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Physicist Salary Information in California

The average annual and hourly salaries for physicists in the state of California are shown in Table 1 and Table 2, respectively. The comparison of the salary statistics of physicists amongst California metropolitan areas is shown in Table 3. The salary statistics are based on the national compensation survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2017 and published in April 2018 [1].

Table 1 & 2. Annual & Hourly Salary of Physicists in California

Percentile BracketAverage Annual Salary
10th Percentile Wage
25th Percentile Wage
50th Percentile Wage
75th Percentile Wage
90th Percentile Wage

Table 1 shows the average annual salary for physicists in California in 5 percentile scales. The average annual salary for the 90th percentile (the top 10 percent of the highest paid) is $165,400. The median (50th percentile) annual salary is $112,950. The average annual salary for the bottom 10 percent is $56,170.

Salary Trend (2012 to 2017)

The table and chart below show the trend of the median salary of physicists from 2012 to 2017.

YearMedian SalaryYearly Growth5-Year Growth
2.72% 9.89%
1.26% -
-0.35% -
0.70% -
5.86% -
- -

Table 3. Median Annual Salary of Physicists in California Cities

Table 3 shows the median annual salary of physicists in some California cities and metropolitan areas. We note that the median annual salary of physicists in state of California ranges from $59,130 to $139,330. The highest paying area for physicists in California is San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara with a median annual salary of $139,330. The second highest paying city/area in California State is San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City (mean annual salary $135,090). The lowest paying area is Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario with a median annual salary of $59,130.

Cities/Areas Median Annual Salary
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara
San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont
Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario


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