A Guide to High Paid Science Jobs (With Salaries and Duties)

Updated December 3, 2022

Science is a fascinating field with many exciting, lucrative careers to choose from. If you have the right qualifications, you can pursue many types of science jobs that offer a high salary. Researching potential careers in a variety of fields of science can help you decide which position suits you best. In this article, we discuss how to get high paid science jobs, the skills needed for the field, and review a list of high paying science jobs, along with their salary and job duties.

Related: The 3 Branches of Science and Available Career Options

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Getting high paid science jobs

After you have all the qualifications you need, you can start searching for jobs in your preferred field. If you want to work for a specific business, search for open positions on its career page. Otherwise, look at a more general job search site. Reach out to people in your professional network, such as former professors or internship supervisors. Ask them if they know about any openings that suit you, and request a recommendation from them. You can also contact family members and friends about possible positions that they know are available.

The average pay for a high-paying science job depends on the position, your education and experience level, and the location. Researching your intended career path can help you find what salary you can expect. You can often earn more if you work in a metropolitan area. These jobs often pay more to compensate for a higher cost of living. With more experience and an advanced degree, you can usually expect a higher salary. Before university, take courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and advanced math to help prepare you for more advanced classes. To gain additional experience, consider completing an internship.

Related: How To Ask Your Professor for a Letter of Recommendation

Skills for high paid science jobs

Most high paying scientist jobs require skills developed by completing a university degree, and many also require a graduate degree. Your level of experience is important in finding high paid science jobs. Entry-level science roles usually require little experience, and you can expect your salary to increase as you work longer in your career and gain experience in your field. Earning certifications or licenses can raise your pay as well. For the best paid science jobs, develop these essential skills:

  • Analytical reasoning: In many highly paid science roles, analyzing data and distilling important information in easy-to-read reports is important. Analytical reasoning can help you identify essential pieces of data and understand how they influence the results of experiments.

  • Attention to detail: Many science jobs involve working with large amounts of data and information. Being able to notice trends and small changes requires excellent attention to detail.

  • Communication: Written and verbal communication is important for explaining complex concepts, writing research papers, and communicating with coworkers.

  • Hardware and software proficiency: People working in scientific fields often use sophisticated equipment and software. They need to conduct tests and analyze data correctly. They frequently need to learn about advances in their industries as well.

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14 highest paying science jobs

Here are some of the most lucrative science jobs that you may consider pursuing:

1. Research scientist

National average salary: $75,091 per year

Primary duties: Research scientists can work in a variety of scientific fields, including medicine, biology, chemistry, physics, and astrophysics. They can conduct experiments, studies, or clinical trials to advance scientific knowledge. They can also write research papers, collaborate with other scientists, and supervise lab technicians and other team members in their roles.

2. Microbiologist

National average salary: $127,853 per year

Primary duties: Microbiologists research the structure, function, ecology, and genetics of microorganisms. These include bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoans, and algae. Microbiologists can also study the effects of pathogens on humans, genetic engineering, influences on gene expression, and similar topics.

3. Biologist

National average salary: $77,283 per year

Primary duties: Biologists often study different aspects of plants and animals. They may research new biological products as well. These professionals often examine the growth patterns of organisms or attempt to breed new varieties of plants or animals in their work.

Related: How Much Can a Marine Biologist Earn?

4. Pharmacologist

National average salary: $83.60 per hour

Primary duties: A pharmacologist identifies, develops, and tests drugs to treat, cure, and prevent diseases. These scientists also test gases, dust, food colourings, and chemicals to decide whether they're harmful. They conduct research on animals, plants, and humans in their roles.

Related: How To Become a Pharmacologist in 6 Steps

5. Biostatistician

National average salary: $74,481 per year

Primary duties: A biostatistician designs clinical studies related to health care. These professionals can also write research proposals or grant applications. Biostatisticians also analyze archival data related to a population's health, like birth, death, and disease records.

6. Nuclear engineer

National average salary: $93,757 per year

Primary duties: A nuclear engineer designs and develops the equipment and machinery needed to use nuclear power. They may design parts of nuclear power plants. These professionals may also design radiation shielding, devices for detecting radiation, carbon dating equipment, and medical devices.

Related: Top 8 Skills for Every Mechanical Engineer

7. Geophysicist

National average salary: $81,297 per year

Primary duties: Geophysicists often specialize in fields such as petroleum geology, geoelectromagnetism, earth physics, and seismology. They conduct research about the surface and subsurface features of the earth, its history, and its mineral composition. These professionals often analyze core samples, satellite imagery, readings from seismometers, and other data to assess the geological age of an area or find natural resources like oil. People with these jobs also decide which places are best for new buildings and other structures.

8. Oncologist

National average salary: $325,199 per year

Primary duties: Oncologists treat patients with cancer. They sometimes work on clinical trials as well. Medical oncologists mostly use chemotherapy and other medications, and surgical oncologists remove tumours and perform biopsies to diagnose cancers. Radiation oncologists specialize in radiation therapy.

Read more: 5 Steps To Become a Doctor

9. Epidemiologist

National average salary: $89,139 per year

Primary duties: An epidemiologist researches the spread of a disease to find out how to contain it and advise public health officials. They look for outbreak possibilities and help people treat and stop the spread of the disease. These professionals sometimes speak to reporters to warn the public about public health hazards. People doing this type of work also look for asymptomatic carriers and help create quarantine recommendations.

10. Pathologist Assistant

National average salary: $40.32 per hour

Primary duties: Pathologists or pathology assistants examine surgical specimens and provide information about them. They test samples for inconsistencies or diseases. Pathology assistants and pathologists also preserve samples and operate medical equipment to find results. These professionals work with pathologists to diagnose diseases and often work at hospitals, clinics, research facilities, pathology laboratories, and morgues.

Related: How to Become a Pathologist Assistant (With Skills and FAQs)

11. Psychologist

National average salary: $55.82 per hour

Primary duties: A psychologist diagnoses and treats mental health issues by studying human thoughts, behaviours, and emotions. Psychologists can work in correctional facilities, clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centres, schools, community service organizations, and research agencies. They provide counselling to patients, administer psychological tests, and create treatment plans. Child psychologists work with children and teens, and industrial psychologists find ways for companies to encourage efficiency and safety at work.

12. Psychiatrist

National average salary: $255,040 per year

Primary duties: Like psychologists, psychiatrists diagnose and treat mental health disorders. They typically help patients struggling with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, addiction, PTSD, schizophrenia, and other mental health conditions. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who can prescribe drugs, so they often focus on physical treatments such as medication instead of counselling. They may also refer patients to more niche specialists, or provide cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

13. Geographer

National average salary: $70,209 per year

Primary duties: Geographers study the environment and the way that humans interact with their surroundings. They identify patterns and make predictions about how natural events and human behaviours impact the atmosphere surrounding the planet, bodies of water, and the habitats of animals and plants. They also make observations in the field and interpret satellite images and census reports. Geographers evaluate the risks of fires, floods, severe storms, and other hazards for an area, and they help create maps.

Related: 22 In-Demand Careers in Science

14. Forensic analyst

National average salary: $43.82 per hour

Primary duties: A forensic analyst helps law enforcement officers analyze clues from suspects and crime scenes. This information can include DNA, fingerprints, hair and clothing fibres, and other forms of evidence. Forensic analysts sometimes testify at criminal trials as well.

Related: 12 Popular Forensic Science Jobs (With Average Salaries)

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate's experience, academic background, and location.

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