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How Do I Get into Forensic Chemistry?

Forensic chemists work in laboratories, examining evidence gathered at crime scenes.
A forensic chemist may examine clothing articles from a crime scene.
Forensic chemists must have advanced degrees.
Article Details
  • Written By: Jodee Redmond
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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If you want to get into forensic chemistry, you should be prepared to complete the requirements for an undergraduate degree in chemistry degree. From there, you would probably need to go on to finish a master's degree in forensic science to help you apply your knowledge to this specific field. You should also make a point of learning how to feel comfortable making presentations in front of other people. A background check will also be required for anyone who wants to work in a crime lab.

A forensic chemist works in a laboratory and his or her workday is spent analyzing evidence gathered at a crime scene. A person trained in forensic chemistry methods may be asked to work with a number of types of materials, such as hair and blood samples, paint, glass fragments, and fibers. This career is a good choice for people who can work in a very methodical manner and are good at thinking logically.

If you decide to pursue an undergraduate degree in chemistry as a first step to launching your career in forensic chemistry, you will need to take a number of courses. Required courses for this type of program may include calculus, physics and organic chemistry. Making a point of enrolling in biochemistry courses is a good idea, since they will help you prepare for your next step.

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To qualify for a job in the forensic chemistry field, your next step will be to complete a graduate degree in forensic science. Depending on the requirements of the university, you may have to achieve a minimum grade point average (GPA) to be considered for admission to a program. Consider the list of courses offered carefully and make a point of taking electives which will focus on analyzing evidence and laboratory procedures.

If your goal is to get into forensic chemistry, taking a public speaking course is a good idea. People working in this field are called upon to give evidence at trial as part of their job responsibilities. You will be responsible for answering questions about the results of the tests you conducted as well as the procedures you followed to obtain them.

Undergoing a background check is part of the screening process for laboratory workers. If your personal history includes substance abuse, a poor driving history or bad credit, you may be barred from employment in a forensic chemistry facility. Having a criminal record will also disqualify you from working as a forensic chemist. Your work and personal conduct must be above reproach if you are going to be working in this field.

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