Are you considering a career in science? Science offers a captivating journey of exploration and discovery, and it can also be financially rewarding. In this article, we'll delve into the world of science careers and unveil the top 20 highest paying science jobs currently in demand.
From geneticists who diagnose and treat genetic disorders to artificial intelligence research scientists shaping the future of AI, these professions span a spectrum of scientific disciplines. Alongside famous figures like Carl Sagan and Francis Collins, who have left an indelible mark on their fields, you'll find roles that bridge science and technology, transforming industries and solving complex global challenges.
You'll also discover positions that have become increasingly crucial in today's world, from epidemiologists managing public health crises to meteorologists unraveling climate mysteries. As you explore these high-paying science careers, remember that the impact you can make on the world is as vast as the universe itself. So, let's embark on this journey and uncover the myriad opportunities science has to offer.
The Top 20 Highest Paying Jobs in Science
As we unveil our list of the top 20 high paying science jobs, it's important to note that salaries in these fields can vary widely based on factors such as location, experience, and education level. While we provide current salary data and insights into each profession, we encourage readers to consult our source information at the end of this article for the most up-to-date and comprehensive understanding.
Clinical Geneticists analyze and interpret genetic data, crucial in diagnosing and treating genetic disorders. Famous geneticists like Francis Collins , who led the Human Genome Project , have significantly advanced medical science.
National average salary: $146,567
National average salary range: $129,410 - $164,138
Pharmacists are the folks who manage and dispense medications, playing a vital role in patient care.
National average salary: $132,899
National average salary range: $80,791 - $173,092
3) Artificial Intelligence Research Scientist
National average salary: $131,596
National average salary range: $64,608 - $189,974
4) Data Scientist
Data Scientists extract insights from large data sets. They've been pivotal in various sectors, from finance to healthcare, significantly impacting business strategies.
National average salary: $131,182
National average salary range: $68,427 - $201,813
5) Machine Learning Engineer
Machine Learning Engineers develop systems that learn from data, a field popularized by applications like Netflix's recommendation algorithm.
National average salary: $130,678
National average salary range: $69,332 - $179,785
National average salary: $116,196
National average salary range: $80,504 - $143,100
7) Chemical Engineer
Chemical Engineers design chemical processes for manufacturing. Innovations like the creation of synthetic insulin have been spearheaded by chemical engineers.
National average salary: $113,629
National average salary range: $57,733 - $158,382
8) Research Scientist
These scientists conduct experiments across scientific disciplines. Rosalind Franklin , a research scientist, played a crucial role in understanding the structure of DNA.
National average salary: $107,471
National average salary range: $60,724 - $155,670
9) Computational Scientist
These scientists solve complex problems using computational methods, essential in projects like climate modeling and disease simulation.
National average salary: $106,014
National average salary range: $57,982 - $152,258
Physicists explore matter and energy. Stephen Hawking , renowned for his work on black holes, is a famous physicist.
National average salary: $104,248
National average salary range: $64,696 - $190,088
11) Aerospace Engineer
Responsible for designing aircraft and spacecraft, Aerospace Engineers have been central to space exploration missions like NASA's Mars Rovers .
National average salary: $104,212
National average salary range: $60,200 - $161,135
12) Electrical Engineer
These engineers develop electrical systems, contributing to advancements in renewable energy technologies.
National average salary: $102,048
National average salary range: $64,927 - $148,427
13) Material Scientist
Material Scientists develop new materials, like Gorilla Glass , used in smartphones and tablets.
National average salary: $101,866
National average salary range: $65,958 - $132,010
Hydrologists study water in the environment, crucial for managing water resources and understanding climate change impacts.
National average salary: $94,132
National average salary range: $62,456 - $119,709
15) Bioinformatics Specialist
These specialists use computational tools for biological data analysis, key in projects like the ENCODE project mapping human DNA elements.
National average salary: $93,932
National average salary range: $54,545 - $106,577
16) Biomedical Scientist/Researcher
These scientists conduct medical research, leading to developments like CRISPR , a gene-editing technology.
National average salary: $88,617
National average salary range: $53,492 - $115,719
Meteorologists study weather and climate, vital for understanding phenomena like El Niño and climate change.
