Forensic Science Careers

Forensic science is simply the application of science to the field of law particularly legal investigations. It is mainly concerned with solving crimes using any form of evidence that was found at the crime scene.  These may include blood, drugs, textile fibers, body fluids, hair, paint, glass etc.  After the evidence is located and collected, forensic specialists analyze it in laboratories through scientific methods and procedures.  The duties performed by forensic experts are very crucial in the entire process of criminal justice. They help reach the final conclusion as to whether the accused is actually guilty or not.

Degrees in Forensic Science
Forensic science programs can be found at associate, bachelors as well as masters level. Some schools offer programs in natural sciences with a concentration in forensic science. Even pure forensic science programs may require you to choose between a laboratory concentration and a field concentration. You should think about what careers in forensic science you want to take up and then choose a program and concentration accordingly. The curriculum of the program will vary depending on the level, concentration and institute that you enroll in but examples of courses that you may come across are listed below:

  • Principles of Science and Law
  • Basic/Advanced Courses in Forensic Psychology
  • General Biology: Cells, Genetics &Organ Systems
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Human Genetics
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Crime scene Pathology
  • Criminal Evidence & Proof
  • Death Investigations
  • Biochemistry
  • Human Genetics
  • Crime Victims

Due to the continually increasing number of students who are turning to online education, many institutes offer online degrees in forensic science. They are equally rigorous as far as curriculum is concerned and enable you to study within the comfort and convenience of your home. However considering the hands-on training that is required, some institutes also offer hybrid programs that require students to attend on-campus classes too.

Careers in Forensic Science
Today the field of forensic science has become more competitive due to the awareness of forensic evidence, especially because of popular media. As far as new job openings are concerned, they vary each year depending on the budget that is available with federal, state and local law enforcement.

Potential workplaces for forensic science graduates include crime labs, police departments, morgues or medical examiner offices. In 2012, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), forensic science technicians earned a median annual wage of $52,840. Some forensic professionals perform all general duties, whereas others specialize in a certain area. Forensic science technicians are also called criminalists or crime scene investigators and laboratory analysts. Those who are mainly involved in laboratory work may hold position titles such as forensic pathologists and latent print examiners.

The field of forensic science has become quite diverse today. With a degree in a relevant subject, you may also work as a forensic computer examiner or a digital forensics analyst. These experts particularly focus on computer based crimes like scams, credit card fraud and identity theft.


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