Medical Scientists: Salary Overview
Medical scientists conduct clinical trials and use other investigating methods aimed at improving human health.
Their job description typically includes designing and conducting studies, preparing and analyzing medical samples and data, standardizing drug potency and doses, creating and testing medical devices, developing programs, and writing research grant proposals.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage reported by medical scientists was $88,190 as of May 2019 which means that half of all workers in this profession earned less than this amount while half earned more.
Salaries vary depending on experience and education level, the area of expertise, and the industry of employment.
The lowest 10 percent of all medical scientists reportedly earned less than $49,020 a year while the top 10 percent made more than $159,680 annually.
Medical Scientist Salary by Industry
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical scientists held approximately 130,700 jobs in 2018, most of them being employed in the field of research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences or for colleges, universities, and professional schools.
The report published by BLS shows that the average annual wage reported by medical scientists who worked in scientific research was $106,930 while those employed by colleges, universities, and professional schools reportedly earned $77,120 a year.
Those who worked for general medical and surgical hospitals reportedly earned $87,700 on average while those employed by pharmaceutical and medical manufacturers reportedly earned $115,900 on average.
The mean annual wage reported by medical scientists who worked for medical and diagnostic laboratories was $92,910.
The top-paying industries for this profession are the field of employment services, wholesale electronic markets, agents and brokers, and business, professional, labor, political, and similar organizations.
Medical scientists who worked in the field of employment services reportedly earned $146,590 per year on average while those who worked for wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers reported an average annual wage of $141,990.
Business, professional, labor, political, and similar organizations reportedly paid medical scientists with $137,170 per year, on average.
The above numbers apply to medical scientists except for epidemiologists.
Other factors that determine a medical scientist’s salary include his/her level of experience and education.
Medical scientists typically hold a Ph.D. in biology or a related life science but you may earn more if you also earn a medical degree.
Salaries for medical scientists also vary depending on the region and the state of employment.
The report published by BLS shows that the top-paying states for this profession were Maine, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania.
Salaries also vary between these top-paying states and medical scientists in Maine reported an average annual wage of $130,310 while those in Pennsylvania reportedly earned $113,490 per year on average.
Medical scientists in Texas, Iowa, and Alabama, on the other hand, earned average annual wages that were in the $65,000-$70,000 range.
Lower annual salaries were reported by medical scientists in Mississippi, where the average annual wage for this profession was $48,220.
The top-paying metropolitan area for this occupation was New Haven, Connecticut- a region where medical scientists were reportedly paid with $136,130 per year, on average.
Bonuses, Profit Sharing, and Additional Benefits
Some medical scientists also earn bonuses and a share of the company’s profit in addition to their base salary.
According to a report published by payscale.com in May 2020, medical scientists earned $10,174 per year on average in bonuses and $1,150 on average in profit sharing.
These numbers also vary depending on experience, expertise, and a variety of other factors and as a medical scientist, you can make anywhere between $50 and $35,000 a year in bonuses.
The same report shows that 77 percent of medical scientists received medical benefits and 62 percent of them had dental benefits.
* Based on information from the May 2019 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Medical Scientists. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.