What does a Forensic Scientist do?
Forensic Scientists collaborate with law enforcement to investigate certain crimes and analyze evidence to determine what happened at the crime scene. Many Forensic Scientists complete a majority of their tasks in a laboratory, collecting and studying evidence provided to them by Crime Scene Investigators. They analyze a wide variety of evidence pieces, like fingerprints, hair, bullets, blood and photographs to help law enforcement solve the crime.
Forensic Scientists may also arrive on the scene to perform investigative tasks and take notes to help them make more accurate conclusions. They may also be responsible for putting together evidence reports and arriving at court to provide an expert testimony.
Forensic Scientist skills and qualifications
A successful Forensic Scientist candidate will have lots of technical prerequisites that demonstrate their capabilities. This is a technical field that requires an array of skills and qualifications. As you create your Forensic Scientist job posting, you may highlight skills such as:
- Communication skills
- Critical-thinking and analytical skills
- Math and science skills
- The ability to solve problems
- Integrity and accountability
- Time management skills
- Organization skills
- Technical writing skills
Forensic Scientist salary expectations
Forensic scientists are well paid. According to data collected from roughly 60 employees and Indeed users over the past three years, we’ve found that the average Forensic Scientist salary is about $65,000 per year. There’s a big swing between minimum and maximum salaries, though—forensic scientists can receive as little as $22,000 per year and as much as $131,000 annually. The salary offered depends on factors like years of experience, education level and the job’s location.
Forensic scientist education and training requirements
Forensic Scientists have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a field like natural science, biology or chemistry. More experience or senior-level technicians may have a master’s degree or even a PhD in one of these fields. It’s also common for Forensic Scientist to have additional training or certifications in these fields, or to come from a background in an area like pharmacy or toxicology.
Some Forensic Scientists will have a certification in forensic toxicology. This program requires a bachelor’s degree and at least three years of experience in the field.
Forensic Scientist experience requirements
Forensic Scientists can find entry-level work right out of college, especially if the candidate has experience in a lab. Most candidates will complete on-the-job training as they gain real-world experience working crime scenes and processing real evidence in labs. Some Forensic Scientists may have experience in a related field, like pharmaceuticals or crime scene investigation.
Job description samples for similar positions
Forensic Scientists work in a niche field that’s not like many others. This can make crafting a job description difficult. If you haven’t found what you’re looking for in this sample, check out some templates for similar roles: