MadSci Network: General Biology

Re: what do i need to become a forensic sciencetist??

Date: Tue May 3 17:16:50 2005
Posted By: Yvonne A. Simpson, Science Festival Co-ordinator
Area of science: General Biology
ID: 1115141099.Gb

Well, I think you should first consider if it is the right type of work 
for you.  Do you work well under pressure, would you like the 
responsibility, would you like working with samples which could be rather 
manky (e.g. bodily fluids)? If the answer to all those is yes then I 
suggest you do a google search for forensic science courses at 
universities and colleges in Scotland or England to see what their entry 
requirements are.  I'm afraid that you'll have to do the searching 
yourself as different universities and colleges will have different entry 
requirements and there are different types of work in forensic science.  
Have a good look around the Forensic Science Society website and consider 
asking them for advice.  Just remember that it isn't likely to be the way 
it is on t.v.!     

These are the bits of the Forensic Science Society website that are most 
relevant to your question:

Career Opportunities

The majority of forensic scientists in the United Kingdom are employed by 
the Forensic Science Service (in England and Wales), by specific police 
forces (in Scotland), and by regional government (in Northern Ireland), 
and by private companies which also specialise in providing primary 
forensic science services to the police such as Forensic Alliance Limited 
and the Laboratory of the Government Chemist. Aside from these, there are 
a number of other organisations which focus on specific areas of forensic 
science such as fire investigation, questioned documents, and advising the 

Training to Become a Forensic Scientist 

There are two main elements in the training required to become a general 
forensic scientist. The first involves academic courses, and the second, 
on-the-job training usually with one of the main suppliers of primary 
services to police. 

Academic requirements:

Requirements in respect of academic qualifications depend on the ultimate 
goal. For instance, to become an assistant forensic scientist or 
equivalent or a technical specialist, you are likely to need at least four 
good passes at GCSE including English and either science 
(Biology/Chemistry) or Maths, and at least one A level in a science 
subject. To become a case-reporting forensic scientist and/or a forensic 
science researcher, you will usually require at least a good first degree 
in Biology, Chemistry or related subject, followed up, in many cases, by a 
postgraduate/MSc qualification in forensic science or direct employment. 

Training on-the-job:

On-the-job training tends to be best catered for by suppliers of forensic 
science services to police and other law enforcement agencies as it is in 
these organisations that there is the breadth and depth of casework to 
provide the necessary experience. Such training generally includes a 
combination of specialist in-house courses and practical casework - all 
forming part of a professional apprenticeship. 

Here are some other websites I found on qualifications

Best wishes, 
Yvonne A. Simpson

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