Forensic science

Careers in forensic science

As forensic scientist you can work in forensics, insurance investigation, risk analysis, research science and government institutions and within chemical, food and pharmaceutical industries.

If you specialise in forensic biology, your job may include proving whether a suspect was at a crime scene, identifying illegal produces and endangered species and matching crime scene evidence to suspects.

If you specialise in forensic chemistry, your job may include identifying materials and tracing their origins in areas such as forensic drug analysis and toxicology. You may need to analyse the chemical changes which occur during an incident to help reconstruct the sequence of events.

As a forensic scientist, you may perform the following tasks:

  • Analysing samples, such as hair, body fluids, glass, paint, drugs, and poisons in the laboratory
  • Applying techniques such as gas and high performance liquid chromatography, scanning electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, infrared spectroscopy and genetic fingerprinting
  • Sifting and sorting evidence, often held in miniscule quantities
  • Recording findings and collecting trace evidence from scenes of crimes or accidents
  • Inputting relevant data into computer programs
  • Presenting results of work in written form or by giving oral evidence
  • Researching and developing new techniques
  • Coordinating with outside agencies and offering expert advice
  • Analysing and interpreting results and computer data
  • Conducting botanical examination both physical and chemical
  • Identifying firearms and ammunitions,
  • Analysing audio recordings and documents (handwriting, typewriting)
  • Liaising with other scientists, pathologists and police.
Melbourne Burwood Campus

Skills and attributes

You will need to demonstrate the following skills and attributes to gain employment in forensic science:

  • Research and analytical abilities
  • Technical laboratory skills
  • Logical thinking
  • Investigation skills
  • Determination and patience
  • High level written and oral communication skills
  • An excellent eye for detail and observation skills

Related roles include:

  • Forensic biologist
  • Biomedical scientist
  • Federal or state police officer
  • Government forensic laboratory technician
  • Law enforcement agent
  • Medical and pathology laboratory technician
  • Wildlife and quarantine laboratory technician
  • Crime scene investigator
  • Researcher
  • Educator
  • DNA profiler and geneticist
  • Forensic statistician
Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

Salary and job outlook

You can learn more about graduate salaries and graduates job outcomes for forensic scientists at Graduate Careers Australia.

Look at industry trends and employment prospects by visiting Australian Government Job Outlook.

Professional associations are an invaluable connection to industry information, networking and professional development opportunities. Most offer student membership discounts. Follow the link to search for professional associations related to your course.

Book an appointment with Jobshop for more information.

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