How to Become a Forensic Scientist: Forensic science is a growing area in the world of criminal investigations. This exciting profession is highly respected and integral to maintaining law and order in our society. To become a professional forensic scientist, you must have experience in science and a willingness to undergo on-the-job training.
How to Become a Forensic Scientist?
How to Become a Forensic Scientist in India? There are two steps to becoming a forensic expert. First, students must complete a bachelor’s degree from an approved program, and second, they must gain experience working in a forensic team that offers training. The degree requirement can be fulfilled across a number of different science majors.
Students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in any of the following areas can use their degree for this profession: biology, microbiology, chemistry, general sciences, additional sciences, or physics. It is also recommended that students have an education in mathematics and develop good writing skills in English, philosophy, or any other liberal arts courses.
- Employment Experience and Specialization
Once the degree program is completed, students can begin looking for work with forensic teams. Many departments will hire students with impressive scientific backgrounds to start developing skills in the laboratory. As there are specialties within forensic science, students will begin as technicians learning a variety of different processing skills and techniques under direct supervision.
When more experience is earned, students may find their interests, or the needs of their employer, help define the specialty they will begin practicing. As more knowledge and skills are learned, technicians may begin working under less supervision and helping to develop new techniques to test and process evidence.
- Specializing as a Forensic Scientist
Though general sciences are the usual route to becoming a forensic scientist, there are also a number of colleges in India that offer courses in forensic science.
- TEZPUR UNIVERSITY, Tezpur
- DG Vaishnav College, Chennai
- Loyola College, Chennai
- Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
- Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune
- BU Bhopal, Bhopal
- SRM University, Amaravati
- St. Xaviers College, Mumbai
- S. S. JAIN SUBODH P. G. COLLEGE, Jaipur
Students who graduate with a forensic science undergraduate or graduate degree are still required to find employment with forensic teams to specialize in training and develop the necessary skills for employment.
- Additional Legal Qualifications
Though it is not a requirement, some professionals in this discipline have gone above and beyond by becoming police officers. This gives a unique perspective on crime, the application of law, and the necessity of proper evidence collection. It may also increase employability.
Forensic scientists who are also police officers often have a keen ability to assess a crime scene from various angles, and to interpret the evidence with a complex point of view.
Still others focus their education on principles of law by taking legal courses relating to current laws, the rights of the accused, and any other form of legal studies that helps to give a broadened perspective to the profession.
Students begin as technicians who are essentially performing tasks in an on-the-job training capacity. As their skills develop, employers continue to train them for advancement opportunities. Supervision decreases as technicians become more skilled and they can begin to contribute additional methods of testing and presenting information.
Forensic Scientist Job Description
There are many specialties within the forensic science profession that are determined by the types of evidence and information that is being processed and recorded. Job responsibilities may vary depending on the type of employment or organization.
Forensic scientists are primarily employed by the government to assist in solving crimes through processing physical evidence found at crime scenes, whether that evidence is found on objects, on bodies, or on digital devices.
Professionals in forensic science may analyze fingerprints, body secretions, bones and the reconstruction of bones, and any other evidence that can help solve a crime.
Forensic scientists are required to work closely with other law enforcement professionals, to write reports regarding their findings, and to testify in court regarding any evidence they may process. There are many sub-specialties in forensic science that are defined by the type of evidence processed.
- Criminalist Forensic Scientists
Criminalists work in forensic laboratories and are the professionals most often depicted on the famous television shows. Criminalists use scientific procedures to analyze the evidence found at a crime scene.
Evidence must be categorized as relevant or irrelevant, identifiable or not, and then it must be tested, documented, and written into a reporting format for police assessment.
Criminalists often have a general scientific background allowing them to pull from various types of scientific areas to help with assessing the evidence and processing it accordingly.
Digital science includes all multi-media formats and is a growing area for forensic science employment opportunities. Forensic scientists specializing in digital sciences must know how to analyze pictures, both digital and printed, in order to determine authenticity, to evaluate crime scenes, and to garner any additional information that may help in an investigation.
Specialists will also have to assess computer information to find hidden or encrypted files, to retrieve information that has been removed from digital devices, to track where information is coming from, and to determine who is receiving computer files from a given computer network.
Engineering forensics can reconstruct crash scenes to determine vehicle speed, expected vehicle trajectory and collision, taking into account witness testimony, fires and their etiology, or any other unusual mechanical incident requiring investigation.
With an engineering background, these professionals are often called on to assess collapses of buildings, skyscrapers or other public buildings, explosions, plane crashes or malfunctions, urban transportation systems, and environmental disasters.
Forensic pathology and biology are the study of disease as a special medical specialty. This specialty is responsible for examining cadavers to determine the cause of death, identify victims, identify any pathology or disease that may be present, or evaluate and enlarge tissue with microscopic precision.
