How Do I Become a Forensic Scientist?

Evidence is the essence of any trial. The prosecution attempts to admit evidence in order to prove the guilt of a defendant. The defendant challenges the admissibility of certain types of evidence, such as fingerprints or DNA gathered from the scene of the crime. No one in the courtroom ever sees the person behind the gathering of this evidence, however. This person happens to be the forensic scientist. A forensic scientist gathers evidence from crime scenes and administers tests upon it in a laboratory. The forensic scientist may gather human hair, DNA, blood or other types of evidence that are relevant for the jury in a trial to consider. The jury is able to make its determination of guilt based upon a view of the relevance of the evidence in a case. Because of this, the forensic scientist plays an incredibly important role in having an impact on the outcome of a trial. If certain evidence may not be admitted, then a jury may not be able to honestly determine the guilt of a defendant. Maybe you have wondered, “How do I become a forensic scientist?” When you want to become a forensic scientist, it is essential for you to understand the educational requirements necessary for this career.

What’s it like to be a forensic scientist?

As a forensic scientist, the majority of your time may be spent in the laboratory. Your work will depend on what a supervisor requires of you. If you work for a lab, then you may spend all of your time analyzing evidence and preparing it for admission into a trial. Your work may require packaging evidence so that a jury can have the chance to observe the evidence. You may also have to handle complex issues in a case, such as extracting DNA from a sample of evidence. The trend in this field has been for forensic scientists to obtain DNA samples for use in trial. You may also be called to testify as an expert witness in a case. If you want to become a forensic scientist, you should be prepared to work extended hours in complex cases.

Education Requirements

To become a forensic scientist, you should have a strong interest in the sciences. You should also enjoy being part of the investigation team of an act of crime. You can prepare for a career in forensic science by studying biology, anatomy and other science classes in high school and college. A bachelor of arts in biology is the typical degree that forensic scientists obtain. You may also be able to find a specialized program in forensic science at a college. These sorts of programs give you the opportunity to gain experience in gathering and testing evidence. You should try to participate in an internship program at a local police department too. An internship experience can allow you to see the daily tasks that forensic scientist does.

Salary & How to Get a Job

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a forensic scientist is about $51,000 a year. When you want to become a forensic scientist, you should apply for positions at a police department forensic unit or in a laboratory. You may also be able to find open positions at a university.