Forensic scientists work as experts in collecting evidence, analyzing evidence collected at crime scenes, and communicating with law enforcement. They can work as a lab manager and detective. They are responsible for ensuring that tests are performed correctly and ethically without any bias. They obtain evidence at the crime scene, making reports of the findings, examining the evidence in the lab if the evidence collected is relevant or not, and testifying in court. They report to superiors the findings of the analysis.

Forensic Scientist Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real forensic scientist resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Prepare STR products for size separation via CE on ABI [].
  • Extract and analyze convicted offender bloods for RFLP and PCR entry into CODIS.
  • Maintain chain of custody, instrument logbooks and perform quality assurance/quality control procedures within the laboratory.
  • Perform organic and robotic DNA extraction, real-time PCR, serology testing, data maintenance/analysis/comparison, documentation, and report writing.
  • Experience with GC/MS, ELISA, FPIA, HPLC/DAD, UV-Vis spectroscopy, GC/FID, GC/NPD, and LC/QQQ.
  • Skil in STR mixture deductions.
  • Assist with Agilent install of new 400 NMR.
  • Use of LIMS during all aspects of laboratory analysis.
  • Authore and implement new standard operating procedure for the GC.
  • Use chemical reagents to stand out mutilate serial numbers on firearms.
Forensic Scientist Traits
Detail oriented involves being extremely mindful and observant of all details.
Math and science skills combine the basic components of reduction and addition with observation and measurement.
Problem-solving skills is the way that one is able to effectively solve a problem in a timely manner.

Forensic Scientist Job Description

Perhaps the hardest question to answer when deciding on a career as a forensic scientist is "should I become a forensic scientist?" You might find this info to be helpful. When compared to other jobs, forensic scientist careers are projected to have a growth rate described as "much faster than average" at 14% from 2018 through 2028. This is in accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What's more, is that the projected number of opportunities that are predicted to become available for a forensic scientist by 2028 is 2,400.

A forensic scientist annual salary averages $63,523, which breaks down to $30.54 an hour. However, forensic scientists can earn anywhere from upwards of $38,000 to $105,000 a year. This means that the top-earning forensic scientists make $67,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

Once you've become a forensic scientist, you may be curious about what other opportunities are out there. Careers aren't one size fits all. For that reason, we discovered some other jobs that you may find appealing. Some jobs you might find interesting include a research fellow, research associate, research and development assistant, and laboratory analyst.

Forensic Scientist Jobs You Might Like

Forensic Scientist Resume Examples

Forensic Scientist Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 13% of Forensic Scientists are proficient in Laboratory Equipment, Present Evidence, and Analytical Procedures. They’re also known for soft skills such as Detail oriented, Math and science skills, and Problem-solving skills.

We break down the percentage of Forensic Scientists that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Laboratory Equipment, 13%

    Maintain laboratory equipment and instrumentation (e.g., troubleshooting, conducting preventative maintenance, calibrating and repairing)

  • Present Evidence, 11%

    Examined physical evidence for the presence of biological stains, conducted presumptive and confirmatory tests for body fluid identification.

  • Analytical Procedures, 6%

    Participate in validation of new calibrators, controls and new or modified analytical procedures.

  • Test Results, 6%

    Identify problems that affect test performance or reporting of test results, troubleshoot and correct problems encountered.

  • Blood Samples, 5%

    Analyze blood samples to identify the presence of alcohol and/or drugs in each sample using wet chemistry techniques and LC-MS/MS.

  • Routine Maintenance, 5%

    Perform routine maintenance of equipment utilized in area of responsibility.

Some of the skills we found on forensic scientist resumes included "laboratory equipment," "present evidence," and "analytical procedures." We have detailed the most important forensic scientist responsibilities below.

  • Detail oriented can be considered to be the most important personality trait for a forensic scientist to have. According to a forensic scientist resume, "forensic science technicians must be able to notice small changes in mundane objects to be good at collecting and analyzing evidence." Forensic scientists are able to use detail oriented in the following example we gathered from a resume: "identify and label latent prints of value based on sufficient quality and quantity of friction ridge detail. "
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many forensic scientist duties rely on math and science skills. This example from a forensic scientist explains why: "forensic science technicians need a solid understanding of statistics and natural sciences to be able to analyze evidence." This resume example is just one of many ways forensic scientists are able to utilize math and science skills: "experience using hplc, gc ms, and lc ms."
  • Another skill that is quite popular among forensic scientists is problem-solving skills. This skill is very critical to fulfilling every day responsibilities as is shown in this example from a forensic scientist resume: "forensic science technicians use scientific tests and methods to help law enforcement officials solve crimes." This example from a resume shows how this skill is used: "perform instrument maintenance and source cleaning, calibration and function checks prepare calibrators, controls and solutions for testing. "
  • See the full list of forensic scientist skills.

    We've found that 80.1% of forensic scientists have earned a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, 13.3% earned their master's degrees before becoming a forensic scientist. While it's true that most forensic scientists have a college degree, it's generally impossible to become one with only a high school degree. In fact, one out of every ten forensic scientists did not spend the extra money to attend college.

    The forensic scientists who went onto college to earn a more in-depth education generally studied biology and chemistry, while a small population of forensic scientists studied criminal justice and biochemistry, biophysics, molecular biology.

    When you're ready to become a forensic scientist, you might wonder which companies hire forensic scientists. According to our research through forensic scientist resumes, forensic scientists are mostly hired by Quest Diagnostics, City of Henderson, and Booz Allen Hamilton. Now is a good time to apply as Quest Diagnostics has 3 forensic scientists job openings, and there are 2 at City of Henderson and 1 at Booz Allen Hamilton.

