Forensic Specialist

Summary of profession

Forensic science specialists examine and evaluate physical evidence, using chemical, microscopic, instrumental and physical methods of analysis. They may be required to work with blood and other biological fluids, hair, gunshot residue, drugs, fibers, paint and glass. Forensic science specialists are also typically responsible for preparing written reports on their findings, serving as expert witnesses in court hearings and conducting research regarding new technologies, equipment and techniques.

Working hours, patterns and environment

Forensic science specialists spend much of their time in laboratory settings, analyzing physical evidence from crime scenes.

Education and Skills

A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in natural science or forensic science is required for working in this field. Some labs might require a master’s degree in forensic science for more advanced positions, such as lab technician leader or supervisor. Forensic science specialist must have comprehensive knowledge of working in a laboratory. They should be familiar with laboratory techniques, procedures, practices and safety, as well as the maintenance and operation of laboratory equipment. They also must know how to conduct laboratory tests, analyze the results and draw conclusions from the supporting evidence.

Job and Growth Opportunities

With experience, you could move into management and direct other forensics staff as a forensics manager or casework examiner. You could also work as a reporting scientist, acting as an expert witness in court.