What is the Beginning Salary for a Computer Forensic Expert in Virginia?

As you prepare to embark on an exciting career as a computer forensic expert in the state of Virginia, one of your biggest questions is probably about what you can expect to earn when you're just starting out. Unfortunately, that's not an easy question to answer. Your starting salary will be dependent on many factors, including but not limited to where you got your education and your level of education; any relevant experience, including internships, you may have in the field; the company or business where you will be working; and the city in which you plan to live and work. While we can't give you a concrete answer of what you can expect to make, we can take a look at the average salaries for the state of Virginia.

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According to the United States Department of Labor, the average salary for a computer forensic expert working in the state of Virginia is approximately $81,000 per year. When compared to the average salary for all other professions across the board, which is a meager $41,400, that figure is very high. However, you shouldn't expect to make this amount right away. In fact, some professionals, including those who have been working for years in the field, don't even make that amount. Usually, this has something to do with the area in which they live.

Alexandria tends to have the highest paid computer forensic experts with the average salary being approximately $83,000 to $92.000 per year. Then comes Richmond, where the average annual salary ranges from $68.000 to $76,000. In Norfolk and Virginia Beach, the average yearly salary is approximately $61,000 to $68,000. The lowest paying cities are Williamsburg, with an average of $55,000 to $58,000 each year and Lynchburg, with an average salary of $52,000 to $58,000.

Before you jump ahead of yourself and plan a move to one of the higher paying cities, consider some other things you can do to increase your expected salary amount with making such a huge transition. First, take a look at your education. While an associate's degree and/or a certificate might land you a job in the computer forensics field, it's not going to put you in the higher salary range. If money is what you're after, then you'll want to go right back to school and pursue at least a bachelor's degree. Otherwise, you're going to have to spend a very long time working your way up to where you want to be; what would take you 15 years or more to accomplish by working your way up the professional ladder could be accomplished by attending an undergraduate program for four years, or two if you already have your associate's degree. Even if you already possess a coveted bachelor's degree, it's worth it to think about earning a master's or doctorate's degree if you really want to bring home the big bucks right off the bat.

No matter what your educational level, one thing you can definitely do to help yourself earn more money is to stay at your first position for as long as possible. Staying at a particular job and/or with a particular company or business for a long period of time makes you appear more reliable, professional, and stable than applicants who frequently change jobs. Also, the longer you stay at a particular position, the more likely you are to be eligible for raises in pay or for promotions which carry with them a higher salary. If you can stick with a job, then you won't have to move to see your earnings increase.

Salaries from BLS.

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