Throughout the United States, those working as forensic scientists in some capacity are known for making salaries that are well above the average salary for the United States citizens across the board. In fact, according to ForensicScience.net, the average national salary for a forensic scientist is approximately $45,000 per year.

However, in Illinois, the average salary for forensic scientists is quite a bit higher, at an average of around $70,000 per year. Obviously then, Illinois is a great place to be for those planning to have careers in the forensic science field.

Of course, you should be aware that not every single forensic scientist in the state automatically makes $70,000 per year. While some professionals do earn right at this average line, many others earn well above and, unfortunately, well below that amount each year.

The good news is that there are some things that you can do, right now, to increase the likelihood that your salary will be one of the ones on the upper end, not the lower end. The beauty of this is that the majority of these tips are things you can do before you even start working in the field, so you can get started off on the right foot right away.

First of all, understand that the higher your educational level, the higher you can expect your salary as a forensic scientist to be. So, if you were only planning on going to school for an associate’s degree, ditching that plan in favor of a bachelor’s degree might not be such a bad idea.

If you already have an associate’s degree, don’t worry; you can easily transfer the credits you learned, providing they were from an accredited institution, to an accredited undergraduate program. Even if you already have a bachelor’s degree, you might want to consider hitting the books again in favor of a master’s degree or even a PhD if you already have a master’s.

Even those who have reached the highest level of the education ladder can benefit from taking continuing education courses or getting a specialized certification that is related to the job they wish to have or currently have.

You might also want to give some thought to where you plan to work once you graduate. In some areas of Illinois, forensic scientists are paid better than in others. The trend is that, in large cities like Chicago, the pay tends to be quite a bit higher than in more rural areas.

This is, of course, partially due to the higher costs of living in big cities, but it is moreso due to the fact that forensic scientists are in higher demand in large cities. So, while you might not want to move all the way across the state to increase your earnings, making a slightly longer commute to work might prove to be well worth it in the end.

Finally, make sure not to forget the importance of working hard and proving yourself worthy of a higher salary.