Forensic scientists typically are an important part of the modern crime-solving process. Usually, forensic science majors will be familiar with collecting evidence such as fingerprints, or performing techniques such as DNA analysis and blood analysis. A vast number of different types of jobs can be available to forensic science majors. These opportunities may include vocations like crime laboratory analyst, crime scene examiner, forensic engineer, medical examiner, academic assistant, or technical assistant.
Utilization of various scientific disciplines by the legal system usually is termed forensic science. The forensic scientist generally employs recognized scientific and methodological practices to contribute to the investigation of a criminal case. The findings of a forensic scientist then might be used to press charges against a suspect, or be exhibited as evidence in a court of law. As forensic science is a large field, the available job opportunities to forensic science majors depends on the precise area of study you have completed and your specific ambitions. Becoming familiar with the various tasks specific forensic scientists undertake can help you learn about various job opportunities.
A crime laboratory analyst generally works exclusively in a laboratory as opposed to in the field. People who work in a crime lab tend to be experts in a specific aspect of forensic science, such as DNA evidence. Crime lab analysts typically collect this data in order to make a match on a suspect or to help identify an individual. Some crime labs have a small personnel staff, which typically means that the analyst will have to perform a wide variety of different functions such as blood alcohol analysis and toxicology reports.
Crime scene examiners, otherwise known as investigators, usually are required to gather evidence from a crime scene. This may include searching for fingerprints or collecting trace evidence and biological evidence that can be used for procedures such as DNA analysis. Some of the typical examples of evidence that a crime scene examiner will gather are blood, hair, and fibers.
A forensic engineer may be involved in a case in which some material or structure fails, thus causing death, injury, or property damage. Forensic engineers will re-create a scene, often using the techniques of reverse engineering in an effort to determine exactly what happened. Forensic engineers can help decide if the incident was an accident or if foul play was involved.
If forensic science majors have a criminal record, in some places it may be almost impossible to get a job. This usually is because forensic scientists work with the justice system and questions concerning their reliability may surface. Even well-studied forensic science majors may have extreme difficulties in finding employment because they lack a clean record.