ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Highest Paying Scientist Jobs in the USA: Physicist Description and Salaries

Updated on April 28, 2020
alocsin profile image

The author enjoys researching the job market to report on the latest salaries, opportunities, and employment trends.

Dr. Martin Balluch, physicist and philosopher.
Dr. Martin Balluch, physicist and philosopher. | Source

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.


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 $63.02 per hour or $131,080 per year, though low medians can descend to $30.03 per hour or $62,470 per year, or rise to over $97.11 an hour or over $201,990 per year.
  • Scientific research and development services offer the most positions for these scientist jobs, numbering 5,430, with wages at $68.67 per hour or $142,840 per year.
  • The highest-paying jobs are in general medical and surgical hospitals. Average salaries run $89.37 an hour or $185,880 a year.

Best Locations for Scientist Jobs

Income for physicists varies according to location:

  • The state with most jobs for this profession is California, with 1,950 physicists making a mean $58.98 per hour or $122,670 per year.
  • The state with the highest pay is Kansas, where 30 jobs earn a mean $87.11 per hour or $181,190 per year.
  • For cities, Washington, DC, has the most scientist jobs at 1,880, with wages at $64.36 per hour or $133,860 per year.
  • Buffalo, New York, boasts the best pay for its 40 physicists at $92.86 per hour or $193,150 per year.


The Labor Department sees jobs for physicists increasing by 9 percent from 2018 to 2028. 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.

© 2011 Aurelio Locsin


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      15 months ago from Houston, Texas

      One of our neighbor's sons is a physicist living in California. It is interesting to me the number of different jobs that they can hold. What surprised me most is the fact of some of them working in hospitals.

    • hanwillingham profile image


      8 years ago

      Amazing!I almost couldn't believe that Physicist in US were highly paid. Never thought they were so much lucky as this.Thanks for the information.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 

      9 years ago

      I didn't know that Physicists where that Highly Paid. Not that it is not warranted. This was a Wonderful and Interesting Read as Usual Alocsin. This certainly would be a Field for a Science Major to Consider.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)