Forensic accountants with the FBI investigate the financial aspects of crime, fraud and corruption. Using a combination of accounting and investigative skills, these professionals help the FBI on cases involving terrorism, national security and a wide variety of financial crimes. The FBI's forensic accounting team was even responsible for tracing the funding sources of the 9/11 hijackers as part of an effort to prevent future attacks.
FBI Forensic Accounting Salaries
According to USAJOBS.gov, forensic accountants with the FBI earn a starting salary of $51,995 as of September of 2011. Those with a master's degree can earn starting salaries as high as $67,589 while applicants with a Ph.D. in this field can earn as much as $81,779. All FBI accountants are eligible for additional location pay in areas with a high cost of living, as well as significant health and insurance benefits.
Salaries for Government Forensic Accounting Jobs
The federal government offers the highest salaries in the U.S. for forensic accountants, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Forensic accountants working for federal agencies such as the FBI earn an average of $42.94 per hour, or $89,310 annually as of 2010. Those employed by state agencies earn $27.14 per hour, or $56,460 annually, while forensic accountants working in local government earn $28.46 hourly, or $59,190 per year.
Forensic Accountant Salaries
Louisiana State University reveals that the average starting salary for forensic accountants throughout the U.S. ranges from $25,000 to $40,000 as of 2011. After three to four years of experience, these professionals can expect to earn between $70,000 and $80,000 per year. The top earners in the forensic accounting field earn as much as $125,000 to $150,000 annually. Students majoring in forensic accounting can increase future earning power by completing internships in fraud or forensics.
Salaries for All Accountants
Forensic accountants earn more on average than accountants in other disciplines. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants earn an average of $33.15 per hour, or $68,960 per year, with a median wage of $29.66 per hour, or $61,690 per year as of 2010. The lowest 10 percent of earners average $38,940 while the highest 10 percent earn $106,880 per year.