Average Salary
$49,923
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
14%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
1,018
Job Openings

Forensic Specialist Careers

Forensic specialists work with crime scenes and specialize in collecting or analyzing forensic evidence. Some forensic specialists spend their days out in the field with an investigative team, scouring crime scenes for traces of blood or stray fibers. Other forensic specialists spend their days in the laboratory conducting various tests on evidence, such as DNA testing and chemically testing residues left behind.

No matter their exact duties, forensic specialists need to have a background in criminal investigations in order to identify how evidence can fit into an investigative team's case. They also need a keen attention to detail to spot potential evidence and anomalies in an analysis.

Most forensic specialists get a bachelor's or master's degree in criminal justice and extensive coursework in science. It also helps if they have some professional experience working in a laboratory, for example as an intern or assistant. On average, forensic specialists earn a salary of $47,690 a year. The demand for forensic specialists is expected to grow by 14% by 2028.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a forensic specialist. For example, did you know that they make an average of $24.0 an hour? That's $49,923 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 14% and produce 2,400 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Forensic Specialist Do

There are certain skills that many forensic specialists have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed detail oriented, math and science skills and problem-solving skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a forensic specialist, we found that a lot of resumes listed 10.9% of forensic specialists included mental health, while 10.3% of resumes included encase, and 7.7% of resumes included child abuse. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the forensic specialist job title. But what industry to start with? Most forensic specialists actually find jobs in the health care and technology industries.

How To Become a Forensic Specialist

If you're interested in becoming a forensic specialist, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 54.0% of forensic specialists have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 20.9% of forensic specialists have master's degrees. Even though most forensic specialists have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a forensic specialist. When we researched the most common majors for a forensic specialist, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on forensic specialist resumes include associate degree degrees or high school diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a forensic specialist. In fact, many forensic specialist jobs require experience in a role such as internship. Meanwhile, many forensic specialists also have previous career experience in roles such as case manager or customer service representative.

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Average Salary
$49,923
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
14%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
1,018
Job Openings

Forensic Specialist Career Paths

Top Careers Before Forensic Specialist

Top Careers After Forensic Specialist

Forensic Specialist Jobs You Might Like

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Average Salary for a Forensic Specialist

Forensic Specialists in America make an average salary of $49,923 per year or $24 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $71,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $35,000 per year.
Average Salary
$49,923
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Best Paying Cities For Forensic Specialists

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Santa Monica, CA
Salary Range52k - 84k$67k$66,514
New York, NY
Salary Range39k - 62k$50k$49,528
Harrisburg, PA
Salary Range38k - 61k$48k$48,426
Cheyenne, WY
Salary Range37k - 56k$46k$46,323
Kansas City, MO
Salary Range36k - 55k$45k$45,026
Miami, FL
Salary Range34k - 52k$42k$42,181
$34k
$84k

Recently Added Salaries

CompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Forensic Specialist 1
State of Nevada
08/04/2021
$41,57208/04/2021
Forensic Specialist I
City of Irvine, Ca
07/01/2021
$52,16607/01/2021
Cyber Forensics Specialist & Internet Strategy Advisor
Motion Picture Association, Inc.
03/12/2021
$171,12203/12/2021
Computer Forensic Specialist
Ryan Fraud and Forensic Recovery, LLC
03/09/2021
$63,00003/09/2021
Psfc-Forensic Specialist
State of Wyoming
12/25/2020
$44,66212/25/2020
See More Recent Salaries

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Forensic Specialist Demographics

Gender

female

51.1 %

male

46.5 %

unknown

2.4 %

Ethnicity

White

61.6 %

Hispanic or Latino

14.7 %

Asian

11.2 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

61.5 %

French

15.4 %

Mandarin

7.7 %
Show More Forensic Specialist Demographics

Forensic Specialist Education

Majors

Degrees

Bachelors

54.0 %

Masters

20.9 %

Associate

13.7 %

Top Colleges for Forensic Specialists

1. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

2. California State University - Bakersfield

Bakersfield, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,309
Enrollment
9,142

3. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

4. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

5. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

6. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

7. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

8. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

9. University of Chicago

Chicago, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$58,230
Enrollment
6,600

10. Howard University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$26,756
Enrollment
6,166
Show More Forensic Specialist Education Requirements

Online Courses For Forensic Specialist That You May Like

Digital Forensics and Electronic Evidence
udemy
4.4
(866)

An introduction for legal professionals and other individuals with an interest in computer forensics...

Computer Forensics Fundamentals
udemy
4.4
(6,131)

An introduction to Computer Forensics, to demonstrate the process of going from the crime scene to the court room...

Forensic Psychology - ACCREDITED CERTIFICATE
udemy
4.4
(2,568)

Become a specialist in criminal investigations and forensic profiling, start your career and add certificate to resume!...

See more
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Part Time
Internship
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Top Skills For a Forensic Specialist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 10.9% of forensic specialists listed mental health on their resume, but soft skills such as detail oriented and math and science skills are important as well.

Best States For a Forensic Specialist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a forensic specialist. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, California, North Dakota, and Nebraska. Forensic specialists make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $67,886. Whereas in California and North Dakota, they would average $67,505 and $65,478, respectively. While forensic specialists would only make an average of $63,022 in Nebraska, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Nebraska

Total Forensic Specialist Jobs:
116
Highest 10% Earn:
$92,000
Location Quotient:
1.33
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. North Dakota

Total Forensic Specialist Jobs:
47
Highest 10% Earn:
$90,000
Location Quotient:
1.29
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Alaska

Total Forensic Specialist Jobs:
43
Highest 10% Earn:
$86,000
Location Quotient:
1.31
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Forensic Specialists

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Top Forensic Specialist Employers

1. Safe Horizon
3.8
Avg. Salary: 
$52,448
Forensic Specialists Hired: 
16+
2. Meridian Behavioral Healthcare
3.6
Avg. Salary: 
$43,279
Forensic Specialists Hired: 
11+
3. Alabama Department of Insurance
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$39,374
Forensic Specialists Hired: 
6+
4. Northwestern
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$45,752
Forensic Specialists Hired: 
4+
5. E! Entertainment Television
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$49,710
Forensic Specialists Hired: 
4+
6. State of Missouri
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$35,264
Forensic Specialists Hired: 
4+
Updated August 18, 2021