What Is A Forensic Scientist?
A forensic scientist is a specialist who studies and analyses evidence from a crime scene. Forensic scientists mainly focus on criminal case but can also work in civil justice system for comparing handwriting or validating signatures. Their job is either to compare the evidences found at the crime scene with that of the suspect or provide expert testimony in a court of law. They can be generalists or specialists in various fields. Some of the fields of specialization are chemistry, biology, chemical substances and toxicology, fingerprinting and document examination.
They do a comprehensive physical and chemical analysis of evidences such as bloodstains, fingerprints or spent shell casings collected at the crime scene. They apply information from a range of sciences and use complex instruments in doing so. Based on the evidence and its study they can also tell the sequence of events that would have unfolded at the crime scene. The results obtained from these analyses are described in a detailed report. Everything is accurately documented in this report. Since this field requires them to work under stressful conditions and with a wide variety of people they must have good people skills. They should have an excellent eye and hand coordination, as they need to handle very minute evidences carefully. When testifying in a court they should be poised, well dressed, well prepared and confident.
Forensic science is a diverse field so it gives students a variety of options to choose from. Choosing a specialization can help one in focusing on a particular field. One can start preparing by focusing on physics and chemistry and becoming comfortable with college level mathematics and calculus. Also, experience at laboratory maybe required by some crime labs. A number of colleges also offer online courses on forensic services or forensic training. So, one can consider joining a course without leaving college or the current job. Online courses have their own benefits of being convenient and interactive and can be pursued from anywhere in the world at a cost lower than classroom courses as one can save on travel, books and food.
Fresher scientists usually earn around $19000 and those with some laboratory experience earn more, up to $30000. The salaries increase with experience and scientists may eventually earn anywhere between $35000 and $50000.
Students planning a career in forensic sciences must enjoy science and mathematics. Forensic study relies heavily on these areas. Since they need to prepare reports they should have good written and oral communication skills. If they aim to be specialists, they should be acquainted with well accepted methods in their specialization. Computer proficiency is recommended as they are required for modeling, simulation and operating computerized equipments in laboratories. Some of the essential qualities are curiosity, perseverance, and ability to concentrate on details and work independently.