How do I Become a Forensic Chemist? (with pictures)

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Forensic chemists analyze evidence from crime scenes.
Forensic chemists analyze evidence from crime scenes.

A forensic chemist has the job of analyzing and testing evidence from a crime scene, helping law enforcement officials, lawyers, and judges to draw important conclusions about a criminal case. A person who wants to become a forensic chemist typically graduates from high school and earns at least a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Additionally, some employers prefer job applicants who have advanced education, so earning a master’s degree or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree may prove helpful as well.

A forensic chemist must know how to use chemistry to work with crime scene evidence.
A forensic chemist must know how to use chemistry to work with crime scene evidence.

An individual who becomes a forensic chemist works to apply chemistry and other scientific knowledge to analyzing crime scene evidence. He analyzes and tests evidence collected not only from crimes scenes, but also from the bodies of victims or suspects. These scientists may perform their work in labs as well as at crime scenes. Many people think of forensic scientists as working to help prosecutors prove their cases. In reality, a forensic chemist works to analyze evidence that may help either the prosecution or the defense.

Forensic chemists typically have a bachelor's degree in chemistry.
Forensic chemists typically have a bachelor's degree in chemistry.

An individual who wants to become a forensic chemist will typically have to graduate from high school or earn a general educational development (GED) degree. While in high school, a person interested in this field may boost his chances for college success by taking chemistry, biology, and other science courses. Math courses may prove helpful as well.

A forensic chemist may study samples of fibers from clothing to determine whether an individual was present at a crime scene.
A forensic chemist may study samples of fibers from clothing to determine whether an individual was present at a crime scene.

Since college degrees are often required of those beginning forensic science careers, a person who wants to become a forensic chemist typically pursues a bachelor's degree in chemistry. To improve his chances of securing a job or advancing in his career, a person interested in this job may seek an advanced science degree as well. Additionally, a prospective forensic chemist can benefit from gaining experience working with lab instruments and tests. While some of this experience may be gained in college, chemistry-related internships or work-study jobs may prove helpful as well.

In addition to education, a person who wants to become a forensic chemist is usually expected to have certain qualities and skills. For example, a person in this field typically needs to be patient and capable of adapting to change. He should be able to focus for long periods of time and pay attention to detail. He’ll also need to be trustworthy and unbiased, demonstrating good communication skills as well.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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    • Forensic chemists analyze evidence from crime scenes.
      Forensic chemists analyze evidence from crime scenes.
    • A forensic chemist must know how to use chemistry to work with crime scene evidence.
      A forensic chemist must know how to use chemistry to work with crime scene evidence.
    • Forensic chemists typically have a bachelor's degree in chemistry.
      Forensic chemists typically have a bachelor's degree in chemistry.
    • A forensic chemist may study samples of fibers from clothing to determine whether an individual was present at a crime scene.
      A forensic chemist may study samples of fibers from clothing to determine whether an individual was present at a crime scene.