"Certainly going back to Sherlock Holmes we have a tradition of forensic science featured in detective stories." -Jeffery Deaver

Are you a fan of Sherlock Holmes? Do you like reading books and watching TV series that are part of the investigation genre? If so, you're like many of us who enjoy the thrill of mysteries and the satisfaction that is had when clues are pieced together to discover the answer.

However, did you know that though famous detectives such as Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot are fictional characters, people exist who use science in real life to uncover truths that only biology and chemistry may solve?

Forensic science is a scientific discipline that is equally interesting as it is complex. 

Without further delay, in today's article, we shall consider forensic science fundamentals and how to get a job as a forensic scientist. Let's get investigating!

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Defining Forensic Science

Before we go on and start to mention all of the jobs available for those who boast a degree in forensic science, let's first answer the question, what is forensic science?

Forensic science is defined as the application of science to solve criminal and civil laws in the simplest of definitions.

Forensic science is also known as criminalistics. 

Forensic science is an indispensable subject that utilises aspects of chemistry and biology to help put criminals away and keep the streets safe. Without forensic science, it would be pretty difficult to develop objective findings. Forensic scientists use modern-day technological devices and databases to match what they have found to a person.

Forensic scientists are responsible for collecting, preserving, and analysing scientific evidence throughout the process of an investigation. Also, forensic scientists have the responsibility of updating law enforcers about their discoveries.

Forensic science is an excellent field of study for those who enjoy solving crimes and science fundamentals.

How to Become a Forensic Scientist

using the lab
Forensic scientists spend a lot of time in the lab to discover truths about crimes. (Source: Unsplash)

The process of becoming a forensic scientist is relatively straightforward and follows some indispensable steps. Such as? The following are the necessary stages that all aspiring forensic scientists must go through to become qualified:

  • Get Good Grades: before a BSc or Master's degree is studied, students must try and get good grades throughout the GCSEs and A-Levels in topics such as maths, biology, chemistry, and physics. High test results ensure acceptance to further education centres.
  • Get a Forensic Science Related Degree: while it may not always be necessary to have a forensic science degree to work as a forensic scientist, in most cases, employers require a similar certification. Therefore, a BSc in Science with Forensics Honours or equivalent degrees are admissable.
  • Select a Domain of Forensic Science to Specialise in: since the field of forensic science is quite varied, it is worthwhile to select a sector to specialise in and hone. Such as? Forensic toxicology, forensic psychology, forensic entomology, forensic podiatry, forensic pathology, forensic optometry, forensic odontology, forensic archaeology, forensic geology, forensic engineering, and forensic DNA analysis are just a few subgenres to analyse. 
  • Get Experience: before starting to work in forensic science, it is highly recommended to get experience by applying for internships, asking professionals for advice, and joining local law enforcement.

By following all four of the previously mentioned steps, you will be on your way to becoming a qualified forensic scientist in no time!

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Jobs Available for Forensic Scientists

finger prints
Fingerprints are analysed by detectives and forensic scientists to see whether they can determine who was on the scene of a crime. (Source: Unsplash)

Now that we've learned all about the necessary steps to become a forensic scientist let's take the time to discuss in which employment sectors forensic science is valued and sought after. By working, forensic scientists hone their craft and are allowed to try new techniques.

Some typical employers of forensic scientists might hire more than others; however, if a degree has been acquired from a reputable university, the sky is the limit!

Without further delay, the following mentions a few of the primary sectors where forensic scientists with a degree may find employment:

  • Law Enforcement: since forensic scientists are brilliant at analysing scientific matters to solve crimes, they may often find work at police stations or other law enforcement agencies such as the NHS. Jobs for forensic scientists in public sectors for law enforcement are less profitable; however, a lot of experience is acquired.
  • Academia: instead of keeping all of their knowledge to themselves, many forensic scientists have found work teaching others about the basics of criminology and forensics. Teaching positions for expert forensic scientists are available at vocational training schools or universities.
  • Private Industry: working as a forensic scientist in the private sector is usually available at companies that specialise in scientific developments or pharmaceutics. Forensic scientists working privately tend to make more money.

