What can you do with a Forensic Science Degree?
Do you have a passion for the sciences and are thinking of a career with CIA or FBI that doesn’t involve guns? If so, then a career in forensics should suffice.
However, you need the answer to the common student question: “What can you do with a forensic science degree?” so that you will be aware of the various jobs that you can get with a degree in forensic science and make your choice.
This post will give you all of that information, but first …
Why Forensic Science Degree?
As part of law enforcement agencies, forensic scientists help in resolving crime cases through the collection and analysis of crime scene evidence.
Results obtained from the analysis of crime scene evidence give clues and serve as a lead in fishing out the perpetrator(s) of a criminal act.
Forensic results serve as law court evidence used in establishing the innocence or guilt of an accused.
Forensic scientists in their own right can be described as Field or Non-field investigative Operatives depending on their area of expertise.
Forensic anthropologists or odontologists for example visit crime scene locations to collect samples of human bones or teeth for analysis in the laboratory while ballistics expert could stay back at the lab to run tests on guns or bullets recovered from a scene.
Forensic science plays a vital role in assisting criminal justice departments resolve crime issues, such as how a crime was committed, the identity of the victims of a crime, proving the innocence or guilt of a suspect and determining the gravity of a crime.
Asides crime, they also conduct investigations that improve transportation, product and workplace safety.
The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 27% above average job growth rate for forensic science technicians from 2014-2024, implying more job openings for forensic science majors.
Forensic science technicians are also estimated to earn an annual median salary of $55,360 according to the U.S BLS (2015).
What Jobs can you get with a Forensic Science Associate Degree?
An Associate’s degree in forensic science is often the minimum degree required to pursue a career in the criminal justice field.
It exposes undergraduates to the fundamentals of crime scene investigation/procedures, organic chemistry techniques, evidence analysis, and the use of forensic technology.
Job positions you can secure with an Associate’s degree in forensic science include:
- Forensic Science Technician: Their duties involve collecting and analyzing crime scene evidences. They utilize lab technology and techniques in conducting analysis of crime scene evidence such as fingerprints, blood, and weapons. Results they obtain from their analysis are used to determine the cause, time, and nature of a committed crime.
- Forensic Accountant: They are responsible for monitoring financial records to determine the source and recipient of a controversial fund. They carry out financial investigation for the purposes of a court trial in order to assist in resolving a financial crime/fraud. With evidence of their audit, forensic accountants can serve as a witness to testify for the prosecution or defense.
- Document Examiner: They specialize in the analysis of handwritten documents to determine the originality of a written piece of work. They check writings to ascertain if they were inscribed by an individual and they also evaluate documents for modified parts. Results obtained from their analysis can serve as evidence in confirmation or disprove of an accusation.
The typical education requirement for entry-level jobs in the field of forensic is a Bachelor’s degree.
What Jobs can you get with Forensic Science Bachelor’s Degree?
With a baccalaureate in forensic science, the following jobs are open to graduates:
- Forensic Anthropologist: Their job description entails identification of human remains such as bones and organs. They apply techniques of archaeology in digging up remains with altering evidence; they apply techniques of physical anthropology to identify subject whose body parts were discovered. They also provide clues as to the cause of death. They play a vital role in resolving murder cases.
- Forensic Chemist: They are responsible for the analysis of crime scene evidences to ascertain if chemical compounds were employed in a crime. They examine objects, surfaces, and environment of a crime scene for traces of chemical elements/reaction. They use the results of their findings in confirming or refuting the cause of a crime.
- Forensic Nurse: Their duties involve employing their experience and skills of nursing in providing care for the abused and traumatized. They carry out emotional and physical assessment of abuse victims to ascertain if they were actually molested, they can also work in correctional facilities where they cater for inmates and manage their health conditions. They can provide evidences of assault or serve as witnesses to testify in a law court.
- Forensic Toxicologist: They specialize in the laboratory analysis of samples from a crime scene environment or from a human/animal subject. They conduct assessment to identify the presence of a toxic substance in a sample as well as the concentration of the toxin. They determine if a crime was committed under the influence of a drug, alcohol or controlled substances.
- Forensic Dentist: They perform the duty of collecting dental remains from a crime scene, usually from a burnt location. They use dental records to identify the victim of an incident. They can also examine bite marks to confirm or disprove the involvement of a suspect.
What Jobs can you get with a Forensic Science Master’s or Doctorate Degree?
To increase earnings as well as achieve a professional status in the field of forensics, an advanced degree such as a Master’s/Doctorate usually comes in handy. Forensic science majors with a Master’s/Doctorate degree can secure job positions as:
- Forensic Fingerprint Specialist: They specialize in the analysis of finger/footprint evidence obtained from a crime scene. They carefully collect finger or footprint clues left at a crime scene for laboratory analysis. Obtained results are compared with the prints in the national database in order to identify a crime suspect.
- Computer Forensic Analyst: They employ their knowledge/skills of computer science to retrieve information from electronic storage devices. They generally assist in the resolution of cybercrimes.
Forensic science is a rapidly growing field with a projected 27% job growth rate according to the U.S BLS, which implies an above average job growth rate, thus a positive job prospect.
With a degree in forensic science, you can be assured of several job opportunities to choose from and have a satisfying career.
What do you plan to do with your forensic science degree? Please leave a comment in the box below. Are you already working in the field of forensic science? Do share your experience with us.