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Physics professor salary in academia and industry

  1. Feb 1, 2007 #1
    So I was looking through salary.com statistics and various news articles such as this one http://content.salary.monster.com/articles/salary/highestpay/ [Broken] and found that physicist salaries far surpass my expectations, since many people claim that physicists, and scientist in general, do not make much money. However, these stats claim otherwise. Look at the stats for a full professor of physics in southfield, MI on salary.com. Requires a PhD and 8-10 years experience.


    That base salary is incredible. The 75th percentile salary for a full professor is $191,506. This has to be wrong....that's amazing. With benefits added in that's well into the 230,000 range. These salaries must also factor in grant money earned by physicists, since they are usually able to keep a percentage of their grant funding. Still, that figure seems wrong.

    Look at the average physicist salary in general (not necessarily for physicists in academia...).

    Here's the radiation physicist salary...


    it says it may require an advanced degree and 5 years experience in the field.

    Here's a level V physicist salary....


    it says it requires a graduate degree and 8-10 years experience in the field.

    So are these numbers bogus, or they realistic? You get similarly shocking results if you enter, say, Ann Arbor's zip code (UM ann arbor).
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2007 #2
    I made a mistake in the title...I mean "physicist salary in academia and industry"
  4. Feb 1, 2007 #3
    lol, did you overlook the most important part....8-10 YEARS experience. Thats AFTER 4-6 years of work getting a PhD.

    It depends on your position. The dean of engineering here gets upwards of 230k a year. The associate professors only get like 90-100k.
  5. Feb 1, 2007 #4
    :rofl: gotta wonder where they pulled those stats from!

    Maybe if you included what professors can pull in from grants and add that to their salary you might get a figure of $190k +. That's just absurd, you don't earn that on salary alone. I know that professors at my university are only on about $110k and they've been teaching for 25+ years and hold Chairs for various research centres.

    Edit: Or maybe professors in the US just get paid more than the rest of the world?
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2007
  6. Feb 1, 2007 #5
    still.....that seems really high even for a full professor.

    look at the radiation physicist salary. It said it MAY require an advanced degree (not necessarily a PhD) and 5 years of experience in the rad physics field. so, 5 years of experience and 2 years of masters schooling is only 7 years. The average base salary is $147,529.

    And do professors really make that much money through grants??
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2007
  7. Feb 1, 2007 #6
    And I chuckled when I read that news article...the sentence "What Do All Those Filthy-Rich Physicists Actually Do?" makes me laugh....

    keep in mind those figures only count physicists working as professors or as industry physicists doing SCIENCE. They don't count financial analysts that are physicists by training or other higher paid positions. In the article the author claims the average salary would be higher if they were able to count the physicists in the finance field.
  8. Feb 1, 2007 #7
    Then again, I've heard there are many DOE physicists making ~200K/yr salaries, but they are also obligated to teach a university as part of their job description
  9. Feb 1, 2007 #8


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  10. Feb 1, 2007 #9
    A lot of professors do contracting work for industry. This can pay very well (over $100 hour). This probably inflates the figures a lot.
  11. Feb 1, 2007 #10
  12. Feb 2, 2007 #11


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    Another few years, then :cool:

    I may have to change my mind about ever wanting to work in the US :tongue:
  13. Feb 2, 2007 #12


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    In France, the salary of a university professor is 2500 Euro/month starting, and 5000 Euro/month end of career before taxes and social contributions. There are pure salaries, and can be augmented with various extra stuff.


    That's miles below the quoted figures here...
  14. Feb 2, 2007 #13


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    For comparison, in the UK, and starting lecturer (and experienced PostDoc) gets around 30000GBP. Then about 40k to 50k for a senior lecturer.

    I don't know how much a HoD gets, but it must be knocking on the 6 figure door.

    Blimey - 30k is already 59k USD :surprised
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