Forensic scientists, also known as forensic investigators, study crime scenes and piece together clues that help detectives and authorities with their investigations. Becoming a forensic scientist takes years of study, as you will have to master a variety of scientific topics, including biology and chemistry, before qualifying to work as one. Because of this, considering the pros and cons of being a forensic investigator before pursuing the required education can help you make the right decision.
Because of the specialized and challenging nature of being a forensic investigator, professionals in the field make attractive salaries. According to Criminal Justice USA, forensic scientists in the United States can eventually earn around $50,000 a year. In addition, many forensic investigators may work for state or federal governments, most of which offer benefits packages that include health insurance and pension funds, increasing the attractiveness of these positions even more.
Pro: Intellectual Stimulation
Forensic investigating involves a combination of science, people skills, and detective work. Because of this, it is a tempting career for people who need intellectual stimulation on the job. In addition, the effects of your research are often immediately apparent: discovering new evidence or classifying evidence and finding its significance can help make or break a court case against a suspect. Finally, the elements of social justice that the job involves (such as helping to catch and imprison criminals) can also be rewarding, on both an intellectual and an emotional level.
As a forensic investigator, you will have some busy periods and other periods with relatively little to do. Because of this, your income can be unpredictable if you are not receiving a regular salary from an institution or organization. In addition, various tasks involved with the profession also involve long periods of waiting; court cases, for example, can notoriously take a long time to be presented, which can be frustrating when you have worked hard to collect evidence.
Because of the nature of criminal investigations, a forensic investigator's hours are unpredictable. You may have to work evenings and weekends, or even be called out in the middle of the night to examine a crime scene. This may make the career a difficult choice for those with families, or for those with significant demands outside of work.
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