The field of forensic science is made up of a diverse selection of highly skilled criminal justice and criminal investigation professionals. To get started in a career in forensic science you’ll need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study. However, many career specialities in forensic science require a master’s or Ph.D. degree. Laboratory technicians, technician supervisors and other positions in DNA and ballistics analysis require candidates to have a minimum of a masters’ degree, and preferrably a Ph.D. Relevant undergraduate courses that apsiring forensic scientists should consider taking include biochemistry, toxicology and criminal justice. Both undergraduate and graduate students are typically required to complete extensive lab work and fulfill an approved internship.
While there are several professional certifications that aspiring forensic scientists can pursue, they’re generally not required. Forensic certifications are usually reserved for those seeking to specialize in a specific forensic science discipline. For example, a forensic odontologist (dentist) must be certified and licensed by the state in addition to having specialized training in dentistry. Forensic scientists will often pursue certification in order to keep their skills up to date and remain competitive.