National average salary: $86,824
National average salary range: $66,364 - $128,516
Epidemiologists study disease patterns, playing a critical role in managing public health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic.
National average salary: $85,969
National average salary range: $59,452 - $118,773
19) Systems Analyst
These analysts design computer systems for businesses, integral in digital transformations across various industries.
National average salary: $85,557
National average salary range: $58,093 - $123,228
20) Biomedical Engineer
Biomedical Engineers combine engineering with medical sciences to create healthcare devices, like the artificial heart .
National average salary: $84,039
National average salary range: $59,528 - $130,973
More Scientific Fields With In-Demand Jobs
The highest paying science jobs can be broadly categorized into several key areas:
Computer and Information Sciences
Each of these fields offers a variety of career paths, reflecting the broad range of scientific knowledge and its applications in the modern job market. Knowing these branches can help you understand what areas of study the top paying jobs in science fall under.
In our quest to offer a comprehensive look at the highest paying science jobs, we've gone beyond the top 20 list to compile an extensive roster of popular science jobs. It's important to note that these roles, though they may not have cracked the top 20 in terms of pay, are by no means less impactful in the world of science — in fact, they may align more closely with what you're seeking in a science profession.
The following lists include many of the top 20 jobs previously mentioned in the article, offering a cohesive understanding of how these popular science positions intersect with their respective fields of study. Let's explore the multitude of possibilities that the world of science has to offer.
The physical sciences encompass disciplines like physics and chemistry, which explore the fundamental properties of matter and energy. These sciences underpin advancements in technology, from the development of materials like superconductors to innovations in energy storage and transportation.
Physicist: Physicists conduct research and experiments to gain insights into the fundamental laws of nature. They often specialize in fields such as astrophysics, quantum physics, or applied physics.
Chemist: Chemists engage in the study of chemicals and their properties, interactions, and practical applications. They may choose to specialize in areas such as organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, or biochemistry.
Geologist: Geologists focus on the examination of Earth's materials, history, and geological processes. They commonly work in fields like natural resource exploration, environmental consulting, and academia.
Astronomer: Astronomers explore celestial bodies and phenomena beyond Earth's atmosphere. Their work typically involves conducting research, making observations, and developing theoretical models.
Material Scientist: Material scientists investigate and develop materials with novel or enhanced properties for various industries, including technology, manufacturing, and healthcare.
Meteorologist: Meteorologists study weather and climate, encompassing tasks ranging from weather forecasting to researching climate change and atmospheric processes.
Marine Biologist: Marine biologists specialize in the study of the ocean, covering aspects such as marine ecosystems, ocean currents, and seafloor geology.
Environmental Scientist: Environmental scientists are involved in the study and management of the environment, focusing on tasks like pollution control, natural resource management, and sustainability.
Science Educator: Science educators teach physical sciences at various educational levels, from high school to university, often integrating teaching with their own research.
Biological sciences study living organisms and their interactions. They have led to breakthroughs in healthcare through the understanding of genetics, biochemistry, and microbiology. Biologists contribute to areas such as genetic engineering, pharmaceuticals, and ecosystem conservation.
Biotechnologist: Biotechnologists are involved in the development and application of products and processes for industries like healthcare, agriculture, and environmental conservation. They often utilize living organisms or their components to achieve these goals.
Microbiologist: Microbiologists specialize in the study of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. They frequently work in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, or research settings to investigate the properties and behaviors of these tiny life forms.
Geneticist: Geneticists focus on the science of genes, genetic variation, and heredity. They work in various areas, including medical genetics, agricultural genetics, or genetic counseling to better understand and manipulate genetic information.
Environmental Biologist: Environmental biologists study the natural environment and its interactions with various species. They play key roles in conservation efforts, environmental assessment, and the development of policies aimed at protecting ecosystems.
Biochemist: Biochemists merge the fields of chemistry and biology to explore the chemical processes within and related to living organisms. They are often involved in medical and pharmaceutical research to unravel the molecular intricacies of life.
Wildlife Biologist: Wildlife biologists focus on studying animals and their ecosystems, with a particular emphasis on conservation, wildlife management, and ecological research to safeguard biodiversity.
