Forensic scientists are essentially crack detectives and science gurus rolled up into one crisp lab coat. Chances are you have seen them on ever-popular crime scene investigation shows, collecting physical evidence at crime scenes to help detectives piece together whodunit (and how). They use a little bit of biology, some chemistry and some physics. Many choose to specialize in areas like blood spatter or forensic pathology, which is a polite way to say human remains recovery and analysis. Needless to say, this field is not for the squeamish.
Whatever your specialty, the right combination of training and experience can help you not only land a fascinating career in the field, but eventually advance to higher, more lucrative positions, such as lead forensic investigator or college professor in forensic science.
Exciting prospects with a forensic science degree
While forensic scientists are often excellent problem solvers and very analytical by nature, evidence collection and analysis requires training. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, graduating from a bachelor's-level forensic science program is a must, though prospects and earnings are best for those with a master's- or even doctoral-level forensic science degree. Typical forensic science courses naturally include biology, physics and chemistry as well as subjects such as pharmacology, toxicology and genetics.
Once you have earned your forensic science degree, you will likely receive additional training through your employer. While many forensic scientists work for local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, others work for private companies, such as insurance carriers or medical laboratories.