A forensic consultant is a highly trained and skilled professional who works to provide consultation services related to forensic science. His work involves examining evidence, evaluating cases and reconstructing crime scenes. This post will highlight some of the key steps one can take to become a consultant in forensics.
Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
The minimum academic qualification for any forensic job is a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Many employers prefer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in forensic science when hiring. A forensic science degree combines the principles of biology, physics, chemistry and physical anthropology with criminal justice concepts to prepare students adequately for forensic assignments. The degree covers courses such as inorganic chemistry, cell biology, genetics and physical physics. Alternatively, one can choose to pursue a degree in biology, chemistry or physics, provided the program offers a concentration in forensic science.
Enroll in an Internship Program
In addition to a bachelor’s degree, aspiring forensic consultants must participate in an internship program. An internship enables you to network with professional forensic experts and observe the forensic process first hand. The internship can be done at a county government forensic office, federal agency or local police department.
Further Your Education
A master’s or doctorate degree can give you an upper hand over your competitors in the job market. You can get access to more advanced jobs and benefit from lucrative salaries, packages and bonuses. Most of the programs at the graduate level allow for specialization in physics, chemistry or biology while others offer a comprehensive and integrated approach. It is advisable you take Masters in Forensic science or any other program that will expose you to highly specialized areas like toxicology, serology, microscopy and ballistics.
Gain Some Work Experience
You can choose to apply for a job once you complete your undergraduate studies or wait until you are through with your masters. Whichever route you choose, you will have to gain at least five years of work experience as a forensic scientist before you are considered qualified to practice as a consultant. You can choose to work with the county, state or city crime laboratories or federal law enforcement units. A good amount of work experience will enable you to acquire the skills and knowledge you need to excel as a forensic consultant.
You will need at least one certification to prove your credibility as a consultant. You can choose the Registered Investigator (RI), Diplomate of ABC or Fellow of ABC certification. The Registered Investigator (RI) certification is provided by the American College of Forensic Examiners International. The certification proves your knowledge of interrogation methods, evidence handling and crime scene processing. The Diplomat ABC and Fellow ABC certifications are provided by the American Board of Criminalists (ABC). They prove your knowledge of trace evidence analysis, drug analysis, fire debris analysis and molecular biology.
Get Started as a Consultant
Once you have obtained the right certification, you can start working as a consultant. Most states require consultants to have a private practice license and pass a background check. Your potential clients will include government investigation agencies, criminal defense lawyers, prosecutors and private citizens.
Working in the forensic field as a consultant is a rewarding opportunity that allows you to exercise your skills freely and uncover mysteries behind crimes. To become a forensic consultant, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree, a considerable amount of work experience as a forensic scientist and at least one certification from a recognized professional body.