Top 10 Highest Paying Science Jobs 2024 (Inc Salaries)

February 11, 2024 · 12 min read

Discover the top 10 highest paying science jobs for 2024, including salaries and career opportunities in research and the best science jobs.

Science is everywhere, literally. So, it makes sense that for centuries now, science jobs have stayed and will continue to be sought after.

Are you curious about weather and climate, love discovering the mysteries of the universe, and excited to explore anything under the sun? If so, definitely consider pursuing a science career!

Aside from potentially finding a cure for various diseases, learning to apply scientific knowledge in solving modern problems, and saving the environment from further devastation, careers in science can also be financially rewarding.

But of course, the best science jobs that pay well will require specific credentials and skills. Check out this list of the highest-paying science jobs in 2024, including their job descriptions, requirements, and expected salaries.

Top 10 Highest Paying Science Jobs 2024 (Inc Salaries)

1. Physicist and Astronomer

Concerned with space, time, matter and energy, physicists and astronomers have some of the highest-paying careers in science.

These scientists study and develop scientific models and theories to gain insights into the hows and whys of the natural world.

They work with mathematical calculations, experiments, and data about various forces, stars and planets, up to the tiniest subatomic particles.

They are also experts in operating some of the most innovative science equipment including lasers, electron microscopes, particle accelerators, and high-tech telescopes.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

A Ph.D. in physics, astronomy, or a related field is typically required to become a physicist or astronomer in academia and research.

If you'd rather work under federal government agencies, a bachelor's or master's degree in physical science, engineering, or astronomy may suffice.

Either way, relevant internships in specific fields like thermodynamics, electromagnetism, or quantum mechanics are advantageous.

Holders of physics and astronomy Ph. D.'s who aspire to be researchers could start in postdoctoral research positions in industry or university laboratories for at least 2 to 3 years.

Lastly, you need to have experience in complex tasks, such as the supervision of graduate students and other researchers, to become a senior Physicist or Astronomer

Job Outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), on the other hand, projects a 5% employment growth for physicists and astronomers from 2022 to 2032, with about 1,500 job openings each year.

Potential Earnings

As per the data from Glassdoor, the median salaries for physicists and astronomers are $133,374 and $91,132, respectively.

2. Artificial Intelligence Research Scientist

The rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in recent years has been remarkable, so it’s not surprising that an artificial intelligence research scientist is currently among the highest-paying science jobs.

An AI research scientist specializes in computer programming, computer vision, language processing, machine learning, and other AI technologies.

They research emerging issues and innovations and then incorporate their findings into AI applications. Additionally, they are also experts in computer software, statistics, mathematics, and programming.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

To become an AI research scientist, you need a bachelor's degree in Computer Information science, which is the foundation of AI, or a similar field.

Then, after mastering the basics of algorithms and programming, you’ll need fluency in robotics, machine learning, software development, data science, etc. You could also pursue a master’s degree in mathematics, data analytics, and the like.

After gaining higher education and technological skills, you are ready to apply for a position in the AI research and engineering industry.

Job Outlook

The BLS classifies these high-paying jobs under computer and information research scientists, the employment for which is projected to grow by 23% until 2032.

Potential Earnings

AI research scientists earn an average salary of $130,946 yearly.

3. Data Scientist

Data scientists focus on data gathering, analysis, and validation.

They utilize analytical techniques and tools to make something out of huge amounts of data. Additionally, they summarize and present their findings using computational science and data visualization software.

Their ability to determine which type and sources of data are beneficial for their various projects and applications are valuable in different science fields, including political science and forensic science.

In some cases, data scientists even recommend business ventures or guide the decision-making of organizations and companies.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

To become a data scientist, you need to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science, statistics, mathematics, business administration, software engineering, or a related field. Some employers may require a master’s or doctoral degree as well.

Having other industry-related education and experience are also a plus. For instance, you may benefit from education or experience in finance or business when seeking a position as a data scientist in an asset management company.

In this case, consider enrolling in an online BBA or online MBA program.

Job Outlook

This job is also projected to have a faster-than-average employment growth of 35% from 2022 to 2032, with 17,700 expected job openings every year.

Potential Earnings

The average yearly salary for data scientists is around $129,597.

4. Pharmacist

Pharmacists do so much more than dispense the correct prescription medications to patients. They also educate patients about proper drug use and storage as well as contraindications and side effects.

