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Career as Forensic Scientist

Forensic Science is a very interesting and demanding field that uses Science to solve legal and criminal cases. Studying Forensic Science promises a never-dying career as it is directly related to the crime ratio, not just in India but all around the world. Its scope expands from the government to private establishments; from laboratories to detective agencies; and from banks, hospitals, and law firms to institutes. Forensic DNA analysis is the long-ago-invented yet a major contributor to investigation methodologies in the latest techniques. The abundance of this field and its implication in Forensics has opened unlimited job and research opportunities for the youth today.

Job Profile

Career as Forensic Scientist

The job of a Forensic Scientist is all about making a keen analysis of the clues collected from a crime scene and providing data that will be used to resolve cases. It involves collecting relevant material from a crime spot that can serve as some proof, gathering all possible clues and converting them into evidence. Physical evidence includes samples of blood, saliva, hair, impressions on objects like glass, shoes, fingerprints, footprints, etc. so that they can be produced in furtherance of reaching to some decision on the crime. 

Forensic Scientists' job is of both on-site and in-office nature. There is a lot of work to be done on the spot and then back into the laboratory where sample analysis is done. It requires working in a team as well as working by yourself. The pressure is high depending on the emergency on the case. As this field is related to criminology, practitioners need to be smart, alert, intelligent and decisive. Pressure will have to be handled at a time from many sides like judicial, management and police and sometimes also from criminals. Situations may demand working round the clock, other than the usual eight-hour schedule.

 

Forensic Scientists are usually appointed by the Government Intelligence systems. Various private agencies are also known to employ Forensic technicians to provide data and evidence for their investigative work. With the rise in technology, criminals are getting smarter too. That adds up the challenge as well as demand for smart and intelligent researchers in this field. This extra risk is well paid off, especially with the effective application of the seventh pay commission. Even private service members are paid handsomely. 

Another interesting and less risky job is teaching in such institutes. There is work pressure of a different level, yet less compared to those on the field. Again payment is great, especially at private colleges.

Various specializations available for Forensic aspirants are as follows:

  • Digital Forensics

  • Forensic Linguistics

  • Forensic Pathology

  • Forensic Accounting

  • Forensic Chemistry

  • Forensic Microbiology

  • Forensic DNA Analysis

  • Forensic Engineering

  • Forensic Psychiatry

  • Forensic Psychology

  • Forensic Toxicology

Then the various job roles include:

  • Investigative officers

  • Legal counsellors

  • Forensic Expert

  • Forensic Scientist

  • Crime Scene Investigator

  • Teacher / Professor

  • Crime Reporter

Beginners are remunerated about three to four lakhs per annum. Experienced candidates get paid on a scale of Rs 8 to Rs 12 lakh per annum, with added benefits. 

All major cities in India that have courts, where investigative agencies are established, research laboratories and testing is conducted, will have job opportunities for Forensic enthusiasts. Having said that, Delhi and Mumbai being the state and commercial capitals respectively, are likely to have more career opportunities. 

The listing below few major Job Providers for Forensic Graduates and Post Graduates:

  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

  • The Intelligence Bureau (IB)

  • Central Govt. Forensic Sciences Labs

  • The Quality Control Bureau

  • The Indian Army

  • Police Department

  • Hospitals and Pathology Centres

  • Banks

  • Private Detectives and Law Firms

  • Universities

Future Growth Prospects and How to get there faster

Starting with a bachelor's degree is the best way to pursue a career in this field. You make the most of your on-the-job assistance, stay alert, fit, focussed and determined and that will be the only key to success here. You can side by trying and crack other competitive examinations or the postgraduate certificate courses for better promotional prospects. Also, keep a check on the service commission's website for spot vacancies.

Pros and Cons of a career in Forensic Science

Everything comes with pros and cons, and a career in Forensics is one with a lot of risks as well as glamour in-built.

Pros 

  • Interesting job

  • Good pay

  • Never dying and demanding field

  • Rich experience w.r.t technology and latest inventions

  • Involves fieldwork as well

Cons 

  • High work pressure

  • Security risk is involved

  • May involve overtime or round the clock service incidentally

  • Routine Lab work can be monotonous

  • Most of the high-paying jobs are only available if you crack state level PSC examinations

How do I get there?

Candidates need to clear 10+2 with Science stream to be eligible for any UG level Forensic course. In order to be eligible for a Master's course, one must have a Bachelor's degree in Science. Some Private universities conduct their own entrance examinations for PG level admissions. In order to pursue further Master level courses, relevant graduation level degrees in Engineering, Criminology, Pharmacy along with B.Sc in Forensic studies are also acceptable. Short term certificate courses are also available for working people or those who cannot attend full-time classes.

How much does it cost?

A three-year full-time degree course in Forensic Science costs from Rs 1,60,000 to Rs 2,50,000 on an average.
A two-years post-graduation degree costs from Rs 1,00,000 to Rs 2,00,000 on average. Whereas a PG Diploma course about Rs 2,00,000 to Rs 3,00,000. Most of the costs involved in these courses are utilized towards laboratory maintenance.

What are the Top Colleges where one should be studying to become a Forensic Scientist

There are plenty of colleges in India that provide Bachelor and Master's level courses in Forensic Sciences. Shortlisted below are 5 top colleges that are rated best based on academics, exposure, infrastructure and placement facilities.'

Rank of College 

Name of College, City

Programme Fees 

1

Bundelkhand University, Uttar Pradesh

MSc, Rs 100,000

2

Dr. BR Ambedkar University, Agra

MSc, Rs 100,000

3

Amity University, Gurgaon

BSc, Rs 300,000

MSc, Rs 200,000

4

Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar

BSc, Rs 2,50,000

MSc, Rs 1,70,000

PhD, Rs 3,60,000

5

Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi

MSc, Rs 1,60,000

Books and other Study Material

Here are some great book references for the aspirants of Forensic Career:

  • Forensic Psychology - David Canter

  • Fundamentals of Forensic Science - Max Houck

  • The Essentials of Forensic Medicine - K.S.N.

  • The Science of Sherlock Holmes - E.J. Wagner

  • Forensic Science in Criminal Investigation and Trials - B.R. Sharma

What if this career does not work out for me? What are the other options for a person with these credentials ?

Forensic Science is quite a vast field. If fieldwork, analytics, investigation, laboratory research, reporting is not your cup of tea; you still have a bunch of interesting offers in the platter. Teaching is an all-time open role that will help you stay updated. If you wish to retire after a bit of experience, you can as well work as a consultant with law firms, private detective agencies and even as a career counsellor, or a recruiter in your niche. 

Sadly, crime has no end until the end of humanity. And this one truth will keep unlimited career opportunities open for the aspirants of Forensic Science.

 

Content on this page is by Career Expert
Mrs. Kum Kum Tandon
MA (Psychology), M.Ed, Diploma in Educational Psychology, Vocational Guidance & Counseling (NCERT, Delhi) | View Complete Profile
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