How to Become a Forensic Scientist
Do you want to uncover the scientific secrets that lie behind the most interesting of crimes? Have you spent hours watching CSI and longing to be the one to find that key piece of evidence? Well, then, a career as a forensic scientist sounds just right for you. Read on to find out how to become one.
Our sources for this article: National Careers Service
Why Choose a Career in Forensic Science?
If you’re wondering why you should choose a career in forensic science and want to get an understanding of what forensic scientists do, we’ve got you covered. We’ll walk you through the ins and outs of this exciting career field.
So, what is a forensic scientist? The field of forensic science is incredibly fascinating, allowing budding scientists to put their knowledge and skills into practice to help solve high-profile crimes alongside police forces at scenes of crimes and in a lab.
You can choose to specialise in a particular area such as biochemistry, DNA analysis, DNA profiling, body fluids or bloodstain pattern analysis, or another specialism, working with other experts to piece together events that have occurred.
There are a variety of ways to work your way into a career as a forensic scientist, and you can find out how to kick-start this fascinating career below.
What Qualifications do I Need to Become a Forensic Scientist?
So, how do you become a forensic scientist, and what forensic science requirements are there to start a forensic science or forensic analysis career? There are different routes you can take in order to achieve the qualifications for a forensic scientist that will help you to embark on your journey to working in this field.
GCSEs and A-Levels
Degree and specialist courses
The easiest way to get into a career as a forensic scientist is by completing a degree or course in forensic science, a course in biology, or another science-based subject. Having completed a course in criminology, law, a science subject, master’s degree, or other relevant bachelor’s degree, can help you learn skills for entry-level roles whereby you can work your way up to becoming a forensic scientist.
Don’t be put off if you feel that your previous education isn’t relevant, as forensic science uses skills and knowledge from a wide range of areas, so it’s always worth looking into courses to find out if you’d be a good fit.
Skill Set Required for a Forensic Scientist
Having an inquisitive mind and the patience to work hard to uncover the evidence you need is essential, as is the ability to be open-minded about the situation and evidence you are analysing. As you will be working with other professionals such as crime scene investigators, being patient when waiting on other evidence and using your communication skills is essential in this line of work.
Being able to handle stress
When visiting crime scenes, being able to handle stressful or distressing environments is a must, as well as learning to handle tough cross-examination of evidence in court. Getting some work experience in the forensic science, law enforcement, or criminal justice sector is a great idea, as it will show dedication and that you are aware of the environment you will be entering into.
Attention to detail
Those who are already interested in a career in science may think this is an obvious skill. However, it is often overlooked. Being able to pay attention to every detail is vital, including when physically analysing data and trace evidence as well as being aware of how you interact with the crime scene or a laboratory setting. Using equipment that protects you, others, and the evidence is essential, and always being mindful of this means you could be well on your way to becoming an expert forensic scientist.
What Does a Forensic Scientist Do Day-to-Day?
In your role as a forensic scientist, you will be in the lab uncovering scientific evidence to help criminal investigators to find out what exactly happened at the crime scene, presenting evidence, and acting as an expert witness for court cases.
It’s worth bearing in mind that forensic science is a detail-oriented and professional role, so if you love the glitz and glamour of shows like CSI, bear in mind that it can take a while to decipher what has actually happened in a criminal investigation.
How Much Does a Forensic Scientist Earn?
So, how much does a forensic scientist earn in the UK? The average salary for a forensic scientist is between £18,000 and £45,000 a year, according to the National Careers Service. The average salary for a forensic scientist in the UK can vary, depending on whether you choose to work within the public or private sector.
Finding work within this sector can open up lots of opportunities, and your work can be varied and change from day-to-day . If you work hard throughout your professional development, you can expect your earnings to rise as you widen your knowledge and take on a greater amount of responsibility
Typical Duties for a Forensic Scientist
A forensic scientist will be across lots of different tasks. However, you may find that your roles ebbs and flows depending on what cases you’re working on. Some tasks may take less time than others, so patience and organisation are key qualities to succeeding in this role.
Are you keen to start on this career path and open yourself up to new opportunities? Excited to work with law enforcement and police departments to help solve cases? Ready to start your journey towards becoming a forensic scientist? Explore the wide range of courses we offer and find out how you can make your dreams come true today.