Becoming a Forensic Biologist
Forensic Biologists inspect crime scenes to garner evidences, including blood, saliva and hair samples and examine those to identify victims, which helps in the criminal investigation process. They conduct the examination in a laboratory and turn up in courts to testify. They mostly work for government agencies, be it hospitals or any research laboratories. The Forensic Biologists are also called as Forensic Science Technicians. They are required to work as a team and don’t enjoy flexible working hours.
1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree: It is mandatory to obtain a bachelor’s degree in a forensic or natural science. In addition, coursework in mathematics, biology and chemistry is also required to understand the techniques used in forensic labs. The students must learn forensic pathology, genetics, molecular biology and DNA analysis.
2. Obtain a Master’s Degree: A Master’s Degree in forensic biology helps in enhancing the profiles of career aspirants. The coursework generally covers biotechnology, molecular biology and ethical issues in criminal investigations.
3. Certification: The American Board of Criminalistics offers voluntary certification in molecular biology at two levels, Diplomate (D-ABC) and Fellow (F-ABC). Details are available on the website.
4. Work Experience in Forensic Science: After obtaining the bachelor’s degree, the aspiring Forensic Biologists are required to get on-the-job training in forensic science work. In addition, they are advised to attend workshops on professional development, biochemistry and lab analysis methods. The DNA analysis training is must. Duration of this training should be 6-12 months.
Salary & Career Outlook:
The job outlook for a Forensic Biologist remains bright. As there has been an advancement of DNA profiling, opportunities open up for them in research laboratories and government agencies apart from state-run hospitals. The average salary of a Forensic Biologist is $30,000 to $55,000 per year.