Embark on a career in the enticing field of forensics if you have a critical and analytical mind and are detail-oriented. The right course will help you chisel your path to success.
A Forensics expert is an essential part of any law enforcement investigations unit. As you might have gathered from movies and TV, Forensics experts are professionals who use scientific methods to investigate crimes.
Some of the tasks Forensics investigators are responsible for include evidence collection and crime scene investigation, firearms analysis, suspect tracking and interrogation, financial crime investigation, computer crime investigation, information security, etc. As a Forensics expert, your work environment could also be the laboratory as many experts work behind the scenes to analyze evidence.
What Does a Forensics Expert Do?
A Forensics expert is a highly-trained member whom professional enforcement agencies depend upon for evidence collection and analysis. Due to its rigorous nature, Forensics careers suit those who are detail-oriented, logical, and count critical reasoning amongst their strengths. As collecting evidence from crime scenes might be a part of your job description, an ability to stay calm and composed is essential. Depending upon your college major and your specialization, you could be assigned any one of a number of tasks, such as:
- Collecting/analyzing evidence from crime scene – including DNA, chemicals, handwriting, etc
- Analyzing firearms and weapons for evidence and evidentiary proof
- Analyzing crime trends and modus operandi of criminals
- Analyzing computer hardware for evidence of illegal material
- Auditing accounts for evidence of fraud
What will you Study?
Forensics is a very wide-ranging field that includes specialists in fields as diverse as psychology and Information Technology. There are several undergraduate courses that specifically impart the skills you will need for a career as a Forensics technician or investigator. Some of the popular Forensics specializations are:
- Forensic Psychology – You will study human behavior in the context of crime. This could involve training in interrogation techniques and victim counseling.
- Cyber-Forensics/Information Security – You will focus on IT issues such as data security, identity fraud, securing networks, recovering encrypted and destroyed data, IP piracy, and identifying criminals.
- Crime Scene Investigation – This focuses on the field work required at a crime scene. You will learn common errors technicians and police personnel can make, how to retrieve DNA and fingerprint evidence, reconstruct crime scenes, etc
- Forensic Accounting – This focuses on criminal activities such as accounting fraud. You’ll learn to examine the books of an individual or organization for evidence of illegal activities, doctoring and financial crimes
You will also receive training in how to present evidence at a courtroom, and learn guidelines regarding evidence, police work, and ethical issues. However, it’s not necessary that you enroll in course specific to Forensics. Graduates in the sciences such as Biology, Chemistry, or in Psychology or Accounting can also seek employment as Forensics experts. Some specializations might require Graduate degrees.
State Governments and local Police Departments are the biggest employers of Forensics experts. Other prospective employers include Federal agencies, private investigators, computer security firms, and accounting firms. According to the US Department of Labor, jobs in Forensics are enjoying a faster rate of growth as compared to other occupations where science technicians can be found.