Paleontologist Salary Information - Average, By State (2022)

What is the average paleontologist salary? A paleontologist is a scientist who examines the fossilized remnants of all types of creatures (plants, animals, fungus, bacteria, and other single-celled living things) in order to learn more about the evolution of organic life on Earth.

The nature of the job will vary depending on the extent of the study or findings, and it may need close collaboration with archeological teams.

paleontologist salary

What is a paleontologist?

A paleontologist is a scientist who examines fossils and other historical material to learn about the earth's history and how evolution has influenced life. These experts may discover and preserve animal and plant remnants, as well as fossilize bones and other data, in order to draw conclusions about the development of life and the history of our planet. They frequently spend their time at work locations, where they do fieldwork to discover fossils or collect samples for laboratory analysis.

A paleontologist's typical responsibilities include:

  • Find out where fossils can be found.
  • Make excavations to find fossils.
  • Collect data on fossils discovered during excavations and digs
  • Analyze discoveries using specialist computer programs.
  • Compare and contrast fresh and old data.
  • Perform different activities related to studying fossils and other relevant findings in a laboratory setting.
  • Determine the epoch in which fossils were created.
  • Inform colleagues and others in the scientific community about your results.
  • Examine fossilized specimens, fossilized micro-organisms, trace evolution of botanical or zoological family findings, and other clues to historical findings of past life.
  • Review natural resources in remote locations, plan scientific expeditions, and prepare projects on matrix rock formations for scientific study.
  • Look for petroleum bearing formations for oil.

Paleontology is divided into numerous disciplines, each of which can be pursued by a person.

Paleontology's most well-known fields of study include:

  • Taphonomy, the study of the formation and preservation of fossils.
  • Micropaleontology, the study of single-celled organisms' fossils.
  • Biostratigraphy, the study of how fossils are distributed vertically in rocks.
  • Paleontology of vertebrates is the study of fossils from animals with backbones.
  • Paleontology of invertebrates is the study of fossils from creatures without a backbone.
  • Paleobotany is the study of plant fossils.
  • Paleoecology is the study of prehistoric ecosystems and how they evolved.
  • Invertebrate paleontology, the study of fossils.

A paleontologist can work in a variety of settings. Colleges, universities, gas and mining firms, museums, and historical displays are among the most popular venues for these experts to operate. They may also travel across the nation or perhaps the globe in search of fossils to conserve and study.

Job outlook for paleontologists

Between now and 2028, employment of geoscientists, including paleontologists, is expected to rise by 6%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth rate is comparable to that of other jobs in the United States. The growing demand for environmental preservation and energy management in the United States may be contributing to the expansion of related employment.

The necessity for energy, as well as environmental protection, are driving anticipated demand.

Job satisfaction

A paleontologist will conduct research, document research findings, examine geological formations, identify geological formations, and present fieldwork projects for funding. Due to the nature of the work, the job satisfaction for this field is relatively high, according to labor data.

How to become a paleontologist

For any serious professional career in paleontology, especially as a researcher or lecturer, a doctorate degree or Ph.D is nearly usually required. It is necessary to have a solid educational foundation in the natural sciences, with a concentration on biology and geology. Having a major in one and a minor in the other is an excellent approach to obtain the essential background knowledge. Of course, having a double major is excellent. Statistical analysis and computer skills are also required, and these should be studied throughout the undergraduate years.

A bachelor's degree will take four years to finish, a master's degree will take two to three years, and a doctoral degree will take four to six years.

It is critical to contact with your instructors early on to see if they can guide you to volunteer or paid fieldwork and research opportunities, as this is a crucial part of paleontological training. It's also a fantastic method to connect with other experts in the industry.

Key skills of a paleontologist

Required skills of a paleontologist:

Verbal communication skills

To be successful in their field, paleontologists must have excellent written and spoken communication abilities. These experts are usually required to write down and share their study findings to others in their area. They may also be required to present their findings at conferences or other professional events.

Critical-thinking skills

Paleontologists frequently come upon ancient remains and fossils that must be studied and deciphered. Paleontologists must next synthesize their results and offer them to other experts in the area. This profession necessitates the ability to think critically about results as well as what they may signify.

