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Are You Interested in a Forensic Career?

Updated on May 20, 2011

What Does "Forensic" Mean?

When you hear about a forensic investigation or the work of a forensic scientist a rather glamorous image is conjured up. The word forensic means "pertaining to the court" and therefore is applied to people who help in court cases for both civil and criminal disputes.

For example, a forensic accountant is somebody that helps a court to understand complex financial issues and must present a report or oral evidence that clarifies these,

Forensic Careers Compared

Due to the popularity level of forensic science television shows, people today are now looking to peruse forensic careers of all types.  These forensic careers compared offer a variety of job opportunities that can set you up for the rest of your life.  With the right amount of education and training you could easily start applying for one of these top careers in the forensic field!

Forensic Dentistry

Those who are specialists in forensic dentistry are also known as odontologists.  These professionals study to be able to identify victims in various crime scenes as well as possible suspects that could be involved.  Odontologists will use all of the data that they have collected at crime scenes to analyze and present in court.  If this is your chosen forensic career choice, you will often testify in front of a judge and jury in order to support the case against the named suspect involved.

Forensic Photographer

When a crime has been committed there are a number of people that are vital to solving the crime and bringing justice to the world.  The forensic photographer is the one that will take the pictures from every angle of a crime scene.  These photographs are also going to be needed in court or as evidence used to support a pending case.  Before starting this type of training, it might be a good idea to get a camera and start taking photos of your own for some simple practice.

Forensic Analyst

The forensic analyst is the one that will process and put together most of the pieces of physical evidence in the case.  You will have to test a number of pieces of evidence that contain any sort of possible DNA or unknown substances that need to be identified.  Blood and urine will be tested in order to link a suspect to a crime case.  The analyst works in the biology field and trains with a number of tools and high tech equipment that will help aid them in solving the crime!

Forensic accountancy

Apart from the forensic scientist the forensic accountant is another important expert witness often used to help the court. A forensic accountant presents complex and confusing financial and business issues, often in cases of fraud, in order that a dispute can be properly understood. They also value businesses and asses loss of profits when contract disputes arise.

Specialist forensic accounting firms are able to undertake work in all areas of criminal and civil dispute, such as matrimonial disputes, professional negligence, contract disputes and business interruption claims. They investigate fraud and examine cases of money laundering for the authorities.

The author is a forensic accountant and has been investigating fraud for years.  Areas of forensic accounting not pursued include valuing family businesses in matrimonial disputes, assessing loss of earnings for compensation after medical injury and commenting on auditor negligence when statutory accounts are misleading.  Areas of specialist experience do include white collar crime, money laundering and employee theft.

It is quite common to work for either the prosecuting authorities or the criminals - but not during the same case! As an independant expert (similar to legal counbsel) you can be working for a criminal one minute and for the law enforcement authorities the next. The idea is that your expertise and opinion are respected, and your view is therefore non-partisan.

Is a Forensic Career For You?

In order to get started with the right forensic career you will need to take a number of required course and electives.  A Bachelor’s Degree in Biology along with some of these popular electives; biochemistry, criminal justice and forensic science will be needed in order to start training in the field.  Forensic science is the best way to connect science and law and the best forensic teams and individuals are vital.

For forensic accounting an initial path in accountancy is preferred, although it is possible to pursue this career path as soon as you are qualified as an accountant. At the start you will be supporting the lead expert who will put his or her name to reports and give evidence in court is required to do so. However, in time you will be able to move up the ladder and develop your forensic career in this way.


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