Calling All Detectives!

Are you interested in investigating crime scenes?

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Education Requirements & Info

Forensic scientists use science to investigate crime scenes and evidence. When a crime is committed, witnesses and testaments are not always enough. Objects from the scene need to be evaluated, because they can provide incredibly valuable information about the scene. Analyzing these evidences is the job of the forensic scientist. Extensive knowledge in the chemistry department is required to analyze items from the crime scene such as paint, unknown substances, debris, etc., in crimes such as arson. A forensic scientist provides informative reports of crime scenes and evidences that have been evaluated, to the judge of a case and may also be present in court to make a verbal testament. Qualifications for this position include a degree in a forensic science course. A bachelors in forensic science can be obtained at University of Ontario, University of Mississauga/Toronto, and Trent University. Numerous forensic science courses are also available internationally in New Zealand, Switzerland, the U.S, the U.K, and India. However, extensive education is also required, including a BSc in chemistry, which is offered at York University, Wilfrid-Laurier, Brock University, UTM, and UT. Studies in molecular biology and geology are also credible. An ideal course would be biological chemistry. Tuition for these courses fall around $6000 to $7000 each, and last about four years. These universities look for students who performed well in high school, and have a passion for science. Apart from academic success, the forensic field requires critical thinkers.

Job Market & Benefits

Job opportunities for people interested in forensic science are in a good place. There are many openings for forensic scientists in America; 2400 openings are expected to exist by 2020. However the competition remains tough. The results provided by a forensic scientist have the potential to change people’s lives for the better or for the worse, which is why only the best are selected. The field requires scientists who can analyze evidence, think critically, make connections, provide informative and insightful reports, communicate, and work in dangerous situations. A slip up could turn a victim guilty or an offender innocent. However, a major benefit for this job is the salary. Forensic scientists in Canada are paid starting at $39,000 to $66,000 per year, much higher than the average Canadian salary. International or more skilled forensic scientists may be paid higher salaries. Other benefits of this government job are that it provides stability, a schedule, and monetary benefits from the governments.

Forensic Science & You

Science is the main component in this career. Evidence from crime scenes are analyzed in labs to determine qualities and clues. The chemistry component mostly deals with studying objects from a fire, or explosion. Biology is also a big component when studying evidence like hair, fibres, DNA, etc. Evaluating evidence reveals valuable information such as what the substance is, where it has been, how long it has existed, etc. This is why it’s important to have an extensive understanding of chemicals and compositions, as well as ways to determine substances by testing them. A primitive example of how forensic science was used to investigate a crime was in the 20th century. It was determined that some silver had been substituted by a goldsmith into an otherwise pure gold crown, by using the method of displacement. With the constant advancement of science, jobs that require scientific analysis could be affected. In the case of forensic science, if new laws and theories are established, it may make it easier to determine results. However, when cases like a fire or explosion happen, many are caused by accident. Scientific research may begin to uncover causes of these incidents and come out with ways to prevent them. Science is always growing with the world to make it a better place and try to decrease problems. If these advancements cause less problems to occur, less forensic scientists will be needed because there will be less cases to investigate. For my thesis, I would like to research how accurate forensic science is and how reliable it is in a crime, as well as how a forensic scientist affects people’s lives. For people who are interested, I would encourage them to observe their surroundings and practise problem solving by making connections, and looking deeper into situations.