Forensic science: Lucrative career option for science students

Authored by Hardeep Puri, founder, Learntoupgrade

Amongst the many courses and career options available to science graduates, forensic science is an excellent choice if you have an investigative or analytical bent of mind.  

What is Forensic Science?

Forensic science or forensics is concerned with gathering and analysing the evidence from a criminal case or scene with the purpose of establishing or revealing the truth. It analyses the fingerprints, footprints, blood spatters, traces and remains, forensic scientists seek to reveal the identities of criminals, as well as complete facts related to criminal events. It is a multidisciplinary subject where aspects of biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, psychology, social sciences etc are widely used and their knowledge is important. This field of study has a lot of ethical implications as it deals with science and law.

Career scope

 The scope of forensics is vast. It offers lucrative job opportunities both in private and government sectors in India as well as overseas. In recent times, the scope of forensic science has increased exponentially with the rise in crime stats across the the world.

 There are many recognised universities and colleges across the country that offer courses in forensic sciences — a bachelors degree or a diploma course. Students who have opted for PCB (Physics, Chemistry and Biology) or PCM (Physics, Chemistry or Mathematics) in class 12 are eligible to opt for it. Besides, for a professional degree or further research, one can also opt for masters and doctoral level qualifications in the field.

Essential skillsets

 One needs to have an analytical and logical bent of mind with unbiased approach to critically analyse the scene of crime and arrive at a conclusion based on hard evidence and available facts. Some of the forensic scientists visit the crime scene to collect the evidence themselves while others work in the laboratory to perform analysis on objects that serve as evidence. Nevertheless, all of them need to have a keen eye for details. In the laboratory, they testify as expert observers in both criminal and civil cases and can work either for defence or the prosecution.

Career options

The career options available after completing the course include forensic scientists, forensic engineer, crime reporter, handwriting expert, forensic expert, legal counsellor, investigative officer, researcher, crime scene investigator, and Law consultant. Forensic scientists can be employed in the government sector, they can also work in law enforcement agencies and investigation departments like police, investigative service of state, central government and legal system. A trained forensic scientist can be hired by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Intelligence Bureau (IB). One can also work as a freelance forensic scientist specialising in a particular segment and earn a handsome compensation.

Teaching is another interesting career option for forensic scientists; one can opt for teaching in institutions that impart education in forensic sciences.

Job prospects in India

In India, one can explore lucrative career options in organisations such as the CBI, IB, central government forensic laboratories, hospitals, private detective agencies, law firms, police departments, Quality Control Bureau, banks, defence & allied services and universities.

The versatility and the broad scope of forensics have enabled more millennials to explore the subject as a career option. Also, with Indian universities offering a wide range of related courses at both the graduate and masters levels, the country is witnessing rapidly emerging interest in forensics research.

Also Read: Rising demand for forensic scientists

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