These drug experts also work alongside doctors and other medical professionals in selecting medicines, calculating dosages, and formulating drug combinations to treat diseases and health issues.

Lastly, they check and maintain patients’ medical histories, allergy information, and current drugs they are taking to avoid any negative reactions.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

To get a high-paying pharmacist job, you typically need a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm.D.) from an accredited pharmacy program.

To be admitted to a Pharm. D. program, you first need to gain a prerequisite undergraduate degree in physics, statistics, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, biology, or a health-related field.

State licensure is also recommended, but this requirement vary widely from state to state.

For the business aspect, this role may also benefit from an online BBA or MBA degree.

Job Outlook

BLS projects pharmacy employment to increase by 3% from 2022-2032, with about 13,400 openings yearly.

Potential Earnings

A registered pharmacist earns an average median salary of about $123,361 per year.

5. Research Scientist

Research scientists conduct scientific investigations and experiments in a wide range of fields.

They are experts in reading and reviewing scientific literature, a skill they use to identify gaps in the science industry and seek to fill them.

They plan, conduct, and report experiments while also developing and performing laboratory techniques.

Other duties include writing papers for grants, publishing experiment results and findings, and updating existing literature with current ones.

The most high-paying research scientist jobs you can get include being a/an:

  • animal scientist

  • meteorologist

  • epidemiologist

  • marine biologist

  • atmospheric scientist

  • neuroscientist

  • geoscientist

  • environmental scientist

  • biologist

  • chemist

  • microbiologist

Educational Requirements and Credentials

Research scientist jobs require a bachelor’s in a science degree such as biology, chemistry, environmental science, or microbiology. Typically, a postgraduate qualification such as a research-based Master of Science or Ph.D. is needed for permanent positions.

Practical research, postdoctoral research, laboratory work experience, and publications are also expected for academic positions.

Job Outlook

The projected growth rate for research scientists vary depending on the industry. The good news is most of them can expect an increase in job openings in the next few years.

Potential Earnings

Research scientists make an average annual salary of $116,338.

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6. Medical Scientist

Like other scientific careers, medical scientists spend much of their time experimenting in labs or writing about their findings.

The goal of medical research is to improve human health and medicine through different types of science investigative techniques and clinical trials.

They do this by researching the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases. They also standardize the administration, potency, and dosage of drugs. They even design, produce, and test medical devices and tools.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

Medical scientists usually have a Ph.D. in life science or related fields. Alternatively, they could have a medical degree or advanced degree in nursing instead of or in addition to a Ph.D..

Some positions accept a master's in a science degree with sufficient relevant experience, including experiment development and laboratory work. Some programs also offer dual degrees that combine a medical degree with a Ph.D. and provide both clinical and research skill training.

Medical practitioners involved in patient care need licensure, while residencies or postdoctoral research positions are other training grounds for medical scientists.

Job Outlook

BLS projects a 10% employment growth for this job between 2022 and 2032. This means that there will be about 7,500 job openings each year.

Potential Earnings

Medical scientists earn a median salary of $108,161.

7. Geneticist

A geneticist studies genes, specifically how genes change, interact, replicate, and are passed on.

Geneticists conduct laboratory tests, review the results, and apply their findings in multiple ways.

They interpret, collect and analyze data that are useful in detecting and treating genetic disorders and diseases.

They use advanced technological equipment and software to process vast amounts of genetic data used for gene manipulation and gene therapy.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

To become a geneticist, you can choose from two career paths: medicine and research. Depending on the path you choose, you’ll need either a medical degree, a Ph.D., or both. You can land an entry-level job with at least a Master’s degree in genomics, molecular genetics, or molecular biology in addition to two years or more of clinical laboratory experience.

But for higher roles, you need to gain specialized genetic training through research-based or medically inclined postdoctoral study programs. They can also opt to be generalists or choose to specialize in areas of genetics.

Job Outlook

Geneticist may fall under the category of Genetic counselors which BLS projects to grow by 16% come 2032.

Potential Earnings

Geneticists can earn an average salary of $98,388 every year.

8. Biomedical Engineer

Biomedical engineers combine medical science and engineering principles to design and create software, computer systems, diagnostic tools, devices, and equipment.

Some of the devices or equipment that biomedical engineers produce are body part replacements, artificial organs, and machines used to diagnose or detect diseases and medical issues.

Biomedical engineers also provide technical support and training for the use, maintenance, and installation of equipment.

