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Salary

Average Salary: $225,540

Expected Lifetime Earnings: $7,877,000


Immunologists can work in a variety of fields and, depending on their specialty, can go by a number of different titles. Despite all the titles, there are pretty much only two roads you can take in this career.

One option is to become a practicing physician, which means you'll need your M.D. Working as a pediatrician, general practitioner, or allergist is going to have you raking in somewhere between $160,000 and $220,000 per year (source). 

We left the range wide on purpose, because in addition to the usual factors of location and experience, your salary will depend on your particular specialty. But when the low end of the spectrum is still over 150 grand per year (that's really good), you won't have much to worry about.

 
You might trade the higher salary for the noticeable lack of screaming kids and fussy adults. (Source)

The other route is that of research, for which you'll need to push onward for your Ph.D. Down that road you'll play with microscopes, develop drugs, and study diseases, and do it all in a quiet and sterile environment. 

This is great if you want to help people, but you're not a "people person." If you choose to research, you'll still end up with a pretty sizeable paycheck, earning somewhere around $80,000 per year (source). That'll get you all the sweet lab coats and matching scrubs you could ever want.

The research role is clearly the slower path to the upper echelons of salaries, but after a few years, who knows? You might snag a gig with a private company that makes vaccines. If that happens, you can triple your salary overnight. Say goodbye to college loans and car payments.