The forensic engineer salary may be higher than you'd expect. Forensic engineers must have an engineering degree even though they're often working at crime scenes, and the pay reflects the educational investment required for the position.
What Forensic Engineers Do
As a forensic engineer, you may investigate fires, traffic accidents and wrongful injuries. You can expect to work for the government or a private agency as either an employee or a contractor. Forensic engineers piece evidence together in a way that shows the sequence of events in an accident, ultimately providing litigation support. While forensic engineers work on crime scenes, the pay and hours are often much better than other crime scene personnel because in order to become a forensic engineer, you have to have an engineering degree.
Estimated Forensic Engineer Salary
The salary for a forensic engineer varies based on the location. According to a 2011 report by PayScale.com, the average salary for individuals in forensic engineering was between $51,420 and $96,618.
As with most professions, those who have more experience can expect to earn more than newcomers to the field.
The cost of living will also play a part in determining salary, so a forensic engineer in a major metropolitan area like Washington, D.C. may make more than a forensic engineer in areas with a lower cost of living
What Can Determine the Salary
There are a few factors that can affect the salary of a forensic engineer:
- The number of forensic engineers located in the market where you want to work
- The cost of living within your target market
- The type of employment you want to take, i.e., private contractor vs. employee, government position vs. private company
- Length of time in the field
- Education, particularly classes taken within criminology or criminal justice
- Benefits provided to employees; great health insurance and other benefits can make a lower salary more appealing
Salary and More
The salary for a forensic engineer is, in most areas, a good start to a comfortable life. Weigh the salary, benefits, and cost of living in each area when comparing offers, especially since the gap is so wide between the low and high ends of the average forensic engineer salary.