Education

What Degree Do You Need To Be A Forensic Scientist

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 3 minute read

Scientific methods are used to assist in criminal investigations and legal proceedings by forensic scientists, who employ a variety of techniques and practices. If you’re curious about a career in forensic science but also interested in law or science, you’ve come to the right place.

Specialized Forensic Science Personnel

There are several types of forensic science you can specialize in. You may have seen on television that the field is a narrow one with few options, but this isn’t the case at all.

In this field, you may want to look into jobs such as toxicology, dentistry, pathology, digital science, engineering, or documentation science, just to name a few possibilities. Different evidence is studied in each of these fields by forensic scientists, but each requires a different set of skills to analyze. Physical substances like alcohol and drugs are examined by toxicologists. Engineers and pathologists may be asked to examine the construction or road design at a criminal site, while document experts may be asked to examine the handwriting or authenticity of important legal documents. Odontologists study dental records or dental remains.

To Begin, Begin with the Essentials

Forensic science encompasses a wide range of occupations, so choosing an area of specialization can have a significant impact on the courses you’ll take. However, even if you don’t know exactly where you want to go in your career, a bachelor’s degree is a good place to start. Having a bachelor’s degree is a good first step, and once you’ve gained some experience and knowledge in the field, you can go on to pursue a Master’s degree in a more specialized area.

General science classes, as well as pharmacology and computer science and statistics classes and biochemistry classes, are typically required for bachelor’s degrees in Forensic Science. Forensic scientists must be able to express themselves clearly both orally and in writing, so it is advised that prospective students take at least a few English-language classes.

In-depth Education

An advanced degree in your chosen field will not only allow you to specialize in your area of expertise, but also provide you with the opportunity to work in higher-level positions, such as laboratory manager. If you want to work in a high-profile position, you should know that your educational requirements will rise accordingly. There are a number of jobs in the previous list that necessitate specialized training and licensing. For example, a pathologist must have a medical degree, while an ondontologist must have a dental degree. Registered nurses are required to work as forensic nurses. Forensic accounting and photography, for example, may require certification even in less high-profile jobs, such as those in the insurance industry.

What Resources Can You Use to Learn More?

In addition to providing a comprehensive list of accredited graduate and undergraduate forensic programs in the United States, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) also provides information on programs outside the United States. An excellent starting point for learning more about a particular area of study and getting in touch with institutions that are happy to assist you with your inquiries.

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