Pathologists also take and analyze blood, semen, or urine samples to determine drug use or other health indicators. These specialists are likely to be used in cases of violence requiring a cause of death determination.
There are many complementary specialties in forensic medicine, including but not limited to: odontology for identifying teeth; toxicology for chemical drug testing; and psychiatry for evaluating mental disorders. Each specialty has its own job descriptions, depending on the information being processed.
Forensic science is an exciting career that has been recently glorified through law and order television shows.
Though this area of science can be incredibly interesting, it can also be a highly complex and difficult job to maintain. As such, employers look for employees who can balance competing priorities and handle stress well.
Most forensic scientists are likely to work for either local, state, or national government bodies of law enforcement. Some may work for insurers in order to recreate accident scenes or determine the cause of fires, and some may work for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
, Intelligence Bureau (IB) or other progressive organizations that pride themselves on developing innovative ways of processing evidence. As the majority of forensic scientists will be employed by the government, the availability of employment opportunities rests on government budgets. This should not be of concern because the profession is a highly valued and necessary part of the law and order required in our society.
The demand for professionals in forensic science is expected to outpace the increase in demand for all other scientific specialties for many years to come. The job market for forensic specialists is expected to increase by nearly 20% in the next decade, making it one of the fastest growing technical occupations available.
Because there are many different types of specialties within forensic science, it is possible that demand in one specialty will grow at a higher rate than for other areas. It should be noted that with this high demand comes great competition; many people have taken an interest in this profession in recent years, making the job market fierce.
There may be no other area of forensics that is as likely to expand as much as digital technologies. With the changing world, computers and other devices are becoming increasingly complex and require a specialized training in order to process evidence.
Those who specialize in this field are likely to find more job opportunities in the coming years, and incorporating computer skills in your education will be a valuable asset.
Those who keep up to date with modern technologies, including smart phones and social apps that are used by the masses, may find they also have an edge in competing with others for available jobs.
How to Find Forensic Scientist Jobs
Applicants with experience will be in a much higher demand than those needing training. Searching through regional job listings and science journals or websites that offer employment opportunities, such as Science Magazine, may generate solid employment leads.
Though people can look in local and federal job resource areas for entry level positions, it is also a good idea to approach local law enforcement bodies to indicate interest. Volunteering can be a great way to expose yourself to the proper authorities and may help with job leads. Most university programs also have alumni listings for job opportunities regarding their specialized programs.
The job prospects for this career are very promising in the upcoming years. Networking is a key ingredient to most modern job searches and should be a tool that is incorporated into job hunting.
How to Become a Forensic Scientist After 12th?
You can opt for bachelor’s degree program (B.Sc. in Forensic Science), which duration is 3- 4 years. Then you can go for a further study to Become a Forensic Scientist is 2 years M.Sc. in Forensic Science. After that you can opt Doctoral Course 3 years Ph.D. program in Forensic Science or M.Phil. in Forensic Science.
Forensic Scientist Salary in India
Many people choose to become forensic scientists for the nature of the job: there is a lot of problem solving, a great amount of excitement and variety in the work performed, and a sense of satisfaction in helping law enforcement authorities. The compensation that accompanies this profession, as with most jobs, is an important factor in choosing this as a career.
- Average Salary of a Forensic Scientist
As with many careers, those first starting out as forensic scientists can expect to make less money than peers who already have work skills and experience listed in their credentials. As most people will begin their job with no skills or specific training, the pay can start very low, but it should increase as abilities and talents are honed.
Many who are just beginning can expect to make a salary of around Rs. 3 – 4 lakhs per year and some experienced specialists are earning over something more. Those who work for federal and state bodies can expect to earn even more. Supervisors also receive bonuses above and beyond their annual salaries.
- Does Location Impact Salary?
Much like working for the larger federal government can increase salary, where you are located when learning or practicing forensic science can have a large impact on your expected salary. Cities and urban areas are known to offer a higher base salary and have steeper increases in the size of salaries as learning and development improves.
Some areas will even pay per hour. This means that people who are willing to work long hours to help get through the backlogs that are often seen in metropolitan areas will be making a much greater amount of money than peers who work in smaller towns with regular short work days.
Are There Other Factors to Consider?
While pay is a huge part of any decision about where to work, there are other factors that can be vital to the happiness of a person in their chosen career. Besides wages, it is important to think about the quality of the work environment. Most forensic positions offer short 40-hour workweeks that can help people maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Because these jobs are mostly run by the government, there are often excellent advanced health care packages, drug and dental benefits, and retirement contributions that can help with retirement savings. When additional time is needed to appear in court or due to delays, employees are usually compensated in the form of wages or time off.
Earnings are not the only important factor in choosing a profession; however, it deserves some thought. Where you work and who you work for can affect your salary. As you advance in your career and become more skilled, you can expect to be rewarded in the form of increased job responsibilities and attendant pay increases.