Biological Technician: Biological technicians provide crucial support to biological and medical scientists by setting up experiments, collecting data, and analyzing results, primarily in research laboratories to facilitate scientific discoveries.
Environmental sciences examine the Earth's ecosystems and the impact of human activities on the environment. These sciences play a critical role in addressing global challenges such as climate change, pollution control, and sustainable resource management, affecting our planet's health and future.
Environmental Consultant: Environmental consultants provide guidance on environmental policy and compliance with regulations, often collaborating with businesses and government agencies to ensure responsible and sustainable practices.
Conservation Scientist: Conservation scientists are dedicated to safeguarding natural resources, focusing on the sustainable management of lands and ecosystems to preserve biodiversity and ecological balance.
Environmental Educator: Environmental educators teach and raise awareness about environmental issues, typically working in schools, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), or community organizations to inform and inspire people to take environmentally responsible actions.
Environmental Engineer: Environmental engineers apply engineering principles to address environmental challenges, such as waste management, pollution control, and the design of sustainable solutions to minimize the ecological footprint.
Hydrologist: Hydrologists focus on the movement, distribution, and quality of water, playing a vital role in water conservation and management by studying and managing water resources.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist: GIS specialists utilize GIS technology to analyze and interpret environmental data, supporting a wide range of conservation and resource management projects by providing valuable spatial insights.
Computer and Information Sciences
Computer and information sciences drive the digital age, enabling innovations in computing, data analysis, and information systems. They impact fields as diverse as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, software development, and data science, shaping how we communicate, work, and access information.
Data Scientist: Data scientists employ scientific methods, including statistical analysis and machine learning, to analyze and interpret complex data sets, extracting valuable insights and trends.
Machine Learning Engineer: Machine learning engineers are responsible for developing algorithms and models using scientific methods, enabling machines to learn from data and make intelligent decisions.
Bioinformatics Specialist: Bioinformatics specialists combine expertise in biology, computer science, and information technology to analyze and interpret biological data, particularly relevant in fields like genetics and genomics.
Computational Scientist: Computational scientists harness advanced computing capabilities to address intricate scientific problems, often applying their skills in disciplines such as physics, chemistry, or biology.
Systems Analyst: Systems analysts utilize scientific and analytical approaches to design and assess computer systems, software, and networks, ensuring their efficiency and functionality.
Artificial Intelligence Research Scientist: Artificial intelligence research scientists concentrate on creating innovative AI technologies and algorithms, requiring a strong foundation in scientific research methods to push the boundaries of AI advancements.
Engineering sciences apply scientific principles to design and create practical solutions for various industries. Engineers contribute to fields such as civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and aerospace engineering, shaping infrastructure, transportation, and technological advancements.
Electrical Engineer: Electrical engineers specialize in the design and development of electrical systems and components, including circuit boards, motors, and power generation equipment.
Chemical Engineer: Chemical engineers apply principles of chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics to address challenges related to the production or utilization of chemicals, fuels, pharmaceuticals, food, and various other products.
Aerospace Engineer: Aerospace engineers focus on designing and testing aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, and missiles. They may have specializations in areas such as aerodynamic fluid flow or structural design.
Biomedical Engineer: Biomedical engineers merge engineering principles with medical and biological sciences to conceive and produce equipment, devices, computer systems, and software used in healthcare, contributing to advancements in medical technology.
Materials Engineer: Materials engineers are responsible for developing, processing, and testing materials used in the creation of a wide range of products, from computer chips and aircraft wings to golf clubs and biomedical devices.
Health sciences encompass fields like medicine, pharmacology, and public health. They have a profound impact on healthcare delivery, disease prevention, and medical research, leading to advancements in areas such as telemedicine, drug development, and epidemiology.
Pharmacist: Pharmacists dispense medications prescribed by physicians and other healthcare practitioners, and they provide patients with essential information about medication usage and potential side effects.
Biomedical Scientist/Researcher: Biomedical scientists and researchers conduct studies and research to advance our understanding of human health and diseases, contributing to the development of medical knowledge and potential treatments.
Clinical Laboratory Technologist: Clinical laboratory technologists perform tests and analyses on samples of bodily fluids, tissues, and other substances to assist in diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases, playing a crucial role in healthcare diagnostics.
