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Forensic scientist: Salary and conditions

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  • Salaries for forensic scientists typically start at around £20,000.
  • With experience, salaries can increase to between £25,000 and £35,000.
  • Salaries at senior levels can exceed £45,000.
  • Working hours are typically 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday, although you may be required to work shifts or be on call. Crimes may happen at any time, so you need to be prepared to work evenings and weekends.
  • Most of the work is laboratory-based, but experienced forensic scientists may have to attend crime scenes. The balance of work in the laboratory, court and office varies between roles.
  • Geographical availability of posts is restricted by the location of forensic science laboratories.
  • The work may be stressful and distressing at times, particularly when attending scenes of crimes. Considerable responsibility rests on the scientists presenting and defending their evidence in court under cross-examination.
  • If attending a crime scene, you will need to wear protective clothing to prevent contamination of the scene and sometimes to protect yourself from hazardous materials.
  • Travel within a working day and absence from home at night are occasionally needed. Evening and weekend call-outs to scenes of crime are also common.
  • Overseas work is uncommon but attendance at conferences is common.

Salary figures are intended as a guide only.

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Written by AGCAS editors
December 2014

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