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Science and Research Careers | Forensic Chemist

Forensic Chemist

What Does a Professional in this Career Do?

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 33 Forensic Chemist job postings in North Carolina in the past year and 263 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 2012:

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 $55,652.

State

The average estimated salary in North Carolina for this career, based on job postings in the past year, is $58,301.

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 $47,862.

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 Degree0%
Bachelor's Degree65%
Master's Degree34%
Doctoral Degree1%
Other0%

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 years59%
3 to 5 years32%
6 to 8 years7%
9+ years2%

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.

  • Writing (38%)
  • Research (32%)
  • Communication Skills (27%)
  • Organizational Skills (15%)
  • Physical Abilities (15%)

Defining Skills

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

  • Chemistry (100%)
  • Forensic Science (82%)
  • Biology (46%)
  • Biochemistry (43%)
  • Toxicology (33%)

Necessary Skills

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

  • DNA (18%)
  • Public Health and Safety (17%)
  • Lab Safety (16%)
  • Physics (15%)
  • Microscope (13%)

Distinguishing Skills

A skill that may distinguish a subset of the occupation.

  • Chemical Analysis (6%)
  • Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Analysis (6%)
  • DNA Analysis (6%)
  • Chromatography (5%)
  • Analytical Testing (5%)

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 along with the marginal value: the average salary difference between postings that request that skill and those that do not.

  • Heavy Metals (3%) – marginal value $2,438
  • Epidemiology (2%) – marginal value $1,218
  • Protein Purification (1%) – marginal value $1,062
  • High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) (4%) – marginal value $996

Alternative Job Titles

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

  • Forensic Scientist
  • Chemist
  • Laboratory Pack Chemist I/II/III
  • Forensic Chemist I/II

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

  • Texas Department Public Safety (14)
  • Nms Labs (12)
  • Tradebe Environmental Services (11)
  • State North Carolina (10)
  • North Carolina Department Of Justice (8)

North Carolina

  • State North Carolina (10)
  • North Carolina Department Of Justice (8)
  • North Carolina Dept Of Justice (4)
  • Appalachian State University (1)
  • New Hanover County (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!

Not sure where to start?

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