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Average Salary: $52,840

Expected Lifetime Earnings: $2,206,000

Many of the newbie forensic scientists out there have either an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree, and are able to get an entry-level gig working as a technician in a local forensics laboratory. They'll typically bring in around $40k—not too bad for right out of college.

Once a scientist has a few extra years under his (or her) bullet-proof vest or further specialization with a graduate degree, the salary options open up. Some of these more established forensic scientists can earn upwards of $130k a year.

But keep in mind that location really determines a lot of the scientist's pay.