Forensic scientists have been portrayed in tens of TV shows and movies over the past years, and while the job of these professionals in the movies seems very catchy and entertaining, in the real life it often happens to be a lot more demanding and tiresome. However, one thing is for sure: both in television and in real life forensic scientists deal with collecting the evidence, analyzing the patients and solving murder mysteries that would eventually bring the murderers to justice. The median yearly wage of a forensic scientist in the United States of America is of $55,000 a year, although in some cases they can make as much as $85,000 a year depending on their employer.
Pay Scale In Different Parts Of The United States of America
The salary of a forensic scientist varies greatly across the United States of America, as these professionals get a median yearly salary of around $57,000 a year in the state of Arizona, while the District of Columbia pays them with no less than $74,000 a year, which is almost $20,000 over the national average. Washington DC, on the other hand, pays its forensic scientists median wages of around $80,000 a year, while those from the states of Illinois should expect to get around $76,000 a year.
Forensic Scientist Job Description
Simply put, forensic scientists are skilled professionals who have the duty to provide impartial scientific evidence that will be used later on in court, in order to find the murderer. These professionals usually collect blood, tissue and hair samples from the crime scenes and in some cases, they also analyze the samples in the laboratory. This is a very detailed job where the scientist must have a great attention to detail.
A good forensic scientist must be well-trained in areas like drugs and toxicology, biology and chemistry, as all of them are closely related to forensics science. They will examine paint and chemicals, and they will also test various DNA samples found at the scene – not just blood and hair, but also clothing fibers.
It is also very important for every good forensic scientist to be familiar with different analysis techniques from genetic fingerprinting and infrared spectroscopy to mass spectrometry and even scanning electron microscopy. These professionals must attend and examine different crime scenes, they must collect trace evidence, review and supervise the work of the other forensic assistants and present their work in a written and oral form. The forensic scientists are only a small part of a bigger forensics team, and their duty is to coordinate with other outside agencies in order to find the truth.
How To Become A Forensic Scientist?
- Interested in enhancing your skills and knowledge in the criminal justice field? Learn more at GCU!
- GCU promotes interdisciplinary studies and research while developing valued skills in the justice workplace.
- Develop collaborative and analytical skills through a rigorous educational environment and Christian worldview.
- GCU's master's and bachelor's degrees prepare students to change lives, enhance communities and ensure the fair treatment of community members.
- Gain the analytical skills and legal expertise needed to evaluate individuals and take charge in a professional legal setting.
- M.S. in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies
The field of forensic science is very complex, and you can choose one of the many different positions within the industry: forensic IT specialist or accounting, forensic engineer, forensic psychologist, crime scene examiner or crime laboratory analyst are only a few of the most sought-after positions in the field.
The first step you need to take in order to become a forensic scientist is to get a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, and then to specialize in a training program that targets either criminal justice or police procedures. You will need to graduate with high marks from your Bachelor’s Degree training program and to get enough work experience in order to work in the field. Internships are a must, but they are often very difficult.
During the training program, you will learn more about toxicology, organ chemistry, human anatomy and such.
A certification also helps you a lot in your future career as a forensic scientist – make sure that it is provided by the American Academy of Forensic Scientists. Not only will it help you get a stable and well-paid job, but it will also add to your CV.
The certification for forensic scientists is provided by the ABC, or the American Board of Criminalistics. This is an institution that represents forensic scientists and this was the first certification body in the industry that was accredited by the well-known Forensic Specialty Accreditation Board.
Forensic Scientist Salary In Canada, Australia And The United Kingdom
In Canada, the median yearly wage of a forensic scientist is of Cad$39,000, while in Australia it is of Au$68,000 and in the United Kingdom 25,000 pounds.
Verdict On Forensic Scientist Salary
To conclude, the salary of a forensic scientist is directly proportional to the work volume, both in the United States and outside of the country.