Individuals who excel at science and solving crimes will enjoy a forensic science career. Forensic scientists assist with analyzing specimens found at crime scenes. Some individuals are required to work at the actual location where a crime has occurred while others work at laboratories. During an investigation, a scientist carefully collects evidence while documenting its location.
In addition, sketches or photographs of the scene are necessary to solve a crime. Preserving and cataloging specimens is a vital part of a forensic scientist’s daily tasks. Evidence collecting and documentation are required to convict criminals who commit crimes. Individuals working in this job are exposed to body fluids that require using safety protocols to prevent infection.
A forensic science degree helps individuals find a job in this occupation. A bachelor’s degree with a specialization in forensic science is recommended. Students must learn about human anatomy, physiology, biology, chemistry, computers, and communication. While studying at a university, a student will participate in laboratory experiments to learn about microscopes and other equipment.
Computer classes will teach the databases that have information concerning DNA, fingerprints, tissue samples, ballistic testing, and others. Understanding legal procedures is helpful when a forensic scientist must testify in court about evidence found at a crime scene. Participating in autopsy procedures is required for students to understand the human body.
A forensic scientist might specialize in working either in a laboratory setting or on-site. An individual working in a forensic science laboratory will analyze samples using laboratory equipment and chemicals. A forensic scientist must understand how to read reports that have data such as toxicology and other information. This occupation uses medical tools, special lighting, and other equipment to prepare or examine specimens.
In addition, a forensic scientist may need to reconstruct a crime scene to assist law officials in capturing a criminal. Working with evidence in a forensic science occupation can be physically and emotionally unpleasant. A laboratory forensic scientist will typically work day shifts only. Alternatively, on-site forensic scientists might need to visit a location at unusual times.
In many geographic locations, a forensic scientist first trains as a law official or police officer. However, a forensic science degree is quickly becoming the standard for working in this occupation. Students should visit several universities to meet faculty, and view facilities such as classrooms before enrolling. The university should also have practical training that includes working in real forensic science laboratories and on-site locations. While in practical training or internships, a student will learn from more experienced forensic scientists.
Locations for internships can include coroner’s offices, morgues, crime laboratories, and police departments. Students can also specialize in particular types of forensic study to attain a master’s degree. After graduating with a forensic science degree, an individual can work for a morgue, police department, or medical examiner’s office. New employees may apprentice with individuals who have extensive job experience as forensic scientists.