Forensic Scientist Salary

An average Forensic Scientist in the United States can expect to take home roughly $51K annually. Geography is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by experience level. Medical benefits are awarded to most, and the larger part earn dental coverage. There are more female Forensic Scientists who answered the questionnaire than male, making up 62 percent. The majority of individuals in this role claim moderate levels of job satisfaction. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for this report.
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$35,970 - $86,473
$36K
$51K
$86K
MEDIAN: $51,025
10%
50%
90%

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$15.66 - $35.95
$16
$23
$36
MEDIAN: $23.47
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$29K$58K$87K
Salary
$35,970 - $86,473  
   
Bonus
$511 - $50,335  
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).
)
$35,989 - $86,614  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 176
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
$15.66 - $35.95  
   
Overtime
$10.32 - $60.29  
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
$511 - $50,335  
   
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).
)
$35,989 - $86,614  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 59

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United States (change)

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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

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

Forensic Scientist Job Listings

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Pay by Experience Level for Forensic Scientist

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


For Forensic Scientists, more experience in the field does not usually mean bigger paychecks. Respondents with less than five years' experience take home $48K on average. In contrast, those who have been around for five to 10 years earn a noticeably higher average of $59K. For Forensic Scientists, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $67K. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $71K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Forensic Scientist

Gender

Female
62 %
Male
38 %

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 21 votes.
Less than 1 year
18%
1-4 years
39%
5-9 years
23%
10-19 years
13%
20 years or more
7%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Forensic Scientist Salaries

Late-Career
▲40%

Experienced
▲32%

Mid-Career
▲16%

National Average
$51,000

Entry-Level
▼6%

Skills That Affect Forensic Scientist Salaries

Molecular Biology
▲1%

National Average
$51,000

DNA
▼8%

Forensics
▼11%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 21 votes.

Gender

Female
62 %
Male
38 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
18%
1-4 years
39%
5-9 years
23%
10-19 years
13%
20 years or more
7%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 87%
dental benefits
Dental: 67%
vision benefits
Vision: 60%
dental benefits
None: 12%
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