So You Wanna Be a ...

Forensic Scientist

(aka: Crime Scene Investigator, Forensic Science Technician)

Forensic science is undeniably one of the most fascinating career fields around, with new TV series glamorizing the work popping up on a near-monthly basis (CSI: Chattanooga...? Oh, COME on!!) But there's good reason to be intrigued: on any given day, a Forensic Scientist might be called on to run lab tests to extract DNA from shirt fibers, or tiptoe around a grisly murder scene.

Show me schools in my area!

What do Forensic Scientists do?

  • Examine and photograph crime scenes. It's critical that police and juries be able to analyze crime scenes exactly as they appeared upon discovery. In coordination with police investigators, Forensic Scientists carefully photograph any and all evidence associated with the scene of a crime.
  • Collect and catalog physical evidence. Pulling fingerprints, swabbing for bodily fluids, and ensuring that other evidence stays uncontaminated is critical to solving and prosecuting any crime.
  • Perform laboratory analysis. Even the most careful criminals often can't wipe all traces of fingerprints, DNA, or other bodily fluids. Forensic scientists spend much of their time in the lab examining samples under a microscope.
  • Work closely with law enforcement. Given the importance of U.S. search & seizure laws, forensic scientists coordinate closely with the police department to ensure that crime scenes are examined thoroughly but within the appropriate legal boundaries.

How much do Forensic Scientists make?

Forensic science may not be for the faint of heart, but compensation is typically generous. The median national wage of a Forensic Scientist in 2012 was $52,840, with the top 10% earning over $85,200.

How do I become a Forensic Scientist?

Education Requirements. Forensic scientists typically need a bachelor's degree, preferably with an emphasis on the sciences. Smaller agencies, however, may occasionally hire applicants who have a high school diploma and significant work experience in a related field. There are also a range of licenses and certifications available that may offer more opportunities for career advancement.

Find a program in your area. Use the CampusExplorer search tool below to find a program at a school near you or online.

Dream of a career in Forensic Science?

Find schools and get info on the program that's right for YOU!

Powered by Campus Explorer

Where can I read more about working as a Forensic Scientist?

Below are Jobstr's hand-selected recommendations from