CSI is a hit TV series dedicated to the application of forensic science. However, there is so much more to being a forensic scientist than the series shows. Forensic science is a challenging career. It is a specific occupation. It has job duties. It has advantages and disadvantages. Education and training are required to be a forensic scientist.
DESCRIPTION OF A FORENSIC SCIENTIST
First, there is a definition for a forensic scientist. There are entry requirements. Forensic scientists work in varied conditions. They get pay and benefits. Finally, there is a room for advancement. There is a good outlook for forensic scientists.
Definition of a Forensic Scientist
There is a definition for a forensic scientist. According to Career Information Center, there is a definition for forensic scientist, “forensic scientists gather and evaluate evidence from victims, vehicles, and scenes of crimes.” “Their findings may help to convict or prove the innocence of a person accused of a crime.” Nearly all forensic scientists work for federal, state, or local law enforcement (Engineering. 126).
There are entry requirements to become a forensic scientist. According to Career Information Center, to be a forensic scientist, one needs at least a bachelor’s degree in physical or natural science. However, most crime labs prefer employees that have a master’s or doctorate’s degree in forensics (Engineering. 126). Working Conditions
Forensic scientists work varied hours. According to Career Information Center, forensic scientist work a five day, forty hour work week. However, they are on call 24-7 and may be expected to answer late night calls. In some cases, overtime is forced on employees (Engineering. 127).
Forensic scientists work in varied environments. They spend most of their time in clean labs (Engineering. 127). They may also work outdoors in all weather conditions including snow, rain and heat (Echaore-McDavid 61). Forensic scientists have to stand, bend, kneel, and crouch in awkward positions (Echaore-McDavid 61). Forensic scientists have to observe unpleasant sights such as blood and corpses (Engineering. 127). Also, there are some risks with working with weapons (Engineering. 127). In addition, forensic scientists are exposed to noxious fumes and poisons (Engineering. 127). Generally, forensic scientists work with lab partners and other branches of law enforcement such as, policemen, FBI, and judges (Engineering. 127).
Pay and Benefits
Forensic Scientist’s pay varies. According to Career Information Center, their earnings vary depending on experience and education. Entry level pay for a forensic scientist with a bachelor’s degree in 2005 was about $30,000 a year. The median salary was about $40,000. Experienced forensic scientists with a master’s degree earn around $70,000. Different types of forensic scientists earn different salaries. For example, a technician will make around $40,000 a year, but a forensic pathologist can earn up to $200,000 a year. Also, large crime labs use specialists, scientists who do one specific duty well. These specialists often make more money than others (Engineering. 127).
Forensic Scientists get benefits. According to Career Information Center, forensic scientists get sick days and vacation days. The amount of days depends on the crime lab they work at. They are also offered medical insurance. Again, this varies with the crime lab. Forensic scientists are also offered pension plans (Engineering. 127).
Forensic scientists have opportunity for advancement. Most start out as trainees where they learn how to do their job. Then, they are given more freedom and assume the duties of the other forensic scientists. A few people may be promoted to senior forensic scientist or manager of the crime lab (Echaore-McDavid 60). Typically, positions open up when other forensic scientists are promoted, retire, or if the lab expands (Engineering. 127). Also,...
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