How to Become a Forensic Scientist

This article provides in-depth information into What is a Forensic Scientist? What Forensic Scientist do? Degrees for Forensic Scientist, Steps to become Forensic Scientist and much more.

Forensic Scientist

A forensic scientist collects evidence and analyzes the evidence in a laboratory and summarizes their findings in written reports. They often testify in court, particularly if they have specialized areas of expertise such as fingerprinting, biochemistry, DNA analysis, blood spatter patterns, chromatography analysis, or handwriting analysis.

What does Forensic Scientist do ?

A forensic scientist provides impartial scientific evidence for use in courts of law to support the prosecution or defense in criminal and civil investigations.

  • Analyses samples, for example, hair, body liquids, glass, paint, and medications, in the research facility.

  • Apply techniques such as gas and high-performance liquid chromatography, scanning Electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, infrared spectroscopy and genetic fingerprinting

  • Sift and sort evidence, frequently held in minuscule quantities

  • Record findings and collect trace evidence from scenes of crimes or accidents

  • Attend and examine scenes of crimes

  • Liaise with team members and coordinate with outside agencies such as the police

  • Analyse and interpret results and computer data

  • Review and supervise the work of assistants

  • Present the results of your work in written form or by giving oral evidence

  • Justify findings under cross-examination in courts of law

  • Research and develop new forensic techniques.


Steps for becoming Forensic Scientist

1

Earn A Bachelor’s Degree

To become a forensic scientist a student should first seek after a bachelor’s degree program, ideally in one of the natural sciences or in forensic science specifically. Although requirements for entry-level or trainee work in one of the forensic science disciplines often vary according to the law enforcement or governmental agency, the majority of employers require, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.

2

Earn A Master’s Degree

Some jobs in forensic science require an advanced degree and specialized training. For these jobs, student have to complete a master’s degree in forensic science. A master’s degree in this field also increases the marketability of the candidate. Most of the forensic scientist holds a master’s degree in forensic science.

3

Pursue An Internship

An internship is a great opportunity for a student to gain hands-on experience in the forensics field. A student should do an internship during their degree program to enhance their chances of getting hired.

4

Gain Experience

Once student lands in a job he will work under the supervision of a senior forensic scientist. Many employers have training programs in place for new graduates, while others have specific probationary periods.

5

Pursue Professional Certification

In addition to completing a degree program in forensic science and a training period or program, many forensic scientists seek professional certification through a forensic specialty board. Some employers require their forensic scientists to achieve certification, while some forensic scientists pursue certification as to achieve professional recognition or advance into a supervisory role.


Forensic Scientist Salaries

Forensic Scientist

Forensic Scientist Degree Levels

Bachelors

Bachelor’s degrees in forensic science may be in the form of a bachelor of science in biology or chemistry, or they may be forensic science degrees with concentrations in biology or chemistry. Further, some forensic science bachelor’s degrees allow students to focus their degree on a specific area of forensic science, such as DNA, trace evidence, or ballistics.

Molecular biology
  • Genomics & Post-Genomics

  • DNA Replication

  • Retroviral & HIV molecular biology

Objectives
  • To study about nucleic acid structure

  • The mechanics of replication in bacteria

  • Repair, transcription, and translation in bacteria

Forensic biochemistry
  • Statistics

  • Spectroscopy

  • Analysis of Forensic Samples

Objectives
  • Analysing forensic samples

  • Review the existing scientific literature

  • Apply modern methods of forensic analysis

Microbiology
  • The Bacterial Cell

  • Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology

  • Molecular Regulation

Objectives
  • Provide a conceptual and experimental background in microbiology

  • Comparative characteristics of microbial organisms

  • Physical and chemical microbial control

Masters

A master’s degree in forensic science provides students with the opportunity to focus their forensic science careers on a specific area of forensic science. Many individuals seek master’s degrees as to advance their career.

Criminalistics
  • Crime Scene Investigation

  • Organic and Inorganic Analysis

  • Bloodstain pattern analysis

Objectives
  • To learn recognition and analysis of physical evidence

  • examinations of criminal cases

  • Reporting in criminal law

Forensic Biology
  • History & Basic Genetics

  • DNA Extraction & Quantitation

  • DNA Statistics

Objectives
  • To explores fundamental procedures of DNA technology

  • Application of DNA to forensic settings (human and non-human)

  • Collect, analyze, and present information

Biomedical Forensic Science
  • Forensic Genetics and Medicine

  • Genomic and epigenomic medicine

  • Analytical Toxicology

Objectives
  • Basic biomedical knowledge in the legal system

  • Human biological evidence

  • Bloodstain pattern analysis

Doctorate

Ph.D. programs are generally reserved for advanced study in forensic chemistry, forensic biology, and forensic biochemistry, thereby making them ideal for individuals interested in pursuing scholar work or teaching opportunities.

Crime Scene Reconstruction
  • Testimony

  • Photography

  • Diagramming

Objectives
  • Effective crime  scene management

  • Comprehensive and accurate analysis of evidence

  • Objective analysis of evidence

Forensic Toxicology
  • Pharmacokinetics and Metabolism

  • Workplace Drug Testing

  • Quality Control and Assessment

Objectives
  • The study of drugs

  • Implications of drugs in a forensic setting

  • Classification of poisons

Criminal Law & Ethics
  • Criminal Law and Procedure

  • Criminal Responsibility

  • Imputability

Objectives
  • Explores elements of crimes against property

  • Principles and theories of responsibility

  • Legal concepts and their practical application

Certificate

Certificates in forensic science are often pursued by individuals who want to supplement their main degree program, while graduate certificates in forensic science are ideal for those who already possess a bachelor’s degree in natural science or for professionals already employed in the forensic science field and are interested in focusing their career on a specific area of forensic science.

Forensic Trace Analysis
  • Fingerprint Comparison & Background

  • Physical Patterns Shoeprints

  • Glass Evidence Analysis

Objectives
  • Impression and trace evidence analysis

  • Securing a crime scene

  • Various types of evidence

Forensic Serology
  • Advanced body fluid identification techniques

  • DNA introduction

  • Biological Evidence

Objectives
  • Contemporary forensic biochemistry

  • Collection, examination, and preservation of evidence

  • Evidentiary value

Human Molecular Biology
  • Molecular genetics theory

  • Haploid and diploid organisms

  • Evaluate scientific reports

Objectives
  • Microbiological techniques

  • coli as a model system

  • Geological and biological evolution