What Is Forensic Science?
Forensic Science is a combination of many academic fields, centered on the scientific, medical, and legal investigation of crimes and non-natural deaths. Areas of expertise in Forensic Science are quite varied, as is the education and training required for each.
- Where do I find out about Forensic Science?
The American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) is an international institute whose primary purpose is the promotion of Forensic Science and its multitude of related fields. They hold annual meetings for thousands of members, where scientific papers and discussions are presented. It serves as a cornerstone for the Forensic Science fields.
- What are some of the Forensic Science fields?
The AAFS has membership delegations in Criminalistics, Jurisprudence, Pathology and Biology, Engineering, Forensic Psychiatry, Toxicology, Odontology, Physical Anthropology, Questioned Documents and General Forensic Sciences.
- How do I become a Forensic Scientist?
First, you need to know how much college education you want to complete. Forensic Pathology requires a Medical Degree. Forensic odontologists are dentists. Many forensic anthropologists and toxicologists have PhD degrees. Jurisprudence members are attorneys. Forensic engineers, as it sounds, have engineering degrees. Forensic psychiatry members are counselors, psychologists, social workers and others.
The areas of criminalistics, general forensic sciences and questioned documents have members with various levels of education and training, ranging from biologists, to chemists, to police officers and detectives. Within criminalistics and general forensic sciences are trained specialists in fingerprint analysis, ballistics and firearms examiners, serologists and DNA analysts, trace evidence specialists, photographers and chemists.
- Where do I start?
The best place to begin a forensic science career is by contacting local agencies like coroner offices, medical examiner offices, police departments and crime laboratories, to inquire about internships and requirements for employment in forensic sciences. It is helpful to have some idea of which field you are interested in, since the educational and training requirements vary so much.