senior scientist designs and executes research projects. They also manage a team of other scientists while also liaising with other business units such as marketing, sales, development, quality, engineering, etc. Senior scientists are expected to be subject matter experts within their organization regarding specific areas in their field.

    This requirement means that senior scientists need, at minimum, a master's degree in their field to have sufficient training and knowledge to perform the role well. This means that senior scientists with a Ph.D. will have higher pay for the position.

    Similarly, highly experienced senior scientists have more opportunities to earn salaries in the top ten percent range. They also have more opportunities to pursue promotions that will also lead to higher pay rates.

    Finally, working in industries like pharmaceuticals and technology, which have a higher need for good research scientists, will also translate into higher earning potential. Meanwhile, working in university settings will typically lead to lower earning potential.

    Learn more about this question

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