Forensic Scientist Job Description Example

By | August 19, 2016
Forensic scientist job description, duties, tasks, and responsibilities

Forensic scientists are important members of the criminal investigative team and may be required to examine fingerprints.

Forensic Scientist Job Description Example

What Does a Forensic Scientist Do?

Forensic scientists are integral part of the criminal justice system. Their job descriptions vary depending on the area of specialization one decides to practice.

While forensic biologists are responsible for collecting and testing of blood, body fluid, and hair samples, forensic chemists study chemical substances and compounds related to crime activities.

Other specialists in forensic science include forensic toxicologists that test for the presence or absence of poisonous substances, alcohol, and drugs in blood and urine samples.

Some forensic scientists are also saddled with the responsibility of examining fingerprints, handwriting, and document.

However, irrespective of the area of specialization, all forensic scientists work towards identifying and interpreting evidence related to crime scenes.

Forensic scientists spend most part of their work time at forensic laboratories where they examine evidences collected at crime scenes by crime scene investigators.

Their role also includes assisting investigators in retrieving physical evidence at crime scenes, especially when complex techniques are required for the retrieval of physical evidence.

Based on examination and analysis of evidence collected, forensic scientists also write reports to summarize findings.

They may also appear in law court as expert witnesses.

Forensic scientists also liaise with other professionals like medical doctors and psychologists to fully examine and analyze samples and exhibits related to crime scenes.

Other duties and responsibilities in the forensic scientist work description include handling and maintenance of equipment used in forensic laboratory, inputting and retrieving of relevant data into and from important databases to support forensic analysis.

These experts also offer expert advice to crime investigators, lawyers, and other agencies and individuals involved in crime investigation.

To work as a forensic scientist, a Bachelor’s degree in one of the natural science courses from an institution approved by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) is mandatory.

In addition, a professional certification is necessary, depending on the individual’s academic qualification.

Some common forensic science certification boards include the American Board of Forensic Toxicology, American Board of Forensic Document Examiners, and the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators.

Strong research and analytical ability are mandatory skills to have to succeed in this job.

Also, the scientist must have strong deductive and inferential reasoning skills.

Forensic Scientist Job Description Example

Depending on the forensic scientist’s area of expertise, the job description example below shows duties, tasks, and responsibilities he/she may perform:

  • Test the presence or absence of poisonous substances, drug or alcohol in blood and urine samples
  • Liaise with other professionals like medical doctors and psychologists to examine and analyze samples
  • Collect and test samples of blood, hairs, and urine
  • Examine fingerprints, handwriting, and documents
  • Collect exhibit and evidence from crime scene
  • Handle and maintain forensic laboratory equipment
  • Input and retrieve relevant data into and from data bases, to improve the reliability of forensic analysis and result
  • Offer expert advice to judges, lawyers, forensic psychologists and other law enforcement agents involved in crime investigation
  • Appear in law court as expert witness
  • Ensure that forensic examinations and analysis are carried out in accordance with standard protocols and regulations.

Forensic Scientist Resume Preparation

When preparing a forensic scientist resume, the above sample job description provides the right duties and responsibilities of the job that you can apply in making the work experience part of the resume.

The job experience section of the resume should highlights the activities you performed while working as a forensic scientist, which are shown in the work description above, and which you can use to quickly create the section.

Requirements – Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities – for Forensic Scientist Role

To improve your chances of being hired as a forensic scientist, you will need to have the following qualities, which are usually what employers require from applicants:

  • Education and Certification: A Bachelor’s degree in forensic science or any of the natural science discipline is very important for one to work as a forensic scientist. However, to work as a consultant or occupy a lead role, Master’s in forensic science is necessary. In addition, membership of at least one of the forensic science certification board is mandatory to practice as a forensic scientist
  • Strong Research and Analytical Skills: The work of forensic science involves high investigation and analysis. So, a forensic scientist is expected to not only retrieve materials and evidences related to crimes but be able to find supportive scientific results to buttress deductions
  • Team work capability: A forensic scientist should be able to work with a team of scientists, crime investigators and other agents involved in the justice system. This will not only make the work easier for him/her but for others
  • Communication skills: Exceptional oral and written communication skills are equally necessary for a forensic scientist to have. The finding of a forensic scientist is not for his/her consumption but to assist other law enforcement agents deliver fair and just verdicts. So, he/she should be able to communicate his/her findings to others
  • Crime Record: To be approved to practice in the field of forensic science, some states demand that you be free of any criminal case. Also, you must pass a urinalysis drug test before you are given approval.

Forensic Scientist Skills for Resume

Also, when making the skills section of your resume, you may apply the above employers skills requirement.

This will make the resume more compelling as it will contain information about the qualities you are coming with, which most hirers want to see.


It is important to know the job description of a forensic scientist if you are applying for the position so that you can be well prepared for the duties and responsibilities you will be required to perform.

And for employers, this helps you to design the best job description for the role, making sure that all major tasks and responsibilities are covered.

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