Forensic science offers a wide variety of career options depending on how much education a person wants to earn.
A Career in Forensic Science
Entry level careers in forensic science focus on working at a crime scene or working in a laboratory.
Forensic science technicians that work at a crime scene will analyze the area looking for clues as to what happened. A crime scene technician will look for anything the perpetrator may have left behind such as fingerprints, fibers from clothing or carpet, bodily fluids, and weapons. The forensic science technician will use this information to recreate what happened. Technicians may appear in court to testify about their discoveries.
Forensic science technicians that work in laboratories examine the crime scene evidence. He or she will perform tests or use chemicals to gain information from the physical evidence that has been left behind.
Both types of technicians will prepare a report of their findings to present to the court, attorneys, and law enforcement.
As of May 2010, the mid-range salary for forensic science technicians was $51,000. Depending on the level of education, the salary will increase. If one takes advanced degrees and specializes in a particular field of study such as toxicology or DNA, the average salary can be as high as $67,000.
Higher salary can be earned at the level of forensic pathologist, medical examiner, forensic psychiatry, or forensic anthropologist. Depending on the specialty, doctors of forensic science can earn up to $250,000 annually.
Minimum education to become a forensic science technician is a bachelor's degree in forensic science, biology, or chemistry. When choosing a university look for courses in biology, chemistry, and math. At the bachelor's level forensic scientists may work independently as a consultant to multiple agencies or choose to be on the payroll of a law enforcement agency or laboratory.
At the master's level, students can expect to perform in-depth studies of chemistry, biology, mathematics, physics, and psychology. Students may choose a concentration in one of these fields.
One must earn a bachelor's and master's degree before joining a doctorate program. At the doctorate level, candidates will participate in four years of medical school and then a residency program lasting at least four years.
Professionals in forensic science are required to take continuing education credits to stay up to date on the latest advancements in their field.
Schools For Forensic Science