    Since salary is important to some forensic scientists, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at Booz Allen Hamilton, Quest Diagnostics, and Union Bank (Oklahoma City Oklahoma). If you were to take a closer look at Booz Allen Hamilton, you'd find that the average forensic scientist salary is $110,614. Then at Quest Diagnostics, forensic scientists receive an average salary of $84,268, while the salary at Union Bank (Oklahoma City Oklahoma) is $76,047.

    View more details on forensic scientist salaries across the United States.

    If you earned a degree from the top 100 educational institutions in the United States, you might want to take a look at Quest Diagnostics, BAE Systems, and New Jersey State Police. These three companies have hired a significant number of forensic scientists from these institutions.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious forensic scientists are:

      What Research Fellows Do

      A research fellow is an academic researcher who conducts research and analysis of comprehensive literature, data, and results and provides literature reviews. He/She supervises research assistants and recruits study participants to interview them for a particular study. To become a research fellow, a candidate should have a doctorate in a relevant discipline and publish peer-reviewed papers. Also, a research fellow can be an independent investigator or be supervised by a principal investigator.

      In this section, we compare the average forensic scientist annual salary with that of a research fellow. Typically, research fellows earn a $9,125 lower salary than forensic scientists earn annually.

      While their salaries may differ, one common ground between forensic scientists and research fellows are a few of the skills required in each craft. In both careers, employees bring forth skills like dna, genotyping, and data analysis.

      These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. A forensic scientist responsibility is more likely to require skills like "laboratory equipment," "present evidence," "analytical procedures," and "test results." Whereas a research fellow requires skills like "phd," "research projects," "molecular biology," and "cell culture." Just by understanding these different skills you can see how different these careers are.

      Research fellows receive the highest salaries in the pharmaceutical industry coming in with an average yearly salary of $63,760. But forensic scientists are paid more in the health care industry with an average salary of $79,223.

      Research fellows tend to reach lower levels of education than forensic scientists. In fact, research fellows are 21.8% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 52.3% more likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Research Associate?

      A research associate is responsible for assisting the research team, organizing and interpreting findings, and verifying information before presenting the study to the board. Research associates duties also include gathering and comparing data from multiple sources, analyzing the current industry trends, creating draft outlines for reports, collecting individual contacts for interview purposes, and helping with the development of research procedures. A research associate must have excellent time-management skills and ability to multi-task, especially on meeting strict deadlines and conducting studies.

      Next up, we have the research associate profession to look over. This career brings along a lower average salary when compared to a forensic scientist annual salary. In fact, research associates salary difference is $3,008 lower than the salary of forensic scientists per year.

      While the salary may be different for these job positions, there is one similarity and that's a few of the skills needed to perform certain duties. We used info from lots of resumes to find that both forensic scientists and research associates are known to have skills such as "laboratory equipment," "dna," and "gc. "

      In addition to the difference in salary, there are some other key differences that are worth noting. For example, forensic scientist responsibilities are more likely to require skills like "present evidence," "analytical procedures," "test results," and "blood samples." Meanwhile, a research associate might be skilled in areas such as "procedures," "research projects," "cell culture," and "data collection." These differences highlight just how different the day-to-day in each role looks.

      When it comes to the differences in education between the two professions, research associates tend to reach lower levels of education than forensic scientists. In fact, they're 7.3% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 52.3% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Research And Development Assistant Compares

      A research and development assistant is responsible for supporting the research team in collecting studies and information to support research claims and evaluate data materials. Research and development assistants interview participants, conduct data and statistical analysis, and interpret survey results. They ensure to document all findings and research progress and report any concerns to the research supervisor for immediate resolution. A research and development assistant must have excellent communication and organizational skills, especially in participating in brainstorming sessions and finalize research subjects as required.

      The research and development assistant profession generally makes a lower amount of money when compared to the average salary of forensic scientists. The difference in salaries is research and development assistants making $3,446 lower than forensic scientists.

      Using forensic scientists and research and development assistants resumes, we found that both professions have similar skills such as "laboratory equipment," "test results," and "dna," but the other skills required are very different.

      There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, a forensic scientist is likely to be skilled in "present evidence," "analytical procedures," "blood samples," and "routine maintenance," while a typical research and development assistant is skilled in "lab equipment," "data entry," "data collection," and "assist r."

      Research and development assistants make a very good living in the construction industry with an average annual salary of $70,498. Whereas forensic scientists are paid the highest salary in the health care industry with the average being $79,223.

      When it comes to education, research and development assistants tend to earn lower education levels than forensic scientists. In fact, they're 11.7% less likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 0.9% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Laboratory Analyst

      A Laboratory Analyst helps conduct experiments, run laboratory tests, and analyze results. They compile and record data for the documentation needed for testing and report preparation.

      The fourth career we look at typically earns lower pay than forensic scientists. On average, laboratory analysts earn a difference of $13,955 lower per year.

      According to resumes from both forensic scientists and laboratory analysts, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "test results," "routine maintenance," and "ms."

      While some skills are shared by these professions, there are some differences to note. "laboratory equipment," "present evidence," "analytical procedures," and "blood samples" are skills that have shown up on forensic scientists resumes. Additionally, laboratory analyst uses skills like test methods, lab equipment, diagnostic tests, and raw materials on their resumes.

      In general, laboratory analysts make a higher salary in the manufacturing industry with an average of $55,555. The highest forensic scientist annual salary stems from the health care industry.

      In general, laboratory analysts reach lower levels of education when compared to forensic scientists resumes. Laboratory analysts are 23.6% less likely to earn their Master's Degree and 2.3% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.