Salaries, working conditions and where jobs are advertised
- Starting salaries for trainee or assistant forensic scientists typically range from £14,000 to £18,000
- With two to three years’ experience, salaries increase to £25,000 – £30,000 (salary data collected Jan 09)
- Typical salaries at senior levels: £50,000+ (salary data collected Jan 09).
Working hours are variable. Extra hours are sometimes required to get a job done in the allotted time.
Giving evidence in court may involve working unsocial hours and having to be on call.
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.
Gender balance is marginally weighted towards females, although prospects are equal.
Geographical availability of posts is restricted by the location of forensic science laboratories.
At times, the work may be stressful and distressing, particularly when attending scenes of crimes. Considerable responsibility rests on the scientists presenting and defending their evidence in court under cross-examination.
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 not unusual.
You will find jobs advertised for the Forensic Science field in the following publications:
- National press
- Regional press
- Employment services (if appropriate)
- Professional publications such as:
- New Scientist
- Chemistry in Britain
- Institute of Electrical Engineering (for electronic forensic science)
- Materials World (for accident investigators)
- Police Review
- British Journal of Photography (for imaging specialists)
- Marketing Week
- People Management
- Personnel Today
- Computer Weekly
- Press Gazette.