Forensic science is concerned with the scientific principles that are applied for crime investigations. A forensic science technician investigates crimes through collecting physical evidence for analysis. To become a forensic scientist, one must possess skills related to forensic science including problem solving and analytical thinking, and must have a strong background in math and science. It will be beneficial for the person interested in this work to be familiar with matters concerning the job description of a forensic scientist, required education and training, forensic science salary and conditions, and degree as well as careers in forensic science.
Job Description Of Forensic Scientists
It is the job of the technician in forensic science to collect, preserve and to analyze the gathered evidence from crime scenes. This technician specializes in areas including DNA analysis, firearm examination, performing tests on weapons or substances such as fiber, tissue, body fluids and hair for investigation purposes. A technician in forensic science also prepares reports and often gives testimony when criminal cases come to trial.
The Working Environment
Most technicians work in laboratories and have regular hours, some work irregular hours to collect crime scenes’ data. In order to operate sophisticated laboratory equipment, advances in automation and information technology are required since technicians use computers, equipment for electronic measuring and experimental apparatus for analyzing evidence. Some forensic scientists work in hazardous environments and might be exposed to different hazards from chemicals, equipment or toxic materials. Although there are risks involved including the exposure in human body fluids and firearms, these working conditions present little risk if proper procedures and safety precautions are followed. For some, this type of profession can be distressing and unpleasant.
Forensic Science Salary In The US
A forensic science salary varies depending on several conditions. For US trainees or assistant technicians, their starting salaries would be around $41,000 to $45,000. Having MSc or PhD provides greater benefits for the increase on the salary scale. The salaries increase to $65,000 – $71,000 with two or three years of experience. For those at senior levels, the salaries would be $70,000+. Working hours are variable since there are additional hours needed for the job to get done. Aside from forensic science salary, there are other factors to consider. There are cases when giving evidence in court involves working unsocial hours. Although most of the works are laboratory-based, forensic scientists may have to go to the crime scenes. The availability of posts geographically is restricted by the location of laboratories. It is common to have evening and weekend call-outs to the crime scenes. Although it is uncommon to have overseas works, it is not unusual to attend at conferences.
Forensic Science Certifications And Degrees
There are certifications and degrees listed in forensic science programs.
• A diploma in forensic science allows students to take some classes to receive training without pursuing a lengthy degree program
• Although the crime scene technical certificate does not substitute for a forensic science degree, it does train the students to acquire necessary skills for becoming a forensic scientist
• An associate degree in forensic science provides a basic understanding of the field. It is also a good way for entry-level work or advanced study. The associate’s programs involve specialized technical courses and course in natural science.
• There is a bachelor of science in criminal justice offered to allow students to concentrate with this field of study and cover topics like juvenile delinquency.
• Students want to get a high paying forensic science salary and well-respected job. Having a master of science in forensic science offers greater job opportunities. The master’s degree may take for about two years, but students will receive advanced training in laboratories and theory-based classes.
Qualifications And Requirements
When it comes to considering forensic science careers, there are qualifications and training that are needed.
To qualify for entry-level positions, forensic technicians need a bachelor’s degree. Positions in forensic science require a degree to work in the field, and a period of on-the-job training with extensive hands-on experiences with different laboratory equipment as well as computers and related equipment are required. People who are interested in careers in forensic science should consider taking as many high school math and science courses as possible. It is vital to have a solid background in applied chemistry, math and physics. Since technicians are required to make reports and document their findings orally and in writing, they should acquire communication skills and be able to work well with other. They also must have computer skills like computer modelling since computers are often used in research and development laboratories, especially in forensic psychology.
It is not easy to become forensic scientists and enjoy getting forensic science salary as there are challenging conditions and several skills required to become experts in this field. However, people who are into collecting evidence in crime scenes and want to start a career in forensic science can succeed with advanced studies and experiences. They must pay attention to all the requirements and conditions to qualify.