What Is A Forensic Scientist?
If you’re interested in pursuing some sort of career in forensics, than one of the most popular options is to work as a forensic scientist.
As much as we’d prefer it not to be the case, there is always going to be crime – and this means there is always going to be a demand for people who can help solve those crimes and convict the criminals.
And as science and technology continues to evolve, the role of the forensic scientist will remain an important part of the overall criminal investigation field.
So What Is A Forensic Scientist?
A forensic scientist is someone that applies their scientific training, skills and experience in a criminal and legal environment to help catch and convict people who have committed crimes.
They are called upon to help extract and assess any physical evidence that’s been left at a crime scene, and then explain the details of that evidence in a court setting so that the appropriate legal action can be brought against the perpetrators of crime.
Forensic science encompasses a number of different disciplines and specializations, each of which deal with certain aspects of crime scenes, bodies, evidence and so on.
Some of these specialties include forensic anthropologists, forensic odontologists (dentists), forensic pathologists, forensic toxicologists, computer & digital forensic specialists as well as forensic psychologists/psychiatrists.
What Does A Forensic Scientist Do?
For example. where a body is in a state of decomposition and cannot be easily moved without possibly damaging what could be potentially important evidence, a forensic anthropologist may be called in to assist.
In this situation they will then work together with forensic pathologists and dentists in an attempt to identify such things as the identity of the body as well as a possible cause of death.
They will also attempt to uncover anything that can identify who else was involved in the death with the aim of building a list of suspects that may have caused or been involved in the death.
After the evidence has been collected and analyzed, and a case has been built based on the physical and other evidence, the second role of forensic scientists is to provide testimony in a court about this evidence and what it all points to.
Unlike other non-professional witnesses providing evidence such, they’re allowed to offer an opinion based on their skills and experience as to what they believe the evidence points to in terms of what happened, and who was at fault.
They’ll also need to be able to explain the details of the evidence, which at times can be quite technical and complicated, in such a way that it is easily understood by those sitting in the courtroom, and in particular the jurors and judge.
How Do You Become A Forensic Scientist?
The first thing you’re going to nee to do is get yourself a college degree within the sciences.
You’ll also need to think about which particular field of forensic science you’d like to enter into.
This will impact upon the studies that you do, with some fields such as odontology requiring much more intensive education than others such as anthropology.
After you’ve completed the necessary educational requirements, you’ll then need to start gaining experience in a practical setting, most likely by taking some sort of job where you’re assisting an experienced forensic scientist and learning what it takes to do the job effectively.
Along with the scientific aspects to the job, you’ll also need to work on your communication skills so that you can effectively explain to a court the significance of the evidence being presented.
You’ll also need to be the sort of person who is organized and prepared so that you’re able to answer any questions thrown at you which throw doubt on the validity of the evidence to the case at hand.
Forensic Scientists Career Prospects
As long as there is crime there’s a need for skilled forensic scientists to help solve those crimes.
The work is interesting and varied and being a forensic scientist can certainly provide you with a very fulfilling career path.