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How to Become a Forensic Officer

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A forensic officer, forensic scientist, or crime scene investigator is a highly-trained law enforcement officer, often with a college degree in science and/or criminal justice. He assists other officers in investigating crimes and analyzes evidence in a lab and at a crime scene.

While forensic officers have widely varying positions, the education required to become one is fairly standard throughout the United States.

Learn, then Earn

Take high school classes in biology, chemistry, physics, and calculus. This way, you can get a grounding in, and preliminary understanding of, these topics before taking them in college.

Obtain a bachelor’s degree in a related field, like biology, chemistry, forensic science (if offered). Not every college offers forensic science as a major, but if you know you want to study forensic science, conduct a college search for colleges that offer the program.

Study criminology, the U.S. court system, anthropology, or justice. All these areas of study help you supplement your science degree. Because forensics combines many different fields, all these topics give you valuable tools and make you a more attractive job candidate.

Take classes in ethics and public speaking. You need a strong sense of morals and must be able to present your ideas clearly and effectively to be a good forensic officer.

Pursue a graduate degree in forensics. Some forensic scientists choose to intensively study subjects like toxicology, psychology, blood spatter, or ballistics. While in graduate school, try to get an internship or entry-level position as a forensic assistant.

Apply to law enforcement agencies or forensics labs. Prepare your resume, dress professionally, and start interviewing. With a great education behind you, you are more than prepared to become a forensic officer.

About the Author

Gwendolen Akard started writing professionally in 2004 for her high-school newspaper and hasn't stopped since. She began writing for various websites in 2008, focusing on fitness and music. Akard is pursuing bachelor's degrees in philosophy and music at Tufts University.

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