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Science and Research | Forensic Chemist

Forensic Chemist

What Does a Professional in this Career Do?

A Forensic Chemist tests and analyzes physical evidence and drug samples gathered from crime scenes. Completes tests on samples collected by law enforcement or other government agencies or employers. Documents and reports test findings; may be required to provide court testimony on test findings.

Job Outlook

There were 17 Forensic Chemist job postings in North Carolina in the past year and 154 in the United States.

In combination with other careers in the Chemist industry, which includes the Forensic Chemist career, the following graph shows the number of people employed for each year since 2015:

Salary

Many new Forensic Chemist jobs have salaries estimated to be in the following ranges, based on the requirements and responsibilities listed in job postings from the past year.

National

The average estimated salary in the United States for this career, based on job postings in the past year, is $84,284.

State

The average estimated salary in North Carolina for this career, based on job postings in the past year, is $84,284.

Percentiles represent the percentage that is lower than the value. For example, 25% of estimated salaries for Forensic Chemist postings in the United States in the past year were lower than $73,318.

Education and Experience

Posted Forensic Chemist jobs typically require the following level of education. The numbers below are based on job postings in the United States from the past year. Not all job postings list education requirements.

Education LevelPercentage
Associate's Degree3.25%
Bachelor's Degree76.62%
Master's Degree33.12%
Doctoral Degree24.03%
Other4.55%

Posted Forensic Chemist jobs typically require the following number of years of experience. The numbers below are based on job postings in the United States from the past year. Not all job postings list experience requirements.

Years of ExperiencePercentage
0 to 2 years52.38%
3 to 5 years19.05%
6 to 8 years7.14%
9+ years21.43%

Skills

Below are listings of the most common general and specialized skills Forensic Chemist positions expect applicants to have as well as the most common skills that distinguish individuals from their peers. The percentage of job postings that specifically mention each skill is also listed.

Baseline Skills

A skill that is required across a broad range of occupations, including this one.

  • Quality Assurance (37.01%)
  • Quality Control (30.52%)
  • Communication (27.92%)
  • Management (24.03%)
  • Investigation (23.38%)
  • Research (20.13%)
  • Writing (16.23%)
  • Operations (12.34%)
  • Mathematics (11.04%)
  • Teaching (9.74%)

Defining Skills

A core skill for this occupation, it occurs frequently in job postings.

  • Biology (53.15%)
  • Analytical Chemistry (21.68%)
  • Expert Witness (28.67%)
  • Social Work (38.46%)
  • Gas Chromatography (23.78%)
  • Chemistry (87.41%)
  • Forensic Sciences (41.96%)
  • Forensic Chemistry (22.38%)
  • Law Enforcement (27.97%)
  • Toxicology (27.27%)
  • Forensic Toxicology (16.08%)
  • Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (25.17%)
  • Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (9.79%)

Necessary Skills

A skill that is requested frequently in this occupation but isn’t specific to it.

  • Laboratory Experience (13.29%)
  • Evidence Collection (6.99%)
  • Organic Chemistry (15.38%)
  • Analytical Testing (14.69%)
  • Analytical Procedures (9.79%)
  • Instrumental Chemistry (17.48%)
  • Performance Reporting (11.19%)
  • Spectroscopy (13.29%)
  • Office Equipment (7.69%)
  • Microscopy (8.39%)
  • Scientific Methods (6.99%)
  • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (16.08%)
  • General Scientific Knowledge (8.39%)
  • Physics (20.28%)
  • Fingerprint Identification And Classification (12.59%)
  • Bloodborne Pathogens (9.09%)
  • Standard Operating Procedure (18.18%)
  • Laboratory Safety (14.69%)
  • Software Technical Review (9.79%)
  • Biochemistry (16.78%)
  • Chromatography (8.39%)
  • Integral Calculus (8.39%)
  • Chain Of Custody (21.68%)
  • DNA Profiling (6.29%)
  • Laboratory Reports (13.29%)
  • ISO/IEC 17025 (11.19%)
  • Analytical Techniques (11.89%)
  • Laboratory Instrumentation (7.69%)
  • Laboratory Equipment (9.79%)
  • Life Sciences (10.49%)
  • Laboratory Techniques (8.39%)
  • Mass Spectrometry (18.88%)
  • Solid-Phase Extraction (9.09%)
  • Forensic Biology (11.19%)
  • Pharmacology (6.99%)
  • Physical Science (11.19%)
  • Laboratory Testing (14.69%)

Salary Boosting Skills

A professional who wishes to excel in this career path may consider developing the following highly valued skills. The percentage of job postings that specifically mention each skill is listed.

  • Gas Chromatography (100%)

Alternative Job Titles

Sometimes employers post jobs with Forensic Chemist skills but a different job title. Some common alternative job titles include:

  • Forensic Scientist
  • Forensic Toxicologist
  • Assistant Professor of Chemistry
  • Chemistry Laboratory Technician
  • Summer Intern
  • Subject Matter Expert
  • Intern
  • Associate Professor of Chemistry
  • Examiner

Similar Occupations

If you are interested in exploring occupations with similar skills, you may want to research the following job titles. Note that we only list occupations that have at least one corresponding NC State Online and Distance Education program.

Common Employers

Here are the employers that have posted the most Forensic Chemist jobs in the past year along with how many they have posted.

United States

  • Nms Labs (12)
  • State of North Carolina (9)
  • Amentum (7)
  • State of Minnesota (7)
  • Allied Universal (6)
  • Grand Canyon University (6)
  • United States Department of Justice (5)
  • Sna International (4)
  • National Medical Services (4)
  • Eastern Kentucky University (4)

North Carolina

  • State of North Carolina (8)
  • Research Triangle Institute (1)
  • University of North Carolina (1)
  • United States Department of Justice (1)
  • North Carolina Department Of Justice (1)

NC State Programs Relevant to this Career

If you are interested in preparing for a career in this field, the following NC State Online and Distance Education programs offer a great place to start!