Median annual earnings of physicists were $87,450 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $66,590 and $109,420. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $49,450, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $132,780.
Median annual earnings of astronomers were $97,320 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $66,190 and $120,350, the lowest 10 percent less than $43,410, and the highest 10 percent more than $137,860.
According to a 2005 National Association of Colleges and Employers survey, the average annual starting salary offer to physics doctoral degree candidates was $56,070.
The American Institute of Physics reported a median annual salary of $104,000 in 2004 for its full-time members with Ph.D.ís (excluding those in postdoctoral positions); the median was $94,000 for those with masterís degrees and $72,000 for bachelorís degree holders. Those working in temporary postdoctoral positions earned significantly less.
The average annual salary for physicists employed by the Federal Government was $104,917 in 2005; for astronomy and space scientists, it was $110,195.