How to Become a Forensic Biologist

By Brenda on August 9th, 2011


If the thought of solving crimes, analyzing evidence and performing tests excites you, then a career as a forensic biologist may be a great fit for you. A forensic biologist spends their time creating detailed reports, and using their scientific and critical thinking skills to piece together the story behind the evidence.

What are Forensic Biologists?

Forensic biologists are also referred to as forensic science technicians. They are responsible for conducting a forensic investigation and analysis on evidence that may hold unseen scientific clues to the who, why, where, and how of a criminal event.

The job is similar to what you see people on shows like CSI doing although it is not nearly as glamorous and easy. Most of their time is spent meticulously going over evidence and conducting experiments. Forensic biologists must have great attention to detail as a single mistake or misstep can ruin an entire investigation.

Educational Requirements

There are a few different ways to become a forensic scientist. The job usually requires at least a bachelor’s degree in forensic science or a science discipline such as chemistry or biology. There are a growing number of two year associate’s degree programs specializing in forensic science. Students who earn a two year associate’s degree are eligible for entry level or assistant positions while earning a bachelor’s degree earns a higher level job with more responsibilities and higher pay.

Work Environment

A forensic biologist is paid to analyze and test samples and substances such as blood, bodily fluids, bones, and any other substance containing DNA evidence. They are called to collect, preserve, and interpret findings. They are also required to testify in court cases or give their expert opinion.

Forensic biologists can also specialize in DNA analysis, forensic pathology, and forensic botany. Specializations often require further training or schooling. Advanced studies are often earned at institutions of higher learning such as colleges and universities.

Job Outlook

The job is expected to grow at an accelerated pace through 2018. Job growth is expected to be around 20% through 2018 which is twice as fast as the average occupation. Job demand is expected to be driven by the need for local and state agencies that need the services of these professionals.

The average salary range of a forensic biologist is $40,000-$56,000 according to the most recent data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The low end of the scale represents an entry level salary. Federal government agencies typically pay the most.






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