How Do Scientists Make Money? (Solved & Explained)

Becoming a Scientist is no easy task.

It will take many years of hard work and study to obtain an honours degree, usually first class or upper second, in a science subject related to your area of interest.

Most research scientists then go on to study for a postgraduate qualification like a PhD.

For those wanting to become a Scientist the most frequently asked questions is how much do Scientists make, and secondly how do they make money.

To help answer this keep reading below

So how do Scientists make money?

Scientists make money working for a university or a specialized research institution, and are funded through that.  Universities, receive money via public grants, private donations, and tuition costs.

The challenge for some Scientists is when the funding stops so does the work and their employment.

To maintain employment some Scientists have to spend time seeking grants for research programs or continue with existing research programs.

This can make being a Scientist stressful.

No one just comes up and hands you money, Scientist has to go out and seek funding for their experiments.

For other Scientists working for a Research institute or University, this is not an issue, where there is a steady amount of work equalling steady employment and income.

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I want to be a Scientist. What will my salary be?

Scientists earn between $60k to $130k per annum, depending on years of experience and field of expertise. Some top Scientists will earn more than this, between $200k t0 $500k but these are only a few.

Below are waged according to the US Bureau of Statistics for popular Scientific professions. And as you can see wages vary greatly depending on the occupation.

Demand for Scientists continues to grow steadily at around 5% growth per annum.

The wages below should only be used as a guide, as wages will vary between locations.

Occupation Wage Per Annum


Entry Level


Medical Scientist $91,510 Doctoral or professional degree
Agricultural and Food Scientists $68,830 Bachelor’s degree
Computer and Information Research Scientists $126,830 Master’s degree
Forensic Science Technicians $60,590 Bachelor’s degree
Chemists and Materials Scientists $80,680 Bachelor’s degree
Atmospheric Scientists, Including Meteorologists $99,740 Bachelor’s degree

Typically scientists working for companies earn a decent salary whereas those in academia tend to earn less, particularly early in their career

Scientists tend to be badly paid because they love their work and will accept lower salaries than they would get elsewhere.

Scientists typically work full time and keep regular hours in laboratories and offices.

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Can Scientists become Rich, Millionaires? (Explained)

Yes, some Scientists can become rich, and become millionaires. These Scientists are typically entrepreneurs or executives who have turned their work into a commercial success, unfortunately, these are few and far between.

Keeping in mind, that Scientists working in the corporate world have the same probability of being rich as the rest of the people.

Below are some examples of a scientist who became rich and famous

  • Steven Hawking developed a mathematical proof for black holes. He proved Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Through math and science, Stephen redefined the Big Bang theory. Also, Stephen Hawking proved the universe has no boundaries.
  • James Watson is an American molecular biologist, geneticist, and zoologist and has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Watson promoted research in molecular biology at Harvard University. He is the co-discoverer of the structure of genes structure with Francis Crick.
  • Rhonda Stryker is an orthopedic surgeon and a businesswoman. She has contributed to the creation of many of the medical instruments fulfilling the needs of her patients. She specializes in manufacturing replaceable joints.

Is it worth becoming a Scientist? (Explained & Solved)

Yes, it is worth becoming a Scientist if you enjoy intellectual challenges, interested in science or the natural world.

If you are the type of person who wants to make a difference in the world, making discoveries, then yes it is worth becoming a Scientist.

How exciting and rewarding would it be to change and save the lives of others by discovering innovations in agriculture out into the field in poorer parts of the world so that people have enough to eat?

In a world where climate change is disrupting people.

How great would it be to be at the forefront of discoveries of new energy sources that can reduce the damage caused by climate change?

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Final Thoughts

Are you interested in the world around you?  Do you want to make a difference in people’s lives?

Then a career in science might be right for you.

As with any career choice, you should analyze yourself and assess your strengths and weaknesses before choosing any career path. 

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