Forensic Scientists and their Career Futures

Forensic Scientists play an important role in the criminal justice system – they are not the people who collect the evidence or present it in the court room, but are the ones who analyze each bit of evidence, thereby resolving legal issues through scientific methods.  Forensic scientists carefully study evidence found at the scene of the crime, and evidence taken off the accused, in order to determine whether they participated in the crime or are somehow related to the crime.  This is an instrumental career in ensuring that our criminal justice system continues to run smoothly without any mistakes.

Forensics includes many different forms of analysis, stemming from biological samples to controlled substances.  Forensic scientists are typically certified in a specific area of science which is used to detect traces of DNA or can be useful in reconstructing the crime scene through something as small as the splatter of blood.  Many science students do not think of a career in law enforcement while they are in school, but it involves some of the most interesting scientific research that a person can conduct – you will have a person’s life in your hands.  Further analytical techniques include document examination to ensure that every document is authentic and fingerprinting.  While biological analysis is mostly what we hear about in shows like Law and Order, it only comprises a small part of the entirety of forensic analysis.

Forensic scientists regularly deal with the judicial system since they must provide the court with detailed analysis of each discovery they make, and must track their progress for each specific case.  This may seem time consuming, but is extremely relevant and can help make the distinction between criminals and innocents.  After examining the evidence and presenting their findings to the court, forensic scientists may also be called in as expert witnesses for the court and must be ready to withstand cross-examination. 

This type of career within the criminal justice system has only increased in recent years because of the new need for corroborating evidence and the new technology that now plays a major role in most courts.  Career opportunities are plentiful for many students who have a background in biology or science, moreso for students who have advanced degrees.  While most local law enforcement agencies require crime lab technicians such as forensic scientists, there is a heightened demand for higher-level governmental jobs, although these come with stiff competition.  As long as crimes continue to be committed, it seems safe to say that the demand for forensic scientists will only increase.