Most jobs in the forensic science field are not glamorous. They involve great attention to detail and may involve standing for extended periods of time.

There are various disciplines in forensic science. Some of the most well-known disciplines are forensic pathology, toxicology, anthropology, and criminalistics. However, there are many other, lesser known forensic disciplines that are available as career choices: geology, archeology, odontology, or engineering.

Let me breakdown some of the most popular discipline job descriptions for you:

Forensic Science Technician/Crime Scene Investigator

Collect, identify, classify, and analyze physical evidence related to criminal investigations.

Perform tests on weapons or substances, such as fiber, hair, and tissue to determine significance to investigation.

May testify as expert witnesses on evidence or crime laboratory techniques.

May serve as specialists in area of expertise, such as ballistics, fingerprinting, handwriting, or biochemistry

Forensic Accountant

Exceptional demand for forensic accountants to investigate falsification of financial statements, securities fraud, insurance fraud, and identity theft

Investigates corporate fraud - (i.e. Enron, WorldCom, Tyco)

Latent Print Examiner

Testifies in court on fingerprints, latent prints, crime scene photography, and other physical evidence

Develops experience in comparative analysis of inked and latent fingerprints and palm prints

Demonstrates continuous effort to improve operations, decrease turnaround times, streamline work processes, and work cooperatively and jointly to provide quality seamless customer service

Why do you need to study a particular discipline? Simple. You want to become an expert in a specific field. Yes, this takes education, specialized training, and experience but to be considered an expert is just that—one who has the education, training, and experience to be viewed and accepted as an expert. But who needs forensic science experts?

Law Enforcement Agencies (Federal, State, & Local)

Crime Labs (Affiliated & Private)

Coroner/Medical Examiner

Hospitals

Universities

Forensic Consultants

Fortune 500 Companies

Legal Services

What are some of the educational requirements?

Each field has special requirements. For example, fingerprint examines may need only 40 hours of specialized training to pass the test. Forensic Pathologists must have a medical degree requiring many years of study.

Many universities and colleges are offering forensic courses such as forensic chemistry, crime scene investigation, forensic biology along with more and more degrees in a forensic science discipline such as forensic toxicology, forensic science, and forensic chemistry. Make sure you do your research—find what schools offer the courses/degree that aligns with your forensic career.

What other requirements are needed?

Many agencies are now requiring experience PRIOR to candidates being hired. So, the centuries old question of how to get that experience rears its ugly head! There are training programs such as The Forensic Science Academy or Death Investigations Training Academy, which offer specific training including hands-on training. Other ways to get training include online courses, volunteer groups, Citizen Police Academies, seminars, events, and webinars. You just need to do some research to find what is local to you.

Remember, if you have any questions about starting your forensic career or joining The Forensic Science Academy, please email me at [email protected].

~Terri