How to Get a Career in Forensics

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Quick Overview

To get a career in forensics, make sure you take the right subjects in high school, such as biology, physics, math, and chemistry. Combine this by researching the different jobs in forensics so you know your options, such as a forensic scientist or psychologist. After high school, make plans to study science at college, and be sure to check the program you choose covers the skills you’ll need in forensics, like scientific research skills or medical training. For tips on finding a graduate degree, or developing professionally in your career, keep reading!

Learn about the different jobs within forensics. There are many different career opportunities within forensics. Some lean more towards social sciences while many positions are heavily oriented towards biology and chemistry. The following jobs are all sub-fields within forensics:

  • laboratory analyst
  • forensic odontologist (dentist)
  • forensic engineer
  • crime scene examiner
  • forensic psychologist.
  • psychological profiler
  • forensic accountant. See Work in Forensic Accounting.
  • forensic IT specialist
  • forensic pathologist (medical examiner).

Be a forensic pathologist, or medical examiner. To become a medical examiner, you will have to attend medical school and receive your MD degree. While this takes a long time, your salary is likely to be higher than in other sub-fields of forensics. Your job duties include inspecting deceased bodies and determining the cause of death. You should have a strong stomach for this job. Work hours are also less predictable because you could be called in at a moment’s notice.

  • Pursuing an undergraduate degree in biology or chemistry is a smart choice. These degrees will help you gain entrance into medical school.
  • Upon completing medical school, choose a residency where you can focus on forensics.
  • See Become a Medical Examiner for additional details.

Become a crime laboratory analyst. For this job, you work in a laboratory environment and conduct analyses of samples from the crime scene or deceased person. Your hours are more predictable and your pay is decent. You will repeat many of the same tasks.

  • For the best preparation, major in chemistry.
  • If you want to specialize in DNA testing, pursue an undergraduate degree in biology with focuses on genetics and biochemistry.


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