Forensic pathologist’s salary is around $120,000 in the United States. Forensic pathologists are specially trained doctors who pinpoint the cause of death and the manner in which death came. They use medical knowledge and forensic science in their line of work. They are usually employed in hospitals, counties, cities, and state agencies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), forensic science technicians, which include forensic pathologists, earn around $52,840. The forensic pathology’s salary is likely around the same salary range. The bureau also added that the increase in employment is only about 18% from 2012 to 2022. This is slower than average, but this might pick up if the interest in forensic science grows. Keep reading for more information about forensic pathologist salary and career requirements.
Forensic pathology job description
Forensic pathologists receive special training to examine corpses of people who died violently, unexpectedly, or suddenly. It is their job to determine the cause and manner of death, which could be suicide, homicide, natural, accidental, or unknown.
To identify the victim, the cause, time, and manner of death, a forensic pathologist studies the victim’s medical history, assess the crime scene and collect witness statements, perform an autopsy to find possible disease or injury, and collect trace and medical evidence from the victim’s body for further examination.
A forensic pathologist has to follow strict procedures when it comes to evidence collection, and work with law enforcement operations.
Aside from dealing with dead bodies, forensic pathology also involves keeping a detailed report of everything that they are doing during the examination. These reports will be used as bases in drafting an official written autopsy, which should include important details such as possible cause and estimated time of death.
How much does a forensic pathologist make ?
Average forensic pathology salary
On average, the forensic pathology’s salary is around $122,000. Their average wage is around $73.25.
Forensic pathology salary in the US
According to PayScale, the forensic pathology’s salary ranges between $40,547 and $214,792. Their median pay is reported to be around $119,904. The site actually cited that the basic salary often ranges from $48,288 to $204,257, with the bonus reaching up to $60,000 per year.
The BLS reported that the usual forensic pathology salary is between $112,780 and $229,610. However, this is based on the salary report for all physicians that belong to the ‘other’ category because the bureau does not have a unique salary report for forensic pathologists.
Indeed, another employment survey site, showed that the average forensic pathology’s salary is around $56,000.
Forensic pathologists working in the private sector usually earn so much more per year. However, they often take on more workload and job responsibilities.
The more experienced they are, the higher the forensic pathology’s salary is. In fact, it may reach up to $600,000 per year. Those who occupy the positions of chief consultants or chief medical examiners earn even more, forming the higher end of the pay scale for this profession.
Forensic pathology salary by city/state in the US
Since there are no specific reports about the forensic pathology salary, the 2014 BLS report for physicians and surgeons in the ‘all other’ category can be used as a basis. The report showed that the top paying state for special physicians is that of Minnesota, where the salary is $235,150. This also includes the forensic pathology’s salary. The other top paying states for other physicians and surgeons include South Dakota, where the pay was $232,530; New Hampshire, $231,550; Montana, $228,880; and Wyoming, $226,310.
As for the salaries in the metropolitan areas, the ‘other’ physicians earned the most in Terre Haute, Indiana; Pocatello, Idaho; Napa, California; Michigan City-La Porte, Indiana; and Merced, California.
Forensic pathology salary in Canada
The typical forensic pathology’s salary in Canada ranges between C$51,000 and C$64,000. However, this increases to a salary range between C$81,000 and C$191,000 for those occupying the top forensic pathologist positions.
Forensic pathology salary in Australia
For those working in Australia, the forensic pathology salary averages around AU$120,000. The salary of the doctors in general practice can also be considered. They usually earn between AU$50,785 and AU$242,881 per year.
Forensic pathology salary in the UK
Forensic pathologists working in the UK earn as much as £32,813 per year. But physicians in general practice usually earn between £25,413 and £102,426. The forensic pathology’s salary may be higher than this because of the nature of their specialty.
Forensic pathology salary in South Africa
There are no specific reports about the forensic pathology’s salary. However, it is likely higher than the salary of doctors in general practice, which ranges between R217,783 and R797,158, according to PayScale.
How to become a forensic pathologist
To become a forensic pathologist, one needs to complete a bachelor’s degree. Even if there is no specific field of study for these students, they should choose a program with courses in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, the humanities, social sciences, and English. Getting into medical school is competitive enough. However, those who are active in extracurricular activities and campus organizations and who get good scores on the Medical College Admission Test might have a better chance of getting accepted into medical school.
To become a doctor, aspiring forensic pathologists must complete medical school, which usually takes four years. The first two years are devoted to classroom studies and lab work, while discussing subjects such as medical ethics, anatomy, psychology, the legalities of practicing medicine, biochemistry, and pharmacology. The last two years are usually spent on working with patients in person, while being supervised by experienced doctors.
Aspiring forensic pathologists must complete a pathology residency program, which usually lasts for three to four years. Those who completed their residency must finish a year-long specialized fellowship program in forensic pathology. Fellowship training allows the candidates to work with experienced forensic pathologists as they conduct autopsies.
To become a certified forensic pathologist by the American Board of Pathology, candidates must pass the written and practical exams in clinical and anatomical pathology.
Conclusion about forensic pathology salary
Forensic pathologists earn between $105,000 and $500,000. They can also enjoy an excellent job outlook after spending 11 to 18 years in school. Forensic pathology salary is above average.