An exobiologist, also known as an astrobiologist, searches for life beyond the Earth and studies the effects of extraterrestrial conditions on organisms. Exobiology is a multidisciplinary field that requires a background in chemistry, according to exobiologist Dr. Stanley L. Miller. Exobiologists typically earn the same salary as the other scientists employed by the hiring organization, usually a university.
Exobiology is still a new science so exobiologists come from other fields, especially chemistry. Exobiologists are typically teachers and scientists, so an advanced degree is an essential requirement for career advancement. The university pays exobiologists the same salaries as other scientists at their career level, generally between $50,000 and $100,000 per year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides salary estimates for chemists throughout the nation as of 2010. The average annual wage for chemists was $73,240 per year, equal to an average annual wage of $35.21 per hour. The lowest 10 percent of chemists earned $39,250 per year on average, and the lowest fourth earned an average of $50,010 per year. The upper fourth of chemists had annual salaries averaging $92,360, and the top 10 percent of chemists earned an average salary of $116,130.
The highest level of employment for chemists was in the scientific research industry, where chemists earned an average annual salary of $81,490. The pharmaceutical industry was the next-highest employer of chemists with average salaries of $72,140 per year. Architectural and engineering industries paid its chemists an average annual salary of $60,010 and the federal government paid chemists average salaries of $104,210 per year. Chemists in chemical manufacturing earned an average annual salary of $72,760 per year.
California was the state with the highest employment of chemists, who earned salaries averaging $81,240 per year. New Jersey was the next-highest employer of chemists, with salaries averaging $76,190 per year. Texas chemists earned an average of $72,530 per year and Pennsylvania chemists earned an average salary of $68,940 per year. Chemists in New York earned an average annual salary of $74,430 per year.