A forensic anthropologist works closely with law enforcement and other government agencies. That is not to say that forensic anthropologists are limited in their careers or in the salaries they may obtain, but, in general, work related to the field of criminal justice is the most common application of said skills. As the name itself implies, forensic anthropologists, usually hone their skills to be able to give expert testimony in a court of law. More often than not, forensic anthropologists work with police and coroners to determine the manner, cause, and date of a deceased individual. Usually, a forensic pathologist is only called in when the remains of the deceased have been badly damaged or mutilated or when the remains have decomposed for a long period of time in the elements.
Forensic pathologists have several different career paths and the salaries associated with each is quite dramatic. First, it should be noted that there is little demand for forensic anthropologists in the market, so a great number choose to work in the academic departments of universities or colleges. They can use the position to continue their own specialized studies while earning approximately $40,000 per year. An experienced, tenured professor at one of the larger, more prestigious universities can earn about twice that, almost $100,000 per year and be eligible for grants and other federal aid to support their independent research.
Another viable option for forensic pathologists is to work for the government. Many public sector jobs are available, as both state and federal agencies are in need of such services to a greater degree than private businesses. However, the salary can be quite small with little room for advancement. A publicly employed forensic pathologist earns about $35,000 per year to start.
Finally, the most sought after and most lucrative position for a forensic pathologist is that of consultant or expert witness. These positions are normally reserved for experienced and recognized professionals who have acquired a certain amount of notoriety in their careers for their brilliance and due diligence. Paid consultants may work as freelancers helping local police departments in an investigation or they may be hired directly by law firms looking to use expert testimony in court. The amount of money that can be earned is very high, thus these positions are hard to come by. The salary of a forensic pathologist working as a paid consultant can reach in the millions, but generally speaking, most paid consultants earn about $100,000 per year to $250,000 per year.
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.