How to become a Forensic Scientist

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Forensic scientists are professionals educated in the discipline of Forensic Science who gather evidence from crime scenes which may include vehicles, victims, and various other things. The Forensic Jobs also include the analysis of gathered data in a scientific procedure, the findings that come out are used in order to either prove the innocence or convict the person or the group of persons accused of a particular crime.

Forensic scientists are often known as crime lab analysts, criminalists or forensics. Most people who work as a forensic scientists work for the federal, state, local law enforcement, or various state-run investigative agencies.

The job profile of forensic scientists is quite interesting. For example, police may present clothing that needs to be tested for the presence of drugs. Forensic scientists are the ones who in this case are asked to examine the articles of clothing and determine if there is drug residue on them.

There are many things that the forensics team may also test and check for residue on them. Examples of this are burnt debris, inks, footprints, papers and many other things.

The forensic scientist dealing in responsible forensic jobs may be asked to provide their reports as well as a testimony in both civil and criminal cases. For instances in cases where a company is held accountable for the contamination of a stream or a river, the forensic scientist may be asked by the Government to test all the water samples for traces of the company produced waste.

In order to pursue Forensic Science the student has to study the following subjects,
  • Mathematics
  • Computers
  • Earth sciences
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
The very next requirement is a Bachelor's Degree with a major in Forensic Science, Natural Science and Physical Science (most colleges offer both Undergraduate and Post Graduate Degrees in Forensic Science).

A further Master's Degree or Doctorate would be preferred by the employers.

Talking of Forensic science and forensic jobs most of the laboratories offer the necessary initial on the job training. Trainees who might have served as police officers might enter the job and at the same time continue to pursue the college courses along with the work.

Prior experience

Forensic scientists and other professionals dealing with forensic jobs can come into the field from other professions like the Police or Armed Forces. The prior experience of such an occupation may help them cope well with the demands of this interesting yet bizarre job.

Forensic scientists if they want can rise up to the level of managers in the crime laboratories where they are employed. The forensics can also decide and plan the training of new crime lab analysts. Or else they can establish their own consulting businesses as well.

The earnings for the forensic jobs vary extensively determined on the basis of elements like education, specialty and the location of the employment. The general trend is somewhat like this:
  • Entry-level forensic lab technicians: $30,000 per year
  • Median salary for forensic technicians: $40,000 per year
  • Experienced forensic scientists with Bachelor's or Master's degrees: $70,000 per year
  • Medical doctors who work in the field of forensics and pathologists: $200,000 per year.
  • The added benefits include pension plans, medical insurance, and sick leave.
Even though forensic experts spend most of their time in clean surroundings inside laboratories with all mod cons, forensic scientists may go with the police into dangerous territories and may scrutinize very unlikable sights. This is a part of their job and that is what has to be accepted as well.
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