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Forensic scientist

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Job Description

Forensic Science is the application of science to criminal and civil laws. Diving in deeper than just that sentence alone there is a lot involved in forensics. The typical entry level application for the job is a Bachelor's degree although education is discussed more in another section. Forensic scientists aid in criminal investigations by collecting and analyzing data and evidence from criminal cases. They preform physical and chemical tests on the submitted evidence they receive from the police or other law enforcement agencies(i.e. FBI, CIA). The physical evidence they receive can come from a few sources like the scene of the crime, off the victim, or in some cases both. Using different problem-solving methods, mathematical principles, complex instruments, and microscopic examining techniques they explain the details and intricacies of each piece of evidence from a crime. Typically when forensic scientists arrive on the scene of a crime they will take pictures of the surrounding area and the and start to gather evidence.http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Forensic+Science

Education

The minimum entry level education requirement to become a Forensic Scientist is a Bachelor's Degree which is four years of college. Although not required a Master's degree might help with specialized areas of the occupation such as DNA analysis or ballistics. There are several undergraduate programs that will also help out as well, for example: biochemistry, toxicology, and criminal justice courses. Students who are pursuing this occupation are also required to participate in extensive lab work and fulfill and internship. Generally in the field of forensics certification is not required however it varies depending on specialization. An example of this is if one desires to be a forensic odontologist, which are dentists, you must be licensed and certified by the state. Seeking certification in this field is not required however it can aid in job placement for all forensic scientists. Not only this but if someone is more interested in doing a specific part of forensic science they should research certification requirements for that specialized field. [1]

Careers

Forensic Science alone does not describe or talk about one specific job within the field. There are many different career options within the field. For example Forensic Technicians aid in investigating crime scenes and the collection of evidence. Bloodstain pattern analysts study exactly what the title sounds like; they examine blood stain patterns for clues to a crime. Forensic ballistics experts examine bullet trajectory and bullet damage and can assess what caliber of bullet was used and what type of gun was used. Forensic toxicologists study the effects of poisons and other substances have on the human body. Forensic pathologists are one of the most crucially important parts of any homicide investigation; their job is to assess the cause of death and can help in figuring out what weapon was used and what injury or injuries, if any, were fatal. There are countless other jobs within the field of Forensic Science these are just a few. Although it may not seem like it to some people every job in forensics is crucial in criminal investigations and the court of law.[2]

Evidence

Forensic Scientists when working on a criminal case will use many different types of evidence to support a case in the court of law. A few types of evidence that is examined include objects(guns or knives), substances(blood or drug samples), chemicals(paints, explosives, toxins), tissue traces(hair or skin), or impressions(footprints or tidemarks). When evidence is being analyzed in a lab by scientists it's usually by a scientist who specializes in a particular field. When examining chemical evidence it is very important that the evidence is handled properly to avoid contaminating it. DNA samples for example must be stored properly as well once in the lab. in criminal investigations the main form of evidence used for identification of victims is DNA. In the case of a severe crash or fire the victim is often unrecognizable by looks so a DNA sample is analyzed instead.[3]

Video

Brief video explaining what Forensic Science is.

References

  1. Unknown Author. Forensic Scientist Education Requirements and Career Info Study.com. accessed April 27, 2016
  2. Roufa, Timothy. Discover Careers in Forensic Science About Careers About.com Web. Last-modified December 16, 2014.
  3. Author unknown.org Forensic Science http://www.faqs.org . Web. May 10, 2016. Date accessed