After graduation, generally forensic scientists find work within federal or state crime laboratories. Working for the government can provide a person with additional pay in the form of benefits, however most entry-level positions in forensic science crime labs pay minimum at first, usually averaging around $1500 per month. Over time, a forensic scientist can build experience which increases ones pay. Some forensic scientists who have been in the business for 5 years see their salaries double from $1500 to $3000 per month just because of the experience factor. Other forensic scientists eventually earn salaries that are between $35,000 and $50,000 per year.
Determining ones pay usually involves several different factors. Location, type of facility, experience and certification all play parts in ones annual income. Another factor is what type of forensic scientist you are. Toxicologists can earn starting salaries up to $55,000 while a Forensic Quality Manager can earn up to $93,000. As mentioned, salaries can be determined by location. For those living in rural, secluded areas crime may not occur as often as someone living in a large city where crime occurs daily. If you work for the government, you have to be willing to get paid what they are willing to pay you. If crime is not occurring, they may not have many hours to provide you, which can decrease your pay. Getting yourself certified by the American Board of Criminalists or the American Board of Forensic Toxicology can help your pay increase too. Certification lets employers know that you are experienced, skilled, educated and trained for the task at hand.
Annual Salaries by State
Below is a list of the average median salary, according to the BLS, for each State as of 2009.