The highest paying jobs in life sciences involve clinical research, bioinformatics, or bioengineering, according to an earnings survey by The Scientist and Abbott, Langer & Associates Inc. The median salaries plus cash compensation for jobs in these disciplines, from $75,000 to $77,000, are 36-40 percent higher than the $55,000 median pay for the 7,902 life scientists who provided usable responses. Salaries for doctorate bioinformaticians who also hold medical degrees prove to be even higher; the median for those researchers--the majority of whom work in pharmaceutical company labs--is $95,000.

The salaries in these specialized fields suggest that life science researchers can boost their pay by acquiring clinical, engineering, and computer skills. These earning trends also reflect a theme supported by other survey data: Supply and demand rule the labor market. The need for bioinformaticians, bioengineers, and clinical researchers outpaces the supply.

"There's been some concern in the country for the last...

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