Forensic Science is a scientific discipline. It deals with the application of different scientific principles to examine and solve legal matters and provides physical scientific evidence for use in criminal and civil investigations. Forensic science primarily analyses the physical evidence found at the scenes of a crime. Forensic science technicians are trained professionals that gather and examine physical evidence and investigate a variety of criminal activity. With the help of these evidences, the technicians help in the prosecution or defense of both criminal and civil investigations. Evidence could be in form of glass fragments, blood, building materials, hairs, footwear, fibers from clothing, bodily fluids and tire marks etc. The maximum time of a technician is spent in the laboratory analyzing specimens, extracting data and conducting experiments etc. They also testify in court as expert witnesses and explain their laboratory findings.
To become a forensic science technician, one must have at least an associate degree in applied science. However, chances of job opportunities increase several times if one has acquired a bachelor degree in forensic science, criminal justice, or other related field. Many colleges and universities in USA offer the subject of forensic science. The course curriculum covers subjects like human anatomy, laboratory procedures, DNA typing, data collection and recording methods, evidence collection and analysis, criminal law, forensic archaeology, statistics among others. Internship proves vital in obtaining precious practical experience. American Academy of Forensic Science (AAFS) emphasizes the need of choosing a major subject in this field that provides extensive coursework in math and a minimum of 24 academic units of biology or chemistry.
Several forensic science technicians have a master’s degree in certain specialty like molecular biology or genetics or toxicology, latent fingertips, firearms etc. These trained professionals can find entry-level jobs in police departments, government agencies, coroner offices, academic institutions and forensic laboratories. One usually receives on the job training from six months to two years. The training involves learning lab procedures, lab equipment, computer programs, storing evidence, writing reports and providing courtroom testimony. A forensic science technician can also get certified from the American Board of Criminalistics (ABC).
According to USA Labor Bureau, the employment for forensic science technicians is expected to grow at a phenomenal rate of 31% in coming decade. That is definitely a huge boost for those who wish to pursue career in this field.
In India, several institutions offer courses in forensic science:-
Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Science, Delhi
Anna University, Chennai
Dr.Harisingh Gour Vishwa Vidyalaya, Sagar, Madhya Pradesh
Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Hyderabad
Forensic Sciences Department, “Forensic House”, Chennai
University of Delhi, Delhi
Institute of Criminology & Forensic Science, New Delhi
Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Chandigarh
One can pursue courses at B.Sc., M.Sc, Ph.D etc levels. Courses are available in forensic science, criminology, cyber forensics and information security, and forensic speech sciences. One can further specialize in subjects like forensic serology, forensic anthropology, forensic archaeology and other related science. One can find lucrative job opportunities in police force, law enforcing agencies, legal systems and both government and private investigative agencies.