So, everyone says physicists are usually poor (unless they are incredibly brilliant or lucky). Yet: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes192012.htm Those numbers seem incredibly high. I understand they include medical physicists in there (I think?), but for a mean value that includes the lower-income types of physicists, that does not seem "poor" at all. Compare to mechanical engineers (who are, according to hype, supposed to be living richer): http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes172141.htm Can someone explain to me why the salaries in the first link are so high? Does the average physicist really make that much money without finding some groundbreaking discovery? I'd really like to go into physics as a career, but, at this point, not enough to sacrifice the supposed higher-living style of an engineer. And please don't turn this thread into a "Do what you love" discussion. I've heard it enough.