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Top 10 States With the Highest-Paying Research Assistants

9/16/2013 1:38:02 PM

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September 19, 2013

Interested in being a research assistant? Here are the top 10 states that pay the most.


If you like finding out how things work and comparing it to how similar items function, then employment in the field of research might be right for you. In medicine and science, there are many different fields of research and the most common of them are life science research and social science research. A research assistant’s salary differs depending on what field they’re assisting in and what location they’re working from. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, life science researchers normally make a median wage of $35.68 per hour and $74,220 per year. However, a social science researcher rakes in nearly $43,000 per year.

What is a Research Assistant?

A research assistant is just that; anyone who assists with research in a particular field. In medicine, research assistants often collect information about diseases and medication and enter this information into a database for analysis. Research assistants mainly write reports, organize lab and office materials and perform various administrative tasks. For the most part, a research assistant performs in-depth research each day to solve some of the toughest situations that arise in science and medicine today. They are an integral part of any medical and science team.

Where is it Most Lucrative to Become a Research Assistant?

According to Glass Door, life science research assistants can earn anywhere from $41,000 to $71,000 per year with a current median wage of $49,377 per year. However, the average wage increases from $49,377 to $64,818 for medical school graduates. This doesn’t mean you have to have a PhD to earn top dollar, but it certainly helps to attend a medical university with a concentration in research or sciences. With that being said, this salary still differs depending on what state.

The following are the top 10 states with the highest average salaries for research assistants:
    1. Washington - $108,720
    2. Maryland - $93,620
    3. Arizona - $78,940
    4. Minnesota - $77,420
    5. California - $76,220
    6. Illinois - $75,560
    7. North Carolina - $64,120
    8. Alaska - $58,720
    9. Rhode Island - $55,310
    10. New York - $40,000
As you can see from the above references, it is better to work on the coast if you’re after a high paying position as a research assistant. Washington, Maryland and even California all have different pay scales for research assistants depending on the city you work in, the credentials you have and the facility you apply to work at.

It is important to remember that your wages may differ tremendously depending on your level of education and your experience in years. Research assistants with a degree from a research college or university generally make more and have more opportunities for advancement than those with hands-on only experience. A relevant degree is necessary to be a top earner in the state you plan to work in.

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