Highest Paying Scientist Jobs in the USA: Physicist Description and Salaries
The highest paying physical scientist jobs in the USA belongs to physicists. They study the physical world and discover the principles and theories that govern its composition, interaction and energy. They may specialize only in theoretical research or apply their knowledge to practical problems in such varied fields as communications, electronics, optics and aerospace . They use different scientific equipment to perform their studies such as particle accelerators, mass spectrometers and lasers.
© 2011 by Aurelio Locsin
The jobs available to physicists depend on their degree. Training for these scientist jobs is available at many colleges and universities such as MIT.
- Physicists who perform basic research require a Ph.D., typically with a specialty in a subfield. Those with this degree also often teach in colleges and universities, or advance to management.
- Those with master’s degrees may find positions in manufacturing, or applied research and development. They may also teach at two-year colleges or secondary schools.
- Bachelor’s degrees allow work as research assistants or as technicians in software development or engineering.
Salaries and Employment
The U.S. Department of Labor shows the following earnings stats for the profession:
- Physicists make a mean wage of $59.17 per hour or $123,080 per year, though low medians can descend to $27.61 per hour or $57,430 per year, or rise to over $91.60 an hour or over $190,540 per year.
- Scientific research and development services offer the most positions for these scientist jobs, numbering 5,970, with wages at $63.91 per hour or $132,930 per year.
- The highest paying jobs are in general and surgical hospitals. Average salaries run $85.30 an hour or $177,400 a year.
Best Locations for Scientist Jobs
Income for physicists varies according to location:
- The state with most scientist jobs for this profession is California, with 2,860 physicists making a mean $62.13 per hour or $108,440 per year.
- The state with the highest pay is Oklahoma, where 50 jobs earn a mean $77.62 per hour or $161,450 per year.
- For cities, Washington, DC, has the most scientist jobs at 1,030, with wages at $68.24 per hour or $141,950 per year.
- Providence, Rhode Island, boasts the best pay for its 40 physicists at $76.50 per hour or $159,110 per year.
The Labor Department sees jobs for physicists increasing by 14 percent from 2016 to 2026. This faster than average growth primarily stems from federal spending, particularly in basic research.
Prospects will be best for those with training in applied research and development, though a recent increase in the number of physics doctorates will also increase competition. Physics graduates at any level will also find good prospects, as long as they are not wedded to the title of physicist. Many of the available jobs will have different titles such as computer scientist, engineer or high school teacher.
Physicists will remain the highest paying scientist job in the country for the next few years.
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