The three previously mentioned sectors are the ones that you will most commonly find those with forensic science degrees working. The following are some of the job titles that are similar to "forensic scientist" and that are accessible when possessing a forensic science degree:

  • Analytical chemist,
  • Biomedical scientist,
  • Crime scene investigator,
  • Detective,
  • Scientific laboratory technician,
  • Toxicologist,
  • Border Force officer,
  • Forensic computer analyst,
  • Police officer,
  • Science writer.

No matter which employment sector you choose to work in, forensic scientists should work hard to develop specific skills such as being attentive to detail, analytical, methodical in approach, patient, and highly concentrated on the material that must be studied in front of them.

It's worth stating that, in some cases, forensic scientists may switch their careers throughout their lifetime without having to go back to university to get another degree.

The Average Work Responsibilities of a Forensic Scientist

Having a job that you love is extremely valuable. Most people hate what they do because they work dead-end jobs that require them to complete the same menial tasks repeatedly. When there are many different responsibilities, a job becomes more enjoyable since you don't feel like your repeating yourself and the day goes by faster.

So, what does a forensic scientist do for work? What are their primary job responsibilities that make their career choice enjoyable in comparison to others? While the job tasks of forensic scientists may change depending on which sector they have found employment, the following list shows the most typical work responsibilities of a forensic scientist:

  • Gather relevant evidence from the scene of a crime to help prove a case, 
  • Testify in court about what they observed at the crime scene in question or share their expertise, 
  • Create reports based on the lab results, 
  • Verify the lab results to ensure that they are correct, 
  • Run lab tests to find if the evidence is relevant or not to the case, 
  • Find electronic data and analyse it with computers, 
  • Ensure that the tests are done in a timely fashion. 

Some forensic scientists may teach others more about forensic science basics or oversee other workers in more extensive laboratories.

Whatever the work tasks that a forensic scientist may have in front of them, one thing is for sure: their job is far from boring!

Indispensable Suggestions for Forensic Scientists

Whether you're learning to become a veterinarian, a lawyer, or a forensic scientist, there is a list of helpful advice from professionals and more experienced ones that make the process of studying and starting work more manageable.

Instead of scoffing at the tips and counsel that come from others, forensic scientists are wise to heed the advice given to them. 

Without further delay, the following list will highlight a few tips for students who are about to pursue a career in forensic science:

  • Apply for Internships: forensic science students need to apply for internships before starting to look for new employment positions on the job force. Why's that? The additional hands-on experience gained through internships is fantastic since it gives forensic science pupils an idea of the things their career will entail.
  • Hone Transferrable Skills: as is the case with any career, to excel as a forensic scientist, it is indispensable to acquire professional abilities that will help you excel at your job. For instance, pupils of forensic science are encouraged to hone communication, teamwork, research, and logical thinking skills.
  • Get Acquired with Forensics and Criminology: the world of forensic science is very layered; therefore, for students to prepare themselves effectively, it is of the utmost importance to take courses in criminal justice or to become familiar with evidence handling, ethics, and the penal laws of specific areas.
  • Hire a Tutor: as a student or a newly certified forensic scientist, it is essential to receive guidance; we powerfully suggest hiring a personal forensic science tutor to go through complex topics with you. The personalised approach and flexibility of a private tutor make learning forensic science a walk in the park.

While we could go on and on sharing more tips and tricks to make studying or working as a forensic scientist more efficient, we are confident that the previously mentioned suggestions are enough to start you off on the right foot.

In conclusion, the work responsibilities and the varied employment sectors where forensic scientists may find work make it an exciting field to learn more about.

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Brentyn

Avid movie-goer, reader, skier and language learner. Passionate about life, food and travelling.