Becoming a Forensic Toxicologist

Forensic Toxicologists find out the effects chemicals have on the human body. They perform scientific tests on body fluids and tissue samples to identify the presence of drugs or chemicals inside the body. They often become part of a crime investigating team. Their focus substances are alcohol, illegal drugs, chemicals, poisons, metals and gases.

While the samples are generally collected by the Crime Scene Investigators from the spot, Forensic Toxicologists perform tests on those. They use advanced equipments and technology to determine the presence or absence of toxic materials in the samples. Patience holds the key in this profession.

The Forensic Toxicologists are required to follow cumbersome steps to achieve reliable results. And, this is not easy at all. In addition, they must be ready and capable to testify before the courts and other law enforcement agencies to prove their points.

Education Requirements:

1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree: The aspirants must have a bachelor’s degree in natural science. The subjects could be chemistry, biology or forensic science. Coursework in mathematics, medicine, pharmacology etc. could be an added advantage. The main focus should be on chemistry to understand toxicology in a better way.

2. Graduate School: After completing a bachelor’s degree, the Forensic Toxicologists may go for a doctoral degree in one of specialized areas of Toxicology at a graduate school. Courses such as biochemistry and environmental toxicology are high in demand these days.

3. Postdoctoral Training: Postdoctoral training is very much important for the Forensic Toxicologists, as that give them a real opportunity to gain experience in a work setting. They must work on moderate to complex projects to get maximum expertise.

Salary & Job Outlook: The projected job growth for Forensic Toxicologists is 6% during the period of 2012-22. The average salary was $75,000 as of May 2013. Some of them may earn up to $100,000 depending on their experience.