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Exploring Forensic Science

Forensic science is a fascinating topic that is basically defined as the application of science to the law. Forensic scientists perform a broad range of tasks including the search and examination of physical evidence from crime scenes, analyzing specimens from people thought to have been abusing drugs or alcohol, and analyzing specimens from people thought to have been poisoned. There are also forensic scientists that specialize in studying explosives, firearms, and examining documents for authenticity.

Forensic science encompasses many different fields and topics of study. If you are interested in getting a forensic science degree, there are many specialty areas of study within the field. You can become a forensic psychiatrist, which involves the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, usually related to crime. There is also the field of profiling in which an investigator will examine a crime scene to come up with a personality profile of the criminal. Other forensic scientists specialize in document examination including forgery, counterfeiting, and hand writing analysis. Crime scene processing is yet another field in forensic science. Crime scene processing includes searching the scene and collecting and tagging evidence, and analyzing the evidence. Then there is the field of firearms and toolmark identification, and this involves analyzing and matching firearms and other weapons to crimes. There are many interesting specialties found in the fascinating field of forensic science and there are numerous options for careers.

  • Forensic Psychiatry - a great explanation of the field of forensic psychiatry from the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
  • Criminal Profiling - an in-depth explanation of what criminal profiling is and how it works
  • Firearms Identification - information on firearms identification and ballistics relating to forensic law
  • Forensic Document Examination - an explanation of document examination from the Southeastern Association of Forensic Document Examiners
  • Medical Examiner - a career guide to being a medical examiner

If you are interested in a career in forensic science you have to have at least a bachelors degree in science. A bachelors degree generally requires four years of education. Most specialty fields in forensic science require advanced degrees, so the length of time needed to get a degree in forensic science depends on the specialty you are interested in getting into. Different forensic science programs all require different amounts of schooling.

  • Choosing A Career- information on choosing a career in forensic science, education needed, and much more information from the American Academy of Forensic Sciences
  • Forensic Science - advice about a career in forensic science
  • NAME - the National Association of Medical Examiners