Individuals who are interested in beginning a career in forensic science should be aware there are many careers available within this field. While pursuing the track for one specific job isn’t usually a requirement in the first stages of an educational career, students should at least have an idea of their desired job. The following provides some examples of positions students may consider when exploring careers in forensic science.
A medical examiner is a government official who investigates suspicious deaths and injuries, and performs post-mortem examinations. While in some areas, these tasks may be split between a medical examiner and coroner, sometimes the two responsibilities are combined. Certain responsibilities include determining cause of death, maintaining death records, issuing death certificates, and identifying unknown deceased individuals, among other duties. In most jurisdictions, these professionals are required to have a medical degree.
Crime scene examiner
Many people are at least a little familiar with this title, due to the popular CSI: Crime Scene Investigation shows set in Miami, Las Vegas, and New York. However, as these are TV shows, the actual job responsibilities that are portrayed tend to be a little inaccurate. Some of the actual tasks include taking photographs, sketching and diagramming a scene, testifying in court, attending and photographing autopsies, and documenting evidence, among other duties. Some entry-level jobs in this particular position require only a two-year degree, while others ask for a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
The responsibilities involved in this job are described as investigating certain structures, products, materials, or components that have been found to be faulty, do not operate correctly, and have harmed individuals or property. The ultimate goal of forensic engineers for each case is to discover and explain the sequence of events that led to a particular failure. Particular examples include fire investigations, traffic accidents, and wrongful injury cases. In order to enter into this career, students must have earned an engineering degree, as well as an engineering license in the state in which they reside.
Crime laboratory analyst
These types of analysts typically spend most of their time in a lab environment. Most have also chosen to specialize in one specific field, such as controlled substances and toxicology, document examination, chemistry, fingerprinting, DNA, and firearm and toolmark identification, among other areas. Their expertise often uncovers evidence critical to cases, such as examination of trace evidence, crime weapons, DNA, and other evidence that has been found at a crime scene. Typically, the minimum educational requirement for this profession is a bachelor’s degree.
These are only a few of the available careers possible for those with a degree in forensic science or even criminal justice. As has been mentioned, all of these positions require at least a bachelor degree, as do the majority of the jobs in the forensic science field. Students should use the first few years of their higher educational experience to explore different areas to realize the topics in which they are most interested.