Forensic Scientist Career Information
What a Forensic Scientist does
As Forensic scientists, you will be required to apply scientific knowledge and skills to investigate crimes. The role of the forensic scientist is twofold: to analyze physical evidence found on a victim at the scene of crime and compare it to evidence found on a suspect and to provide expert testimony in a court of law.
The information you will provide as part of forensics may help the police to find or eliminate a suspect in a crime. Forensic Scientists usually specialize in one area of forensics, such as DNA analysis, firearms examination or toxicology (the analysis of body samples for drugs and poisons).
As this is an upcoming field, the job opportunities in this field are plenty. You can find employment with law enforcement agencies, police, and legal system and in the investigative services of the government organizations such as the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and as investigative officers in the crime cells of state police forces and also private agencies.
Forensic Scientist can also work as teachers in institutes that conduct courses in this subject.
The forensic science can be further divided into pathology, toxicology, psychiatry, microbiology, odontology and finger print expert.
So as a Forensic Scientist you can choose the area you would want to specialize in and find related jobs. After specializing in forensics, you can even branch out into other fields like analytical chemist, biomedical scientist, clinical molecular geneticist, research scientist, scientific lab technician, etc.
A career in this field is bound to be a challenging one. It is to a large extent adventurous—although mentally and physically exhausting—job.
On the flip side, the work pressure is high. Emotional maturity and objectivity are essential. Odd hours of work can be expected. Forensic scientists work both in the laboratory and at the scenes of crime. Hence, unexpected travel is part of the job.
Abilities & Traits Required
You will need to have excellent written and oral communication skills, as an important part of the forensic scientist is explaining evidence and its significance in written reports, and in court.
Well-developed problem-solving skills, organizational ability and skill in interpreting scientific results are also very important if your goal is to be a Forensic Scientist.
Forensic scientists should be honest, responsible and able to keep information private. A mature approach is desirable, as some crime scenes can be very unpleasant, and giving evidence in court can be stressful.
Forensic scientists should also be thorough, methodical, accurate and careful. An eye for detail is also necessary, as forensic scientists are required to conduct detailed examinations of crime scenes.
To pursue a career in forensics science, you will have to do a BSc followed by a MSc specializing in Forensic Science.
If you are a forensic scientist holding postgraduate qualifications, you can expect to start with a salary of Rs.25 000 - Rs.45 000 depending on the organization.
In government services such as the IB and CBI, you get salary and other perks according to government pay scales. Private forensic laboratories offer lucrative pay packages to scientists with a few years of experience behind them.