Physicist Salary in U.S.

The salary statistics of physicists are shown in Table 1. In the next few tables we compare the average salaries of physicists within different industry sectors and in the 50 states of the United States. The physicists annual salary statistics are from the national compensation survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018 and published in April 2019 [1].

Table 1. Physicist Salary in U.S. (2018 survey)

Percentile BracketAverage Annual Salary
10th Percentile Wage
$59,300
25th Percentile Wage
$85,090
50th Percentile Wage
$120,950
75th Percentile Wage
$158,350
90th Percentile Wage
$193,280

Table 1 shows the average annual salary for physicists. The average annual salary for the 90th percentile (the top 10 percent of the highest paid) physicists is $193,280. The median annual salary (50th percentile) is $120,950. The average annual salary for the bottom 10 percent is $59,300. Take note that in the United States, the annual salary of the 90th percentile (the top 10 percent of the highest paid) is almost 225% higher than that of the bottom 10 percent.

Median salary trend (2012 to 2018)

The table and chart below show the trend of the median salary of physicists from 2012 to 2018.

YearMedian SalaryYearly Growth6-Year Growth
2018
$120,950
1.75% 11.67%
2017
$118,830
2.49% -
2016
$115,870
3.70% -
2015
$111,580
1.77% -
2014
$109,600
-0.47% -
2013
$110,110
2.97% -
2012
$106,840
- -

Table 2. Physicist Salary by Industry Sector (2018 survey)

The average salaries of physicists in 11 major industry sectors are shown in Table 2. We note that the salaries vary considerably within different industry sectors. The highest paying industry sector for physicists occupations is the health care and social assistance sector with an annual salary $174,350. The lowest paying sector is the educational services sector (annual salary $70,970).

Industry Sector Median Annual Salary
Health Care and Social Assistance
$174,350
Management of Companies and Enterprises
$161,110
Other Services (except Federal, State, and Local Government)
$150,600
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
$132,270
Mining
$120,410
Manufacturing
$116,110
Federal, State, and Local Government
$113,520
Utilities
$91,000
Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services
$88,660
Wholesale Trade
$77,840
Educational Services
$70,970

Table 3. Median Annual Wage of Physicists by States (2018 survey)

From the above tables we note that not only physicists salaries vary considerably based on one's education and experience, and the industry sectors, they also change considerably from state to state. In the following table we compare the median salary of physicists in all 50 states of the United States. We note that the median annual salaries range from $76,590 to $170,280. The highest paying state for physicists is Oklahoma with a median annual salary of $170,280. The lowest paying state is Indiana with a median annual salary of $76,590. For more salary information of physicists profession in a specific state, use the links in the table.

State Name Median Annual Salary
Oklahoma
$170,280
Wisconsin
$154,070
New Mexico
$148,620
District of Columbia
$146,890
Massachusetts
$145,570
Kansas
$143,470
Utah
$138,100
North Carolina
$133,650
Pennsylvania
$132,410
Minnesota
$128,110
Louisiana
$127,630
New York
$126,740
Tennessee
$126,500
Maryland
$125,660
Florida
$124,070
New Hampshire
$122,340
New Jersey
$119,930
Ohio
$117,870
Rhode Island
$117,160
Alabama
$116,490
Arizona
$115,280
Kentucky
$113,300
California
$112,980
Texas
$112,420
Illinois
$111,160
Idaho
$111,110
North Dakota
$109,330
Missouri
$105,770
Maine
$105,400
South Carolina
$104,700
Washington
$103,900
Nevada
$103,140
Virginia
$102,220
Colorado
$100,850
Hawaii
$98,520
Georgia
$97,540
Connecticut
$96,490
Mississippi
$94,160
Oregon
$87,930
Iowa
$86,840
Nebraska
$85,960
Michigan
$81,650
Vermont
$79,110
Indiana
$76,590



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💰 Highest paying industries for physicists.