Forensic ChemistForensic chemists examine non-biological or synthetic trace materials retrieved from crime scenes used in criminal investigations.
Forensic chemists assigned to laboratories conduct tests on materials gathered by investigators. They utilize many techniques, which include gas chromatography, X-ray and infrared analysis, optical analysis, and microscopy when examining evidence.
They maintain detailed records and prepare reports that are reviewed by attorneys and police officers. Forensic chemists are often asked to testify at court trials as expert witnesses.
Forensic chemists are typically assigned to laboratories managed by government agencies. They sit in front of computer screens for hours at a time performing repetitive duties.
Forensic chemists must be detail-oriented since mistakes can cause evidence to be inadmissible in court. Likewise, inattention to details and procedures can infringe on the quality of scientific tests.
Forensic chemists must also be organized and have the ability to multi-task since police investigators are constantly asking for results shortly after submitting evidence.
They must also be composed and good communicators since they're frequently called before juries to offer expert testimony about complicated scientific concepts.
Career Training and Education
Forensic chemists typically hold bachelor's degrees in clinical, general, or forensic chemistry. Certain universities offer graduate degree programs in forensic chemistry. If you study forensic chemistry, select a program recognized by the American Academy of Forensic Science.
More laboratories now require forensic scientists to hold master's degrees at a minimum. In addition to being accredited, when selecting a program, find one that offers clinical laboratory opportunities and classes in physical evidence, crime scenes, and laboratory science.
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