There are a myriad of careers in forensics for anyone interested in becoming qualified to apply. Forensic science is one of the most dynamic and diverse professions in the world with constantly changing technological advances keeping it there. Law enforcement professionals now rely quite heavily on the skill and reliability of forensic scientists but with this burden, the profession has had to create sub-divisions for ease of management. So what do you need to do and what are your options?
Firstly, you need to get a degree in forensics, computer science, chemistry and/or a bio-med degree will also be helpful depending on the area you wish to go in to. Some experience in law enforcement may help you and even replace a degree if your experience is considerable. However, you will always need specific training although this may be ‘on the job’ in some cases. A degree in forensics will give you a thorough grounding in the history of this fascinating science and your available options. This will help you to decide on the area in which you wish to specialise as it is highly unlikely that you will be able to cover all aspects of forensic science.
As mentioned, forensic science is a very dynamic field so whichever you choose, you can expect to be kept on your toes and required to think “outside of the box” whatever your area. Just don’t expect it to be as glamorous as it may be portrayed on your television screen!
Probably the best known of jobs in forensics is that of the forensic investigator. Here you will learn valuable ways to collect, store and analyse materials and fluids collected at the scene of a crime in such a way that they can be presented in court to support the investigations of law enforcement agencies. Great attention to detail is required to avoid an innocent person being accused of a crime they did not commit and much use will be made of technology in which to do this.
Other areas may concern forensic accountancy where detailed analysis of facts and figures is necessary to uncover crime. Forensic engineers may examine building materials and structures to look for deliberate shortcomings that could involve massive risks to human life and property. Forensic dentistry concerns the analysis of bite marks for example, to confirm or rule out that an individual was involved in a violent crime or present at a crime scene. Forensic nursing will obviously require a thorough medical training and entails strong observation skills and the ability to spot anomalies with the condition of patients. This work can involve working with sexual assault victims or even dead bodies.
Of the biggest up-and-coming and constantly evolving areas of forensics involves computers and the Internet. If you are a computer whizz, this may be for you. Tracking internet hijackers who take over and corrupt sites, recovering supposedly deleted data from individual computers or tracing pedophile rings are all essential in today’s electronic age. For this, you may be able to take a course in computer forensics online.
The above is just a sampling of careers in forensics and what you need to do. This is an incredibly complex area and as such, research is essential before you commit as once you embark on your journey, changes can be costly in terms of time and money.