If you are good at science and and you would like to help solve crime this could be the job for you. Trainees may have a university degree in biology or a chemistry related subject.
Forensic scientists use scientific techniques using biology, chemistry and maths to obtain and analyse evidence. This can include working with blood or other body fluids, hairs, textile fibres and tyre marks, computers and others.
As a forensic scientist, your main role would be to look for evidence to link a suspect with a crime scene. You could choose to specialise in areas such as :
• Blood groups and DNA profiling
• Recovering data from computers and mobile phones
• Attending crime scenes including murder scenes
You would mainly work in a laboratory, but you may also visit crime scenes, which could be unpleasant and upsetting. You would have to be prepared to give evidence in court.
Usually 37 hours a week Monday to Friday but you could be called in if to work if something high priority came up.
Salaries can start at around £20,000 a year.
With experience, earnings may reach £25,000 to £35,000 a year. Senior forensic scientists may earn £45,000 or more.
Once qualified with a degree or higher degree (post graduate) trainees may work with police forces to obtain a broad training.
Not all science based courses provide the correct level of knowledge required (see further information section)
Qualifications and experience needed
This depends on what you want to do. To become an assistant scientist you are likely to need at least four good passes at GCSE including English and maths and either science (biology / chemistry) plus at least one A level in a science subject.
To be a higher level forensic scientist who reports on evidence you will usually need a high level university degree in a biology , chemistry or related degree followed up by an additional university qualification in forensic science or training from your employer
To specialise in an area such as computers and electronic equipment you may be accepted onto courses/training with qualifications such as computing, electrical engineering.
For all forensic science vacancies there is fierce competition for jobs.
It can also help if you have at least 6 months relevant work experience e.g. in a hospital as a medical laboratory technician.
Normal colour vision is usually required
Skills and qualities
To become a forensic scientist, you would need to have:
• an enquiring mind
• a logical approach and be able to analyse results
• patience and concentration
• high level scientific skills
• a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail
• strong written and spoken communication skills
• the ability to work alone and in a team
• the ability to meet deadlines and work under pressure.
Where to find more information
Forensic Science Society
18A Mount Parade