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Working as a Senior Staff Scientist

Senior staff scientists oversee the activities of a scientific project. They may be employed by a private company or the government to lead or manage a team of scientists. Senior staff scientists handle everything from technical and budgetary responsibilities to the day-to-day activities of other scientists.

Depending on the team's size, senior staff scientists may also conduct research, collate data, and test hypotheses. They may also supervise equipment care and clean up. Senior staff scientists perform an experiment or a group of experiments in their area of specialization. These contribute to their life's work and often complement each other.

To be a senior staff scientist, you need years of experience in your chosen field. But first, you'll need a bachelor's and advanced degrees in your specialization. The job also requires skills like observation and critical thinking.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a senior staff scientist. For example, did you know that they make an average of $56.57 an hour? That's $117,659 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 Senior Staff Scientist Do

There are certain skills that many senior staff scientists 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, critical-thinking skills and communication skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a senior staff scientist, we found that a lot of resumes listed 15.1% of senior staff scientists included r, while 10.6% of resumes included phd, and 10.3% of resumes included data analysis. 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 senior staff scientist job title. But what industry to start with? Most senior staff scientists actually find jobs in the technology and manufacturing industries.

How To Become a Senior Staff Scientist

If you're interested in becoming a senior staff scientist, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 20.1% of senior staff scientists have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 19.6% of senior staff scientists have master's degrees. Even though most senior staff scientists have a college degree, it's impossible 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 senior staff scientist. When we researched the most common majors for a senior staff scientist, we found that they most commonly earn doctoral degree degrees or bachelor's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on senior staff scientist resumes include master's degree degrees or associate degree degrees.

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

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Average Salary$117,659
Job Growth Rate8%

Senior Staff Scientist Jobs

Senior Staff Scientist Career Paths

Top Careers Before Senior Staff Scientist

Top Careers After Senior Staff Scientist

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Average Salary for a Senior Staff Scientist

Senior Staff Scientists in America make an average salary of $117,659 per year or $57 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $163,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $84,000 per year.
Average Salary
$117,659

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range122k - 193k$154k$154,163
Wilmington, DE
Salary Range97k - 159k$125k$124,575
Bridgewater, NJ
Salary Range95k - 155k$122k$121,830
Seattle, WA
Salary Range90k - 161k$121k$121,056
Eden Prairie, MN
Salary Range85k - 162k$118k$117,506
Bethesda, MD
Salary Range87k - 146k$113k$113,258
$47k
$193k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Senior Staff Scientist
Senior Staff Scientist
Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University
07/10/2019
07/10/2019
$61,00007/10/2019
$61,000
Senior Staff Scientist
Senior Staff Scientist
Ashland Specialty Ingredients GP.
Ashland Specialty Ingredients GP.
06/14/2019
06/14/2019
$112,94406/14/2019
$112,944
Senior Staff Scientist
Senior Staff Scientist
Ashland Specialty Ingredients GP.
Ashland Specialty Ingredients GP.
06/14/2019
06/14/2019
$112,94406/14/2019
$112,944
Senior Staff Scientist
Senior Staff Scientist
The New York Stem Cell Foundation, Inc.
The New York Stem Cell Foundation, Inc.
06/05/2019
06/05/2019
$75,00006/05/2019
$75,000
Senior Staff Scientist
Senior Staff Scientist
Bey
Bey
06/05/2019
06/05/2019
$220,00006/05/2019
$220,000
See More Recent Salaries

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Senior Staff Scientist Demographics

Gender

male

64.1 %

female

22.4 %

unknown

13.5 %

Ethnicity

White

64.1 %

Asian

20.6 %

Hispanic or Latino

7.8 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

25.0 %

French

10.7 %

Chinese

7.1 %
See More Demographics

Senior Staff Scientist Education

Degrees

Doctorate

56.0 %

Bachelors

20.1 %

Masters

19.6 %

Top Colleges for Senior Staff Scientists

1. Duke University

Durham, NC

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

2. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

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

3. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

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

4. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI

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

5. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY

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

6. University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA

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

7. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC

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

8. Yale University

New Haven, CT

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

9. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

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

10. Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN

In-State Tuition
$49,816
Enrollment
6,840
See More Education Info

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Senior Staff Scientist

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Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Senior Staff Scientist

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, 15.1% of senior staff scientists listed r on their resume, but soft skills such as observation skills and critical-thinking skills are important as well.

Best States For a Senior Staff Scientist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a senior staff scientist. The best states for people in this position are Nevada, California, Maine, and Connecticut. Senior staff scientists make the most in Nevada with an average salary of $141,570. Whereas in California and Maine, they would average $140,053 and $131,194, respectively. While senior staff scientists would only make an average of $129,717 in Connecticut, 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. California

Total Senior Staff Scientist Jobs:
2,418
Highest 10% Earn:
$215,000
Location Quotient:
2.06
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. Connecticut

Total Senior Staff Scientist Jobs:
129
Highest 10% Earn:
$199,000
Location Quotient:
1.12
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. Pennsylvania

Total Senior Staff Scientist Jobs:
474
Highest 10% Earn:
$192,000
Location Quotient:
1.18
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 Senior Staff Scientist Employers

1. Broadcom
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$117,639
Senior Staff Scientists Hired: 
44+
2. Ashland
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$57,512
Senior Staff Scientists Hired: 
27+
3. Geosyntec Consultants
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$62,009
Senior Staff Scientists Hired: 
15+
4. Science Applications International ...
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$78,095
Senior Staff Scientists Hired: 
12+
5. Motorola Solutions
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$90,063
Senior Staff Scientists Hired: 
11+
6. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$72,446
Senior Staff Scientists Hired: 
7+

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Recently Added Senior Staff Scientist Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020