Forensics Salary for Lab Technicians and CSIs in Pennsylvania

According to Indeed.com, the average salary for a forensic scientist in Pennsylvania was $61,000 in the year between September 2012 and October 2013.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that the 70 forensic science technicians in the Philadelphia metropolitan area made an average of $46,700 in 2012.  Experienced technicians in the 90th percentile made $57,990.

Salaries for several specific forensic scientist positions are available.  One such position in Philadelphia paid $39,520 a year as a starting salary.  Forensic scientist trainees for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania made a starting wage of $50,533 to $63,009 in 2013.

According to Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor & Industry, six jobs for forensic science technicians were advertised in the state on October 7, 2013.  Four were in Montgomery County, while two were in Philadelphia County.

A number of forensic science technicians work as crime scene investigators (CSIs).  They perform their work in the field—documenting the crime scene and collecting evidence to be analyzed further in the lab.

While some CSIs are civilians, others are enlisted personnel.  In addition, depending on the size of the department, some CSIs are crime scene analysts—processing the whole site—while others have specific functions such as:

  • Latent fingerprint analysis
  • Blood pattern analysis
  • Analyzing impressions from tires or shoes

As with most forensic science positions, the salaries of CSIs can vary widely.  The individual’s level of education and experience contributes a great deal to determining their pay range.  Indeed.com gave the average Pennsylvania crime scene investigator salary from the year preceding October 2013 as being $53,000.

The BLS provides a detailed breakdown of hourly and annual salary percentiles for forensic science technicians in the Philadelphia area in 2012.  This information is shown in the following table:

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Philadelphia PA Metropolitan Division
70
46700
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington PA-NJ-DE-MD
100
48230

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