Forensic Experts


Overview

Introduction

Forensic experts apply scientific principles and methods to the analysis, identification, and classification of physical evidence relating to criminal (or suspected criminal) cases. They do much of their work in laboratories, where they test and analyze evidence and then record the results. They may travel to crime scenes to collect evidence and record the physical facts of a site. Forensic experts may also testify as expert witnesses and present scientific findings in court. The American Academy of Forensic Sciences, the largest fo...

Quick Facts


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Median Salary

$58,230

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Employment Prospects

Excellent

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Minimum Education Level

Bachelor's Degree


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Experience

Several years' experience in a related field or in forensics


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Skills

Organizational


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Personality Traits

Curious

Earnings

Earnings for forensic experts vary by employer, geographic location, and educational and skill levels. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that the median hourly wage for forensic science technicians was $27.99 in May 2018. For full-time employment, this translates into a median salary of $58,230 a year. The lowest paid 10 percent earned $16.63 per hour ($34,600 annually) and the highest paid ...

Work Environment

Forensic experts usually perform the analytical portion of their work in clean, quiet, air-conditioned laboratories, but they are frequently required to travel to crime scenes to collect evidence or study the site to understand more fully the evidence collected by detectives. When gathering evidence and analyzing it, forensic experts need to be able to concentrate, sometimes in crowded, noisy s...

Outlook

Employment for forensic science specialists is expected to grow much faster than the average for all careers through 2028, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Population increases, a rising crime rate, and the greater emphasis on scientific methodology in crime investigation have increased the need for trained forensic experts. Forensic experts who are employed by state and local governm...

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