Forensic nurses treat patients who are victims of crime and sexual assault and work closely with law enforcement to collect evidence and assist with investigations, including death cases. In the US, forensic nurses earn more than $78,000 per year, a bit more than the US dollar converted salary in New Zealand where annual earnings are about NZ$98,000 ($71,709 USD). Forensic nurses in Canada earn about C$80,000 ($64,997 USD) compared to £44,000 ($52,627 USD) in the UK. Australia sees the highest level of income for this career field at more than AU$116,000 ($91,697 USD) while South Africa and India offer incomes on the lower end of the pay scale at about R311,000 ($23,440 USD) and Rs601,000 ($9,263 USD), respectively. This guide explores worldwide income potential for forensic nurses and salary varies by geographic region, professional experience, and work setting.
How Much Does a Forensic Nurse Make per Year?
This chart provides annual salary and hourly wages for forensic nurses in select countries worldwide.
|Forensic Nurse Salary||US||Canada||UK||Australia||New Zealand||India||South Africa|
Factors that Influence the Forensic Nurse Salary
Earning potential for forensic nurses sees a wide variance by geographic region and professional experience while work setting plays a smaller role due to the nature of work and close tie with law enforcement required for this position. Additional salary and career information for forensic nurses is provided in this guide.
1. Geographic Area
Forensic Nurse Salary in US
In the US, forensic nurses earn, on average, more than $78,000 per year with an additional $1,300 available through bonus pay. During the early career years, the average salary is just over $63,000 per year compared to more than $123,000 for those in senior level positions.
Forensic Nurse Salary in Canada
Entry level forensic nurses in Canada earn nearly C$65,000 per year. With additional experience and responsibility, annual earnings increase to more than $126,000. Forensic nurses of all experience levels earn an average annual salary of about C$80,000 with an additional C$1,300 possible through bonus income potential.
Forensic Nurse Salary in UK
Forensic nurses in the UK earn roughly £44,000 per year, and those with bonus income opportunities may receive an additional £700 or more. Newly trained forensic nurses can expect an average starting salary of nearly £36,000 per year while senior level professionals receive more than £69,000 annually.
Forensic Nurse Salary in Australia
Entry level forensic nurses in Australia receive starting pay that exceeds AU$94,000 per year, increasing to nearly AU$184,000 annually for senior level professionals with the most experience and responsibility. The average annual salary for forensic nurses of all experience levels is more than AU$116,000 with nearly AU$2,000 available through bonus income opportunities.
Forensic Nurse Salary in New Zealand
In New Zealand, forensic nurses beginning their careers receive an average annual starting salary of about NZ$79,000, increasing steadily throughout one’s career to more than NZ$154,000 per year for senior level professionals. The average annual salary is about NZ$98,000 with NZ$1,600 possible through bonus income pay.
Forensic Nurse Salary in India
Entry level forensic nurses in India typically earn more than Rs493,000 per year when starting their careers while senior level professionals can receive more than Rs962,000 annually. As a whole, forensic nurses in India earn an average annual income of nearly Rs601,000 plus an additional Rs10,000 through potential bonus earnings.
Forensic Nurse Salary in South Africa
Forensic nurses in South Africa earn about R311,000 per year, on average. Those with bonus income opportunity may receive an additional R5,000, on average. While the average starting salary for entry level positions is about R254,000 per year, senior level positions can garner more than R494,000 annually.
Global earning potential for forensic nurses increase significantly with additional experience resulting in an increase of between 92% and 96% in annual earnings. While annual earnings in Australia are greatest, experience potentially boosts income an additional AU$90,000 per year, or 96%, for senior level professionals compared to those at the entry level. The difference in pay for senior level positions compared to entry level positions is about 95% in India, New Zealand, and the US, while South Africa and Canada experience a boost of about 94%. The smallest increase is seen in the UK where the gap between entry level and senior level positions is about 92%, or £33,000 per year.
Forensic nurses work in law enforcement, morgues, hospital emergency rooms, and even attorneys’ offices. In addition to treating patients, forensic nurses may work in evidence collection, crime investigation, or perform autopsies. Those who work in for-profit hospital settings and attorneys’ offices may receive greater income potential and opportunities for bonus pay compared to their colleagues who work in the public sector, such as city and county morgues and law enforcement.
Most forensic nurses work a full-time schedule, but there may be some opportunities for part-time or flexible scheduling. Work hours are often during normal business hours Monday through Friday for those employed in attorneys’ offices and morgues, while law enforcement and hospital employment may necessitate scheduling that spans any day of week or time of day as well as additional on-call hours during emergency situations.
Bonuses and Benefit Packages
Forensic nurses often receive healthcare benefits covering medical, dental, and vision needs, as well as paid time off for major holidays, vacation time, and sick days. Some employers may offer allowances for training and meals, bonus income potential, and retirement savings plans. While there are some part-time positions available, they may not offer bonus and benefits.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a growth rate of 16% for registered nurses, including forensic nurses, between 2014 and 2024. This growth rate at it pertains to forensic nursing is due to technological advancements and improvements in the medical field that allow new testing and investigation procedures.
To work as a forensic nurse, a bachelor’s degree in nursing is required as well as a certificate in forensic nursing. Some may choose to complete a master’s degree with an emphasis in forensics. While additional credentials are not required, they may help job seekers be more competitive in their job search. Popular credentials include Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Adult/Adolescent certification (SANE-A) and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Pediatric certification (SANE-P) through the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) and Advanced Forensic Nursing through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
Forensic nurses earn solid salaries with a full benefits package and opportunities for additional bonus income. Advanced education and training are required, but salaries are reflective of these needs and offer a good return on educational investment. Growth is expected in the field of forensic nursing, with future income potential expected to remain positive, and those who obtain additional professional certifications may be more competitive for employment opportunities.