Advances in scientific technology in examining crimes scenes have turned forensic science into a high demand and rapidly growing career field. Adding to popularity of forensic science jobs are TV shows like CSI – Crime Scene Investigators. This article will serve as an overview for a career in forensic science that includes many subcategories like forensic science consultants, fingerprint technicians, fingerprint examiners, forensic investigators and evidence technicians. Forensic Scientist Job Description
Forensic scientists investigate crimes by collecting crime scene evidence and using natural sciences to analyze data they recover. They generally work 40 hours each week in a forensic science laboratory. Forensic science technicians are often required to go to crime scene and collect physical evidence that can be found. They work closely with government officials and police detectives in order to help solve crimes.
Additional tasks forensic scientists have include:
Reconstructing crime scenes
Collecting and analyzing DNA samples
Reporting investigative findings
Examining firearms and bullets
Analyzing textual evidence
Interpreting laboratory findings
Keeping logs and records
Operating all laboratory equipment
Most forensic scientists specialize in certain types of evidence such as DNA analysis, firearm research and weapons testing, examining fiber, hair, tissue, or body fluid substances. They often work with chemicals, fluid samples and firearms that demand safety precautions. However, risk of harm or contamination within these working conditions is minimal.
Salary Ranges / Job Outlook for a Forensic Scientist
Of all science technicians, forensic scientists currently earn second highest annual salary. In 2002 average pay rate for a forensic scientist was $19.73 per hour, or approximately $41,000. The low ten percent of this scale earned around $12.06 per hour - $25,100 yearly. The highest ten percent earned around $31.49 per hour - $65,500 yearly. However, pay range depends upon factors like type of specialty, years of experience, type of employment and location.
In United States, employment rate for forensic scientists is expected to grow steadily over next decade. Current Nationwide trends estimate that job openings for forensic scientists will rise approximately 19 percent by 2012. These numbers indicate more than 360 job positions opening up each year. In 2002, forensic scientists held approximately 8,400 job positions. These scientists work mainly for State and local governments, but keep close professional relationships with police investigators and other crime experts.