Forensic Science Salary

Forensic scientists can work just about anywhere in the world, so it is hard to get an accurate estimate of what you may earn as one. Your forensic science salary may be entirely different than someone else who works in the same building, so you never really know what you are going to make until you actually get involved with this career. With that in mind, there are some average numbers that you can look to if you want to see an approximate minimum and maximum that you may make in the future. The data points below highlight the average forensic scientist salary levels you may earn if you pursue a career in this field.

Average Forensic Science Salary

Forensic Science Technician’s salary depends on their education, their experience, their geographic location, private sector or government employee, and their reputation within the industry. As such, like with any other industry, the pay scale a forensic scientist will earn will range in accordance with their skills and experience. If you are going to get involved with this career path, you could earn a salary that fits into the range below:

  • Lowest 10% made less than $32,900
  • Median Wage was $51,570 (May 2010)1, $55,660 (May 2011)2
  • Top 10% earned more than $82,990

As specified, the salary information doesn’t include an exact salary for those who fall within the lowest tier range and the upper tier range. Thus, depending on your ability to market yourself within this chosen field you could make less than $32,900 per year, or you could earn above 82,990 per year. This creates an excellent opportunity for a forensic science technician to earn a better salary as they mature in their professional work experience.

Forensic Science Salary by Industry
You may find employment in many different industries while working as a forensic scientist. Some of those industries include3:

  • Local Government: Median Income: $54,990
  • State Government: Median Income: $54,550
  • Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals: Median Income: $67,310
  • Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation): Median Income: $95,240
  • Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services: Median Income: $62,710

Forensic Science Salary by Degree
Theoretically, a higher college education should provide you with a higher forensic science salary. Research suggests that this may not be the case though, at least not at this time. Here are some of the most common forensic science degrees in the country, along with the money people make with those degrees after graduation:
Salary by Similar Job Occupations4

  • Biochemists and Biophysicists: Median Income: $79,390
  • Chemists and Materials Scientists: Median Income: $69,790
  • Medical Scientists: Median Income: $76,700
  • Police and Detectives: Median Income: $55,010
  • Private Detectives and Investigators: Median Income: $42,870

Forensic Science Salary by Location
Some areas of the country have better paying work for forensic scientists than others. Here are some fo the top paying states for forensic scientists in the country3:

  • (1) Washington, D.C.: Annual Mean Wage – $74,050
  • (2) Illinois: $44,020 – $102,280
  • (3) Washington: $36,280 – $72,100
  • (4) California: $42,530 – $104,930
  • (5) Virginia: $37,320 – $103,870
  • (6) Conneticut: $47,930 – $87,080
  • (6) Conneticut: $38,220 – $76,800

Forensic Science Technician Salary by Top Metropolitan Areas3
In our previous section, we provided statistics regarding the salary of employees in this field per top paying states, now we will provide the annual mean wage of salaries within some of the top cities (more options for higher paying salaries in CA):

  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Division: $79,930
  • Springfield, IL: 76,540
  • Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA Division: 76,060
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: $75,390
  • Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL Division: $72,080
  • San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA: $65,680

The information above provides any person desiring to be a Forensic Science Technician with enough information to potentially know what they will earn in this career. If you should decide to pursue this career, then take the opportunity to learn more, and potentially locate, research, what schools will offer you the best educational experience to help you obtain your vocational goals.
See Recommended School >

References

  1. United States Department of Labor, “Citing Websites.” Forensic Science Technicians. Reviewed January 29th, 2013. U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/forensic-science-technicians.htm#tab-5
  2. United States Department of Labor, “Citing Websites.” May 2011 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates United States . Reviewed February 1, 2013. U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
  3. United States Department of Labor, “Citing Websites.” Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2011 . Reviewed February 1, 2013. U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes194092.htm
  4. United States Department of Labor, “Citing Websites.” Forensic Science Technicians. Reviewed January 29th, 2013. U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/forensic-science-technicians.htm#tab-7