Research associates are professionals who conduct experiments and studies to answer questions, prove theories or clarify things that are not understood. Associates work in a variety of industries and organizations and come from a number of educational backgrounds. A research associate often begins his career as a research assistant and then gets promoted after he gains more experience. According to Payscale.com, the average salary of a research associate depends largely upon how many years of experience she has in the field and the type of employer for which she works.
A research associate's salary depends largely upon how much work experience she has in the field. In August 2009, associates with less than one year of experience earned a median salary between $31,293 and $45,393, according to Payscale, while those with one to four years of work experience earned a salary of between $34,426 and $50,198. The median salary range for five to nine years of experience was between $38,418 and $58,692. From years 10 to 19, associates earned salaries of between $41,236 and $65,226. A research associate with 20 years or more of experience can earn as much as $102,884.
The type of employer a research associate works for also affects her salary range. Private practices and firms have the highest median salaries with a maximum of $67,249, but at $40,000, publicly traded companies paid higher starting salaries. Some of the lowest-paying employers of research associates were school districts, with a median salary range of $30,897 to $52,900, and foundations and trusts with a salary range of $34,590 to $48,053.
As of August 2009, industry also influenced the salary range of research associates. Contracted research organizations were the highest-paying areas for associates, with median salaries of between $40,173 and $63,524. Colleges and universities paid between $31,575 and $50,921, while public health companies paid between $33,651 to $53,074. Associates working in biotechnology made between $34,492 and $48,391.
The area where a research associate works also affects his salary range. The highest-paying state for associates as of August 2009 was New York, with median salaries of between $39,273 and $62,249. Other high-paying states for research associates were California at between $36,302 and $56,052, Pennsylvania at $30,057 to $58,932, and Maryland at $37,184 to $55,897.
The education level of research associates also affects average salary range. The highest-paid associates held doctoral degrees, earning between $43,355 and $79,000 as of August 2009, while those with masters of science degrees earned between $34,807 and $57,754. Associates who held bachelors of science degrees were the lowest paid, at between $31,029 and $42,438.
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