How Much Do Paleontologists Make? In 2024

Paleontology may be a good fit for you if you feel you need to know where you’ve been in order to understand where you’re going, and you might wonder how much does a paleontologist make if you want to be one.

Paleontologists examine fossils in order to piece together the story of life on earth. Determining how climatic shifts thousands of years ago influenced life may, for example, aid in predicting what a similar event would imply in the future.

Although most colleges do not offer paleontology studies at the undergraduate level, degrees in biology or geology are sometimes sufficient.

Paleontology master’s and doctoral degrees can help you advance.


GuideHow Much Do Paleontologists Make?
Average Income$91,130 annually
Highest Income$400,000-$450,000 annually
Education QualificationMaster’s Degree is minimum

Who Are Paleontologists?

Paleontologists are scientists who find and examine fossils and other critical historical material to learn about the earth’s history and how evolution has influenced life.

They are scientists who study fossils and other relics of the past to gain a better understanding of the earth’s history and life on it.

These are highly educated scientists who work in a variety of fields within paleontology. Paleontologists must complete intensive training in addition to a Ph.D. degree.

Paleontologists could find and preserve new animal and plant remnants that the world has never seen before or gain more information while discovering other fossils that are already known.

They also fossilize bones and other data in order to deeply understand and come to a conclusion about the development of life and the history of our planet.

They frequently spend their time at work locations, where they do fieldwork to find fossils or collect samples for laboratory analysis.


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How Much Do Paleontologists Make?

The average wage for geoscientists, which includes paleontologists, is $91,130 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The income 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 also gets 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 wage, while paleontologists who lecture at universities earn the lowest.

How Much Do Paleontologists Make An Hour?

Paleontologists makes minimum of $23.34 per hour and maximum $55 per hour on average.

How Much Do Paleontologists Make A Month?

Paleontologists makes a minimim of $6000 per month & maximum of $9000 per month.

How Much Do Paleontologists Make A Year?

The minimum salary of a Paleontologist at the entry level is $72k and the most senior Paleontologists make $108K in a year.


Highest Salary Of Paleontologists In 2024

As a paleontologist, your salary could go really high with experience, where you are working, and which part of the sector you are employed in.

If you are a professor, you might get something lower than a paleontologist working in the historical areas around the world.

It all depends on where you work and how many years of experience you have.

However, the average top salary for paleontologists is around $400,000-$450,000 annually. This is a tremendous increase from the average wage.

Is Being A Paleontologist Good Or Bad?

Paleontologist jobs entail studying animal and plant fossils from various periods of the earth’s history.

There are numerous things to consider as a paleontologist, despite the fact that vocations differ greatly.

You need to go into dirt, mud, travel a lot, and many other things, depending on where you work. It could be a hard job with a lot of undetermined things left sitting on your desk.

If you are curious, interested in history, and like to research a lot, this career path could be good for you because the pay is also good enough to spend your full week.

However, if history does not attract you and you do not enjoy it, being a paleontologist will probably be a boring and bad thing for you.

How To Become A Paleontologist?

The need for certain qualifications like education might depend on your employer or the place you will be working at. To get a job as a professor, you’ll need a doctorate.

Here’s how you can become a Paleontologist:

  • Get a good hold on maths & science subjects when in school.
  • Doing an internship during the summer term can be really helpful.
  • Choose a good college & get a degree in geology or biology, or both. Also, you should study chemistry, maths & physics for at least a year during your college.
  • Attend a course in Paleontology after graduation.
  • If you want to become a professor, then doing a master’s degree followed by a doctorate degree should be your course of action.

A master’s degree may be sufficient for employment in business, government, or museums—paleontologists in industry study subjects that are useful to their employers, like oil companies.

Paleontologists can work for government bodies for geological mapping and other tasks. Paleontologists can also work as research scientists and lecturers in museums.


How Many Hours Does a Paleontologist Work?

Most Paleontologists do not have a regular work schedule as they need to give a lot of time on research and visiting sites.

However, some Paleontologists who have a fixed number of hours can work for 8-10 hours a day & 40 hours a week on average.

What Is The Starting Pay Of A Paleontologist?

Paleontology offers good amount of money. If you are just starting out, then, at the entry level you can earn a minimum of $72,000 a year and with experience you can earn as high as $108,000 a year.

Pros & Cons of Being a Paleontologist


  • Get to work outside of labs
  • Experience new things every day
  • Get to explore history & science
  • Liberty to choose what you work on


  • Dependency on government funds
  • Expensive course
  • Money is limited


Paleontologist Training Programs

For paleontological jobs, especially in academia, a Ph.D. is frequently required. Paleontologist training programs are masters and Ph.D. Paleontologists should have a strong background in biology and geology.

The finest educational choice is a double major with thorough training in both. Chemistry, physics, mathematics, statistics, and computer science are all essential subjects.

Mineralogy, stratigraphy, sedimentary petrology, vertebrate and invertebrate paleontology, ecology, evolutionary biology, and genetics are all common topics in undergraduate geology lectures.

Experiential learning in the field and the lab are also essential. For assessing worksites and uncovering their discoveries, paleontologists will need to be familiar with professional standards and procedures.

Join a mineral or fossil group at your institution or look for volunteer opportunities at neighboring museums.

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As you can see, being a paleontologist is not easy, both during the studying period and after the study period.

It takes years to study and understand the profession, and then you have to spend hours on research and other related stuff after you start working.

However, the pay is way above the national average of wages for all professions in the United States, which compensates this hard profession if you like what you are doing.

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How much does a paleontologist make as a professor?

Professors generally make lower than the general population of paleontologists, sometimes earning even lower than the average salary.

How much does a paleontologist make in the early years of their career?

When you first start to work, depending on your area of work, you will get something low.

However, if you are working in an area where the pay is incredibly high, your pay could still well be above average.

How much does a paleontologist make after decades of experience?

Once you have decades of experience in the field and have made a name for yourself eventually, your pay will increase significantly, and if you are working in an area where salaries are incredibly higher than other work areas, you will earn in six digits annually.

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