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Forensic Scientist Salary

Forensic Scientists in the United States can expect to earn an average of $50K annually. Career duration is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. Women make up a slight majority of Forensic Scientists (58 percent) survey respondents. Medical benefits are awarded to nearly all, and a majority earn dental coverage. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.
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$36,030 - $86,227
(Median)
$36K
$50K
$86K
MEDIAN: $50,060
10%
50%
90%

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$17.44 - $33.73
(Median)
$17
$23
$34
MEDIAN: $22.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$29K$58K$87K
Salary
$36,030 - $86,227  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $23,004  
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).
)
$36,906 - $83,264  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 175
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$21$42$63
Hourly Rate
$17.44 - $33.73  
   
Overtime
$16.50 - $60.40  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $23,004  
   
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).
)
$36,906 - $83,264  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 66

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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

  • 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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Just a handful of professional skills are reported by Forensic Scientists who took the survey. 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. Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience have a median salary of $47K. Those who have been around for five to 10 years can expect to take home more — $55K on average. Forensic Scientists see a median salary of $69K after reaching one to two decades on the job. Folks who have racked up more than 20 years in the field report incomes that aren't that much higher than less experienced individuals' earnings; the veterans make just $74K on average.

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Experience Affects Forensic Scientist Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 47%

Experienced
up arrow 37%

Mid-Career
up arrow 10%

National Average
$50,000

Entry-Level
up arrow 6%

Skills That Affect Forensic Scientist Salaries

DNA
up arrow 4%

Forensics
up arrow 2%

National Average
$50,000

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 36 votes.

Gender

Female
58 %
Male
42 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
16%
1-4 years
47%
5-9 years
18%
10-19 years
15%
20 years or more
4%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 93% dental benefits Dental: 70%
vision benefits Vision: 56% employee benefits None: 7%
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