According to Dept. of Labor statistics, by far, the biggest employers of forensic scientists are local governments, which account for about 6,000 forensic scientists in the country. This is more than double the number that are employed by state crime labs, at 3,600. Believe it or not, psychiatric and drug abuse hospitals are in a distant third, with nearly 600 forensic psychologists and forensic psychiatrists employed throughout the US. In fourth place, private investigation and security businesses employ about 400 forensic specialists in the country. In fifth place is the good-old U.S. federal government (the Executive branch, of course), which has about 150 employed at any one time.
So which states have the most jobs? By far, Florida hires the most forensic scientists (and, anecdotally, seems to take in the most interns from undergraduate and graduate programs throughout the US). Illinois comes in second in terms of number of jobs, followed by North Carolina, Arizona and Kansas. While Kansas might be in last place, it pays the most of the bunch: more than $62,000 a year. North Carolina is lower than all the rest, likely a result of the lower cost of living there: $38,000.
So which states will pay you the most? Connecticut, by far, at more than $67,000 a year. But there aren’t many gigs there — by last count, it was something like 90 in the whole state. California and Kansas both page more than $61,000, followed by New York and Virginia close behind, at around $59,000 a year.
The Best Cities for Forensic Science Jobs
So you know which states are hiring, and which states pay the most, it’s useful to look at which major metropolitan areas are hiring, and which pay the most.
As you might expect, the state with the most jobs also has the city with the most jobs: Tallahassee, Florida. Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina follows a distant second, as do Austin and Round Rock, TX; Trenton and Ewing, NJ; and in fifth place, San Antonio, TX.
Which cities will pay you the most? By far, the biggest paycheck to be had comes from Boston, which clears $70,000 a year. You can make more than $68,000 a year in Los Angeles, Washington, DC and — of all places — Topeka, Kansas.
Forensics Job Listings by City and State
Next up: finding openings for forensic science employment, which you can filter by location and code.