Another responsibility they have is conducting feasibility studies and researching on the efficiency and safety of biomedical equipment.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

To become a biomedical engineer, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree in bioengineering, biomedical engineering, or a similar science degree. However, some employers may require either a master's or doctorate degree.

You can also get into this industry with an electrical or mechanical engineering degree. However, you may need to take postgraduate biological science courses. Important subjects include circuit design, solid and fluid mechanics, biomaterials, and engineering design.

Internships as science technicians or engineers in hospitals or medical device manufacturing companies are also beneficial.

Job Outlook

Employment in this position is projected to grow 5% from 2022 to 2032, with about 1,200 openings every year.

Potential Earnings

Biomedical engineers receive an average annual salary of $97,460.

9. Biochemist and Biophysicist

Biochemists and biophysicists study the chemical and physical properties of living organisms and biomolecules to develop a deeper understanding of life processes such as heredity, disease, growth, and development.

They use high-tech gadgets and advanced techniques to isolate, analyze, and synthesize molecules like proteins and DNA that are involved in biological processes.

They also responsible for conducting basic and applied research, write proposals, and publish their findings.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

A bachelor’s or master’s degree in biology, chemistry, physical science, engineering, or a similar field can qualify you for some entry-level science jobs in biochemistry and biophysics.

However, you will typically need a Ph.D. in biochemistry, biophysics, physical sciences, or engineering to hold independent research and development positions. Advanced coursework and laboratory experience in proteomics, bioinformatics, genetics, toxicology, and the like are also beneficial.

To become a permanent college or university faculty, you will need postdoctoral research experience and a good record of research publications.

Job Outlook

Employment is projected to grow 7% from 2022 to 2032, with an estimated 2,800 openings yearly.

Potential Earnings

Biochemists and biophysicists earn an average annual salary of $89,161 and $101,753, respectively.

10. Chemical Engineer

Chemical engineers work on producing a wide range of products by combining principles of physics, chemistry, and engineering. They design equipment, develop and review manufacturing processes, and optimize production costs for different industries ranging from food science to paper, transportation, and machinery.

They conduct research for the improvement and development of innovative materials, techniques, and equipment.

Lastly, they are also responsible for troubleshooting manufacturing processes and ensuring that they comply with environmental and safety regulations.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

To be a chemical engineer, you must earn a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering or similar field.

Getting practical industry experience through a cooperative education or an internship program is also highly recommended.

Most employers prefer graduates of Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)- accredited programs.

Licensure is not necessary but it’s highly recommended if you wish get supervisory or management positions.

Job Outlook

BLS projects the overall employment of Chemical engineers to grow by 8%.

Potential Earnings

According to data, a chemical engineer could earn an average salary of $88,517 per year.

FAQs

What is the highest paying science job in 2024?

The top-paying science job in 2024 is a physicist, with an average salary of $133,374 per year.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which science jobs are projected to have the highest growth in 2024?

As per BLS, the top three fastest-growing science jobs in America are Data Scientist, Artificial Intelligence Research Scientist, and Geneticist which are expected to have a growth rate of 35%, 23%, and 16% respectively.

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Is science a good career path?

Yes, a science profession can be ideal for people who are curious, innovative, and passionate about science. Not only does the science field provide a wide range of opportunities, but it also offers financially rewarding careers with competitive salary compensation.

What skills or expertise is required for high-paying science jobs?

To qualify and excel in the best science careers, you’ll need excellent analytical, communication, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills. They also require self-discipline and motivation.

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What qualifications are required for high paying science jobs?

Most high-paying science jobs require a master's degree, a Ph.D., or a medical degree. Specializations and licensure are not always necessary but beneficial. Relevant training, experience, or education in specific areas can also help you land one of the highest-paying science careers.

Why is it beneficial for scientists to gain a BBA/MBA degree?

A BBA or MBA degree can help scientists gain the knowledge and skills to manage funds and resources effectively. This can help them rise to managerial or supervisory positions with ease.

Conclusion

As the world continues to advance rapidly, the demand for the best jobs in science will undoubtedly rise as well.

But while a career in science is highly fulfilling with a good salary, it can also be very competitive and demanding.

Making sure you have something unique in your arsenal will give you an edge over other applicants. For example, a degree in business administration can help you gain the needed practical skills and mastery of administrative and leadership roles.

The good thing is you can get an online BBA, MBA or MS degree through an US-accredited Distance-learning Institute like Nexford.

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