Forensic DNA Analyst Salary And Career Outlook
A forensic DNA analyst has a very important job within the justice system. He or she is responsible for comparing DNA samples in order to assist in the prosecution or exoneration of suspects in crimes. There are many different things that can affect the forensic DNA analyst salary, including education, experience, and location.
Average Annual Salary
According to the BLS, or Bureau of Labor Statistics, forensic analysts as a whole earn a mean salary of $57,340 each year. According to Indeed, one of the country’s leading job sites, the average annual salary for a forensic DNA analyst is about $64,000 per year, which is a little more than average for other professions in the same field. Aside from their annual salaries, there are some DNA analysts who earn bonuses for solving particularly tough cases, and these can top out at around $3000 per year. Most are paid hourly, but there are some who are salaried and earn the same amount of money each week regardless of the number of hours they put in.
Top Paying Industries
The BLS also breaks down the six highest-paying industries in which a forensic DNA analyst can work. The top paying employer is the federal government; DNA analysts who work in this field earn an average of $93,940 per year. Next are those who work in scientific research and development where the annual salary is $71,450. Those who work for various consulting services earn about $60,620 per year, and forensic DNA analysts working in medical and diagnostic laboratories (the most common places of employment) earn about $60,230 per year on average. Finally, those who worked in other services, including but not limited to engineering, earn about $59,400 per year.
Highest Paying Locations in the United States
Another factor that can influence a forensic DNA analyst’s salary is the location in which he or she works. Oftentimes, those working in larger metropolitan areas will earn significantly more than those who work in small cities or sparsely populated counties. The San Francisco, California area is the highest paying in the United States with an average annual salary of $88,280. Next is the Oakland, California area with an average annual salary of $81,030. Forensic DNA analysts who work in the Chicago area earn an average $80,800 per year, and those in Santa Ana, California and the surrounding area earn $79,180 per year on average.
The BLS states that employment in the field of forensic science will grow about 19% between the years of 2012 and 2022 with the addition of some 2400 jobs during that decade. This growth will be fueled by a growing population, advances in technology, and climbing crime rates, particularly in growing cities. The number of private firms that exist to offer services to law enforcement agencies across the country is also growing, and these positions will need to be filled in coming years.
Overall, the salary that a forensic DNA analyst can earn is in line with the national average for all salaries in all industries. The job security is also good in that these individuals often remain employed for a lifetime, and often with the same company. However, competition for jobs can be fierce, particularly at the entry level.
Salaries vary greatly based on position. The average salary for a computer forensic professional is $68,358 per year, according to the United States Bureau of Statistics. Those working in the private sector tend to earn a higher salary than those individuals working in the public sector. Although those choosing to work in the public sector usually find a set pay scale along with excellent benefits.
The work of a computer forensic analyst used to be done by police officers. However, with the increased use of technology there has become need for people specifically trained in the area of computer forensics.