In legal proceedings, a case is only as strong as its evidence. And whether that evidence is strong depends, in large part, on the work of forensic specialists. The field of forensics is broad and involves many kinds of workers. Some of them are involved in crime solving. Others, such as forensic social workers or forensic economists, help to resolve different legal issues. But one thing all forensic specialists have in common is that their work is connected to the law in some way.
Forensic Daily Duties
- Forensic workers apply scientific or other specialized knowledge to questions and issues related to the law. Their job duties fall into two basic categories: analyzing evidence and acting as expert witnesses in legal proceedings. Some forensic specialists concentrate primarily on one of these tasks, although many do both.
- When analyzing evidence, forensic specialists often uncover details about past events—for example, a time of death, the cause of a car accident, or the source of a computer hacking. They might investigate clues about what happened and draw conclusions using their expertise. Whatever they find, they share with law enforcement and other personnel involved in the case or investigation.
- When testifying as expert witnesses, forensic specialists present their findings in legal proceedings. They might need to prepare a report or exhibits that summarize their analysis and conclusions. Often, the information that forensic workers study is complex, so they must be able to explain technical concepts to judges, juries, attorneys, and others.
Earnings of forensic specialists depend on the field in which they work. Forensic science technicians earned a median annual wage of $47,680 in May 2007, according to BLS. Earnings of other forensic specialists most likely compare to those of workers in their broader occupation. For example, earnings of forensic chemists would likely be similar to those of all chemists.
Education Degrees and Skills
Precision, attention to detail, objectivity, problem-solving ability, and strong oral and written communication skills are important for forensic specialists. Many of these occupations also require specialists to remain analytical in potentially unpleasant or challenging situations, such as viewing a murder scene or studying an accident’s wreckage. Some forensic specialists, such as computer forensic investigators, have a background in law enforcement. And an understanding of, or experience with, the law and legal procedures can be helpful for many forensics careers backgrounds of forensic specialists vary. But all require at least the minimum knowledge or training for workers in their field of specialization, and many have additional requirements. Becoming a forensic pathologist, for example, requires a medical degree, completion of a residency program, and board certification in pathology and in forensic pathology. Most forensic specialists need at least a bachelor’s degree and sometimes an advanced degree.Master's in Forensic Psychology, followed by a BPS Qualification in Forensic Psychology Stage 2. This involves two years of supervised practice and evidence of applying psychology in a forensic setting. a Doctorate in Forensic Psychology.