Forensic Scientist

Forensic Scientist

Forensic Scientist Job Description

A forensic scientist gathers physical evidence from crime scenes. He or she then analyzes that evidence to help in the investigation of the crime. Forensic scientists are sometimes called crime scene investigators or forensic science technicians.

What Does Forensic Scientist Do?

– examine, test, and analyze tissue samples, chemical substances, physical materials, and ballistics evidence, using — recording, measuring, and testing equipment;
– interpret laboratory findings and test results to identify and classify substances, materials, and other evidence collected at crime scene;
– collect and preserve criminal evidence used to solve cases;
– confer with ballistics, fingerprinting, handwriting, documents, electronics, medical, chemical, or metallurgical experts concerning evidence and its interpretation;
– reconstruct crime scene to determine relationships among pieces of evidence;
– prepare reports or presentations of findings, investigative methods, or laboratory techniques;
– testify as expert witness on evidence or laboratory techniques in trials or hearings;

Employment Facts

In 2008, 13,000 people were employed as forensic scientists. They worked primarily for state and local governments.

Forensic Scientist Educational Requirements

Basic Forensic Scientist Educational Requirements – Many employers prefer applicants who have at least two years of specialized training or associate degrees in applied science or science-related technology. Others prefer applicants with bachelor’s degrees in chemistry, biology, or forensic science. Career preparation is also available through two year formal training programs that combine the teaching of scientific principles and theory with practical hands-on application in a laboratory setting with up-to-date equipment.

Other Requirements

Science technicians must have strong communications skills. Technicians should be able to work well with others. Organizational ability, an eye for detail and skill in interpreting scientific results are also important.

Advancement Opportunities

Technicians usually begin work as trainees in routine positions, under the direct supervision of a scientist or a more experienced technician. As they gain experience, technicians take on more responsibility and carry out assignments under only general supervision, and some eventually become supervisors.

Forensic Scientist Salary and Earnings

Forensic scientists earned a median hourly wage of $24.75 and a median annual salary of $51,480 in 2009 .

Further Information

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