What States Have the Most Job Openings for Forensic Science Technicians?

As the field of forensic science expands, more and more students are pursuing education to become forensic science technicians. At one time, you could enter this field with just an associate’s degree, but today the vast majority of employers will only consider candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree. Still, after graduation, you may have a hard time finding a job as a forensic science technician. One of the best ways to ensure that you get a job offer in your field is to be flexible with where you intend to live and work. Looking into different states, rural areas, and urban areas, you can see where more jobs may be available, as well as the potential salary you could earn.

According to The United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following states have the highest number of forensic science technicians in relation to their population:

  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • North Carolina
  • Nevada
  • Colorado

However, the states with the highest numbers aren’t necessarily the states with the highest annual wages, on average. If salary is more important to you than job availability, you should look to the following states (all average salaries are as of 2008):

  • Wisconsin: $83,440
  • Massachusetts: $76,560
  • Kansas: $76,060
  • Connecticut: $68,370
  • California: $65,160

If you’re willing to live in a city, rather than in a more rural area, you’ll find both a higher number of job openings and higher salaries. In rural areas, many police forces don’t have a local forensics laboratory and instead hire consultants when they need extra help, so there are very few job openings at any given time. Some have one or two forensic science technicians on staff, but the turnover rate in this industry isn’t high, so you may not find any good opportunities if you’re committed to staying in a single rural area. In larger cities, however, you’ll find entire units working in the forensic science field. The metropolitan areas with the most forensic scientists, as of 2008, were:

  • Raleigh – Cary, North Carolina
  • Richmond, Virginia
  • Austin – Round Rock, Texas
  • Santa Rosa – Petaluma, California
  • San Antonio, Texas

Looking for a high-paying job? The following metropolitan areas have the highest paid forensic science technicians, on average:

  • Boston – Cambridge – Quincy, Massachusetts: $76, 470
  • Santa Ana – Anaheim – Irvine, California: $74,600
  • Los Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale, California: $70,690
  • Oakland – Fremont – Hayward, California: $70,320
  • Washington – Arlington – Alexandria, DC/Virginia/Maryland: $68,930

Keep in mind that along with those higher salaries, you’ll be paying more for rent, transportation, food, and other necessities, so the bigger paychecks don’t always leave you with the most amount of money in your savings account at the end of the day. You’re often better off applying to jobs in cities and states hiring the most forensic scientists, rather than those with the highest average salaries in this industry.

No matter where you work, you can increase both your qualifications for forensic science jobs and your salary if you specialize in a particular area of forensic science. Today, many students seek jobs directly after getting a bachelor’s degree in forensic science, but if you go on to specialize with a master’s degree or get certification in a specific subject area, your resume will instantly shuffle to the top of the pile, as you will be more marketable to employers with your added knowledge.

Online Forensic Science and Criminal Justice Degrees

Forensic science, or forensics, is a rapidly growing field of criminal investigation whereby forensic technicians employ their technical skills in the field. To become a forensic scientist, students must obtain at least an associate's degree in fields such as criminal investigation, forensic psychology, criminal justice, and more.

Purdue University — At Purdue University, students can get a forensic science bachelor's degree in two different concentrations: forensic psychology and crime scene investigation. No matter which program you choose, Purdue will quickly prepare you for a career in forensic science.

Colorado Technical University — With the Colorado Technical University BS in criminal justice degree with a concentration in Forensic Investigation, students are awakened to the fascinating world of criminal justice. The curriculum focuses on the human reasonings behind adult and juvenile crimes. Classes cover core topics in information systems and security issues related to operating systems, networks, databases, and software programs.

Liberty University — Liberty University offers two accredited degrees in the field of Forensic Science online in addition to their campus counterparts. Both the Associates and Bachelors programs in Criminal Justice offer an in-depth guide through the investigative process of the justice system. Students will come away with skills, knowledge, and resources they can apply to real-world problems and situations upon graduation.

St. Joseph’s University — The MSCJ in Intelligence and Crime Analysis from St. Joseph’s University is offered online for busy adults who may already have other commitments that keep them out of class during normal hours. The flexible program will give students the skills they need to begin a criminal investigative career after graduation.

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