Epidemiologist: Epidemiologists investigate the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions within defined populations. They are instrumental in understanding and controlling public health issues and outbreaks.
Dietitian: Dietitians, with a focus on the science of food and its impact on health, help individuals make informed choices about their diet and nutrition, promoting better health and well-being through dietary guidance.
Healthcare Scientist: Healthcare scientists apply principles of biological science in clinical settings, often specializing in areas such as infection sciences or blood sciences to support medical diagnosis and treatment.
Agricultural sciences focus on improving crop production and food security. They contribute to sustainable agriculture, crop genetics, and agricultural technology, addressing global challenges related to food production and supporting the agricultural industry.
Agronomist: Agronomists specialize in soil management and crop production, working to enhance farming practices and increase crop yields.
Food Scientist/Technologist: Food scientists and technologists are involved in the study of food production and processing, with a focus on improving food quality, safety, and nutritional value.
Animal Scientist: Animal scientists study the biology and management of domestic animals, often concentrating on nutrition, breeding, and enhancing productivity.
Agricultural Engineer: Agricultural engineers apply engineering principles to agriculture, including the design of machinery, development of crop irrigation systems, and the creation of more efficient farming practices.
Soil Scientist: Soil scientists examine soil properties to assess its suitability for different types of plants and analyze how various soil treatments impact plant growth.
Horticulturist: Horticulturists specialize in the cultivation of a wide range of plants, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, flowers, and ornamental trees, with an emphasis on their growth and maintenance.
Forester/Forest Scientist: Foresters and forest scientists manage and conserve forested lands for sustainable timber production, wildlife habitat preservation, water resource protection, and recreational use.
Agricultural Extension Agent: Agricultural extension agents provide educational outreach to farmers and the agricultural community, offering guidance and solutions for various agricultural issues.
Environmental Consultant (Agriculture Focus): Environmental consultants with an agriculture focus provide advice on environmental best practices in agriculture, including sustainability and conservation efforts.
Fisheries Scientist/Aquaculturist: Fisheries scientists and aquaculturists manage and research the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of fish and other aquatic organisms, contributing to the sustainable development of aquatic resources.
High Paying Science Jobs That Transcend Multiple Areas of Study
And now to wrap up our list, here are a handful of science careers that blend disciplines, innovating and advancing knowledge across the vast spectrum of science.
Research Scientist: Research scientists play a crucial role in exploring and understanding the world around us. They conduct experiments and analyze data in labs, focusing on specific areas like medical research, meteorology, or pharmacology. Their work ranges from writing scientific papers to developing new solutions for complex problems. You'll find them in diverse settings, from universities to government labs, always pushing the boundaries of science.
Science Policy Advisor: Science policy advisors analyze scientific data and research to inform and shape public policy. They work with government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private sector companies to translate scientific findings into effective policies and programs that address challenges such as health, environment, and technology advancements.
Science Educator: Science educators are vital in instilling the importance of science in the next generation. They teach a range of scientific disciplines, from physics to biology, in various educational settings. These educators not only impart fundamental scientific knowledge but also inspire curiosity and critical thinking. Through engaging teaching methods, they play a crucial role in shaping future scientists and informed citizens.
Lab Technician/Research Assistant: Lab technicians and research assistants provide vital support for scientific research by conducting experiments and analyzing results in fields such as chemistry, physics, and geology.
Preparing For Your Career In Science
If you’re interested in high paying science jobs, you’ll need post-secondary science education and training. Whether you need to complete a prerequisite, complete admission requirements, or just want to get ahead on your degree, you can enroll in a science course online at StraighterLine. Here are just a few science classes to choose from:
How to Succeed in Online Science Classes
Each StraighterLine class includes tutoring and textbooks for no additional fee. So, you will always have the help you need when you need it. Sign up for one of our science courses today and start immediately!
Data and Additional Resources on Science Jobs
Our data for the salaries in this article was compiled and averaged from three job websites: salary.com, indeed.com, and ziprecruiter.com on Nov 14 of 2023. Not every job appeared on all three sites, so some of the salary data is compiled from only 2 sources. For more in-depth information about how these salaries are computed, here are the methodologies for each of the three websites:
Here are a few additional resources that were used in our research: