Criminalistics is a word that is used to cover a range of different jobs and tasks within the field of forensic science and criminal investigation.

These jobs play an important part in understanding what happened at a crime scene by analyzing a range of psychical evidence using a variety of tools and techniques.

This conclusions drawn from the analysis of this evidence can then used to identify and arrest suspects, and build a case against them to prove their guilt in a court of law.

Forensic Criminalistics Jobs & Sub-Fields

Within the field of forensic criminalistics there are many different jobs. Most of jobs are reasonably well known due to the popularity of shows depicting criminal investigators using them to solve crimes (in 47 minutes or less)


This is definitely one of the better known jobs in  forensic criminalistics.

The jobs of a ballistics expert is to use the physical evidence from gun shots found at a crime scene (such as bullet shells and marks made by bullet impacts) to determine the type of gun used, the number of guns used, the number of shots fired and so on.

A sub-field of ballistics is ballistic fingerprinting, which is the technique of using identifying marks left on bullets by guns, to match a bullet with a specific gun, and therefore link a gun and its owner with a crime scene where that bullet was found.

DNA Testing

With advances in our knowledge and understanding of the human body and DNA, comes the ability to distinguish each individual from everyone else by way of their own unique DNA characteristics.

So if any evidence is found at a crime scene which comes from a human, it can then be tested and matched against DNA databases as well as compared with DNA from suspects.


This is among the oldest of the criminalistic disciplines and has successfully been used for many years to identify perpetrators of crime and convict them of those crimes.

The job of the fingerprint analyst is to carefully extract fingerprints from a crime scene, analyze them and compare them with fingerprint databases.

Forensic Toxicology

The job of a forensic toxicologist is to carry out analyses to determine of a death may have been caused by some sort of chemical substance, and if so what that substance was and how it was ingested.

Provide Testimony

No matter what field of criminalistics a person is engaged in, they also have an additional role to play besides those mentioned above.

They will often be called on to report on their findings in any subsequent litigation, provide testimony as to their conclusions and defend these conclusions in the face of questioning

Criminalistics Training

So if you’re interested in a career in criminalistics, you’re obviously going to be interested in the training involved, perhaps wondering if there is a criminalistics degree or some other certification involved.

Because criminalistics falls under the forensic science banner, it is possible to get started as a criminalistic specialist through a forensic sciences degree.

Within this degree you would then choose various specialties based on your own interests.

Criminalistic Jobs & Careers

Because of the wide range of disciplines and a never ending need for crimes to be solved, the job and career prospects within criminalistics remains strong.

Salary potential is good and can be well above average where you are highly skilled and have good experience under your belt.


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