A number of different routes can be taken to become a forensic analyst, but the most common pathway is earning a bachelor's degree in a scientific discipline. Other aspiring forensic analysts may earn an associate's degree and receive on-the-job training afterward. A background in math and science, especially during high school, is imperative for a successful forensic career.
Many employers insist on a bachelor's degree to become a forensic analyst. Common degree majors can include a natural science, such as biology, or even forensic science. This four year degree should provide you with a well-rounded background in scientific practices, and many colleges and universities offer internships during the latter part of the schooling years. An internship will give you hands-on experience in forensic work at a local business; some interns may even become a forensic analyst from networking opportunities found at the business.
Another pathway to become a forensic analyst is earning an associate's degree. This two year degree should still be based in a science-related major, like chemistry, to be considered for employment. After earning this degree, many aspiring analysts find work in an entry level position. At this point, employers may train you in different procedures to gain more hands-on experience. Beginning in an entry level position and moving up through the company will take some time, possibly even years, but you will have a lot of internal industry knowledge that will be extremely valuable to the employer.
Volunteering at a local forensic business is another route you may follow to become a forensic analyst. Although you will not be paid, you can gain experience by helping employees with daily duties, and learn on the job. An invaluable part of volunteering is networking; you will get to know the people you work with and may even meet new forensic analysts through phone calls and social gatherings. You should keep in mind that you will still need some college education to continue in the forensic industry; however, the volunteering can lead to a career once you graduate.
You can prepare to become a forensic analyst even in high school. Advanced math and multiple science classes should be taken so that you have a clear understanding of the basics before learning about the specialized forensic area in college. If possible, you should enroll in as many different science classes as possible, from anatomy to physics, to apply all that information in a future forensic job; simple science practices are used on a daily basis in forensic positions.