Forensic Scientist Salary

Forensic Scientists in the United States can expect to earn an average of $51K per year. Geographic location and years of experience each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Medical benefits are awarded to almost all, and a majority earn dental coverage. There are more female Forensic Scientists who answered the questionnaire than male, making up 63 percent. The majority of Forensic Scientists claim high levels of job satisfaction. The figures in this overview were provided by individuals who took PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$36,084 - $87,316
(Median)
$36K
$51K
$87K
MEDIAN: $51,205
10%
50%
90%

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$16.00 - $34.56
(Median)
$16
$23
$35
MEDIAN: $23.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$30K$60K$90K
Salary
$36,084 - $87,316  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $23,977  
Profit Sharing
$1,474  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$36,457 - $84,807  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 214
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$21$42$63
Hourly Rate
$16.00 - $34.56  
   
Overtime
$14.64 - $60.30  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $23,977  
   
Profit Sharing
$1,474  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$36,457 - $84,807  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 74
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Job Description for Forensic Scientist

Forensic scientists use the scientific method to gather and analyze material to be used as evidence by law enforcement and in court proceedings. Forensic scientists work both in the field, where they are trained to recover potential evidence, and in the forensic laboratory, where they examine that evidence and make determinations regarding its provenance. They must always engage in research to stay up-to-date with advances in the field to produce written analyses of their findings, sometimes called Certificates of Analyses, and may be called on to testify as expert witnesses in a court of law; many also train law enforcement personnel regarding forensic evidence at crime scenes. Forensic scientists typically work for state and local governments, but may work at the federal level or for private providers of forensic services.

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Forensic Scientist Tasks

  • Prepare laboratory reports and may testify in court.
  • Collect, store, protect, and analyze physical evidence from crime scenes to aid investigation.

Forensic Scientist Job Listings

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Forensic Scientists who responded to the survey report just a handful of professional skills. DNA and Forensics are considered valuable skills and can increase employee pay.

Pay by Experience Level for Forensic Scientist

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Forensic Scientists generally obtain higher compensation for more plentiful past experience. Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $48K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $57K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $66K. Forensic Scientists who surpass 20 years on the job report pay that isn't as high as one would expect; the median compensation for this crowd sits around $74K.

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Experience Affects Forensic Scientist Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 44%

Experienced
up arrow 28%

Mid-Career
up arrow 10%

National Average
$51,000

Entry-Level
up arrow 6%

Skills That Affect Forensic Scientist Salaries

DNA
up arrow 1%

Forensics
0%

National Average
$51,000

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 34 votes.

Gender

Female
63 %
Male
37 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
15%
1-4 years
44%
5-9 years
19%
10-19 years
15%
20 years or more
7%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 95%
dental benefits
Dental: 70%
medical benefits
Vision: 59%
dental benefits
None: 4%
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