Salaries for Geoscience-related Occupations vs. Other Science Occupations

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Salaries for chemists, physicists and biological/life scientists primarily fall within the range of salaries for geoscience-related occupations. Over the past decade, however, salaries for geoscience-related occupations have grown as fast or faster than salaries for these other science occupations.

Between 1999 and 2010, mean annual salaries for physicists ranged from $12,469 to $18,649 higher than the aggregate salary for all geoscience-related occupations. Mean annual salaries for chemists have increasingly lagged the aggregate salary for all geoscience-related occupations (-$9,061 in 1999 to -$22,267 in 2010).

Mean annual salaries for biological/life scientists overlap the lower range of salaries for geoscience-related occupations. At the higher end of biological/life scientist salaries, biochemist and biophysicist salaries follow geoscientist and atmospheric scientist salaries (~$80K). Microbiologist, general life scientist and general biological scientist salaries follow the salary trends for geographers (upper $60K-$70K), while the rest of the biological/life scientist salaries fall below that of environmental scientists (mid $60K).

Physicist, chemist, and aggregated biological/life scientist salaries dropped by 1.0 to 1.3 percent between 2009 and 2010, while aggregated geoscience-related salaries grew by 1.1 percent over the same time period. Between 2001 and 2010, physicist, chemist, and aggregated biological/life scientist salaries grew by 4.7 to 8.7 percent, while salaries for aggregated geoscience-related occupations grew by 16.5 percent. (Note, salaries were normalized to 2010 dollars for year-to-year comparisons).

View an in-depth discussion of this information in the corresponding Geoscience Currents Discussion Webinar.