- Use scientific techniques to help solve crimes and protect the public
- Exciting work using leading-edge techniques to make a real difference
- Can be emotionally demanding and you'll need attention to detail and analytical ability
As a forensic scientist, you'll use a range of techniques to find and study evidence from a variety of sources, like blood and other body fluids, hairs, textile fibres, glass fragments and tyre marks.
Your main role will be looking for evidence to link a suspect with a crime scene, but you may also specialise.
- Blood grouping and DNA profiling
- Analysing fluid and tissue samples for traces of drugs and poisons
- Examining splash patterns and the distribution of particles
- Analysing handwriting, signatures, ink and paper
- Providing expert advice on explosives, firearms and ballistics
- Researching and developing new technologies
- Recovering data from computers, mobile phones and other electronic equipment
- Attending crime scenes, such as a murder or fire
- Giving impartial, scientific evidence in court
You'll be based mainly in a laboratory, but may also visit crime scenes, which can be distressing. You'll wear special clothing to prevent contamination and protect you from hazardous substances.
To be a forensic scientist, you'll need thoroughness and attention to detail, patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations, the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure, to think clearly using logic and reasoning, knowledge of public safety and security, excellent written communication skills, the ability to work alone, and legal knowledge.
You can get this job through a degree or postgraduate qualification in forensic science, or a related subject like chemistry, biological science, physics or medical sciences. It may help to choose a university quailfication accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.
You can apply directly for this role if you've got a lot of lab experience, and qualifications in science, especially chemistry.
You may get this job by doing a laboratory scientist higher or degree apprenticeship. It can help if you do your apprenticeship with a company that provides forensic science services, or with a police force that has its own in-house lab facilities.
If you want to specialise in electronic casework (recovering data from computers, mobile phones and other electronic equipment), you may need experience and qualifications in computing, electrical engineering, electronics or physics.
You will also need a DBS check.
With experience, you could move into management and direct other forensics staff as a forensics manager or casework examiner. You could also work as a reporting scientist, acting as an expert witness in court.