Forensic Scientist Career Information, Job Outlook & Salary

Forensic Science

Forensic Science Career Overview

Forensic scientists work hand-in-hand with law enforcement officers by collecting and analyzing physical evidence related to criminal investigations. Forensic scientists specialize in areas such as DNA analysis, ballistics, fingerprinting, handwriting, and biochemistry. A forensic scientist also may testify in court as an expert witness on evidence or laboratory technique.

Forensic Science Degrees and Education

A career as a forensic science technician usually requires a bachelor's degree. Employers' degree preferences vary, as some science technicians have a bachelor's degree in chemistry, biology, or forensic science or have a four-year degree with several science and math classes in the coursework. Important skills include oral and written communication skills, working well on a team, strong computer skills, organizational ability, attention to detail, and critical thinking.

Forensic Scientist Employment

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 13,000 people are employed as forensic science technicians, working primarily for state and local governments. Forensic scientists usually start their careers as trainees under direct supervision of a scientist or a senior technician. As they gain experience, trainees are offered more responsibility and can complete assignments under general supervision. Some may eventually become supervisors.

Forensic Scientist Job Description

Jobs for forensic science technicians are expected to increase 21 percent or more over the 2006 to 2016 decade, much faster than average. Forensic science is increasingly being applied to solve and prevent crime, spurring employment growth in state and local labs.

Forensic Scientist Salary Range

*The income range for forensic scientists is $30,000 to $80,000.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics

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