Interpersonal skills

Paleontologists frequently collaborate with one another or with other experts in the area. As a paleontologist, having strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work effectively with others is frequently a necessary quality.

Where does a paleontologist work?

The majority of paleontologists work as professors in geology departments in colleges and universities. Some people find jobs at museums. Government geological surveys employ a small number of people to create geological maps and examine geological concerns. A select few assist oil corporations in their hunt for petroleum.

Paleontologists spend the most of their time at offices, where they lecture, write, or analyze their discoveries. Some researchers, on the other hand, work in laboratories. Paleontologists undertake fieldwork outside, where they must perform strenuous physical work in all types of weather.

How much do paleontologists make?

The average income for geoscientists, which includes paleontologists, is $91,130 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average salary of a paleontologist varies depending on a number of circumstances, including where they reside and the area in which they work.

A paleontologist's income is also influenced by the industry in which they work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, paleontologists who work in the coal and petroleum manufacturing industries earn the highest average pay, while paleontologists who lecture at universities earn the lowest.

paleontologist salary

Entry-level Paleontologists earn roughly $67,470 in average annual salary according to the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI).

All salary information

In the United States, a Paleontologist earns an average of $93,765 per year and $45 per hour. Paleontologists get an average salary of $66,104 to $116,279 per year. Paleontologists often have a Master's Degree as their greatest degree of schooling.

This pay survey data was obtained directly from employers and anonymous employees in the United States for this compensation study, using actual housing sales data.

Paleontologist salary by state

Salary information for a paleontologist, based on state, in the United States.

  • Alabama: $66,160 per year.
  • Alaska: $101,580 per year.
  • Arizona: $61,230 per year.
  • Arkansas: $57,410 per year.
  • California: $97,170 per year.
  • Colorado: $100,300 per year.
  • Connecticut: $67,850 per year.
  • Delaware: $73,380 per year.
  • Florida: $70,170 per year.
  • Georgia: $62,620 per year.
  • Hawaii: $90,910 per year.
  • Idaho: $68,880 per year.
  • Illinois: $85,550 per year.
  • Indiana: $59,290 per year.
  • Kansas: $71,090 per year.
  • Kentucky: $60,400 per year.
  • Louisiana: $90,420 per year.
  • Maine: $72,130 per year.
  • Maryland: $76,840 per year.
  • Massachusetts: $75,450 per year.
  • Michigan: $66,080 per year.
  • Minnesota: $77,440 per year.
  • Mississippi: $89,440 per year.
  • Missouri: $67,950 per year.
  • Montana: $72,410 per year.
  • Nebraska: $59,300 per year.
  • Nevada: $85,770 per year.
  • New Hampshire: $75,390 per year.
  • New Jersey: $78,300 per year.
  • New Mexico: $66,500 per year.
  • New York: $67,780 per year.
  • North Carolina: $65,190 per year.
  • NorthDakota: $74,740 per year.
  • Ohio: $71,440 per year.
  • Oklahoma: $118,110 per year.
  • Oregon: $62,540 per year.
  • Pennsylvania: $63,630 per year.
  • Puerto Rico: $51,860 per year.
  • Rhode Island: $64,610 per year.
  • South Carolina: $41,630 per year.
  • South Dakota: $54,870 per year.
  • Tennessee: $55,050 per year.
  • Texas: $139,870 per year.
  • Utah: $68,350 per year.
  • Vermont: $76,700 per year.
  • Virginia: $89,450 per year.
  • Washington: $79,110 per year.
  • West Virginia1: $49,900 per year.
  • Wisconsin: $73,630 per year.
  • Wyoming: $72,120 per year.

With a take-home pay of roughly $7,289/month, and the median 2BR apartment rental price of $2,506/mo, a Paleontologist would pay 34.38% of their monthly take-home salary towards rent. Average cost of living found from Numbeo Cost of Living Index.

Similar job titles

While most paleontologists are satisfied with their work, other job title opportunities in the scientific field include the following:

  • Geoscientist.
  • Research scientist.
  • Museum assistant.
  • Archaeologist.

paleontologist salary

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo,, SparkHire,,, FairyGodBoss,, St. Edwards University, NC State University,, Thrive Global,, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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