Crime scene and laboratory analysts – known by a variety of other names, such as forensic science technicians, crime scene investigators, evidence technicians, crime scene technicians or forensic investigators -- usually specialize in collecting, identifying and documenting physical evidence at the scene of a crime or processing evidence in laboratories. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts demand for crime scene and laboratory analysts will increase by 19 percent through 2020. Their salary is higher than the $45,790 earned by the average U.S. worker but may be lower than some comparable careers.
National Wage Estimates
According to May 2012 national wage data from the BLS, crime scene and laboratory analysts made a mean annual wage of $55,730, or a mean hourly wage of $26.79. The median or midpoint salary for crime scene and laboratory analysts was $52,840. The top 10 percent of crime scene and laboratory analysts earned $85,210, while the bottom 10 percent made $32,200.
Comparative Salary Analysis
Compared to other criminal justice and law enforcement occupations, police officers earned a mean annual wage of $57,770, while detectives and criminal investigators made $77,860. In a comparison with some other occupations that also collect and analyze samples, geoscientists made $106,780, geological and petroleum technicians earned $59,880, medical and clinical lab technologists made $58,640, environmental engineering technicians earned $49,380 and biological technicians earned $42,600.
Crime scene and laboratory analysts earned the highest salary working for the federal executive branch, with an annual mean wage of $94,800. They earned the second-highest salary of $66,390 working at medical and diagnostic laboratories. Architectural, engineering and related services firms paid $61,680. The fourth and fifth highest-paying employers were local governments and state governments, with mean annual wages of $55,950 and $51,100, respectively.
The District of Columbia was the top-paying location for crime scene and laboratory analysts, with an annual mean wage of $73,010. California was a close second, at $72,000, followed by Michigan, at $70,650. Rounding out the top five highest-paying locations for crime scene and laboratory analysts were Massachusetts and Virginia, at $69,360 and $66,360, respectively.
- International Crime Scene Investigators Association: How to Become a CSI
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Forensic Science Technicians
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wage, May 2012: 19-4092 Forensic Science Technicians
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2012 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
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