How to Become a Forensic Scientist in New York?

The State of New York has always been at the center of some of the most notorious crime mysteries, providing food for thought to producers in Hollywood. It is no wonder then that the fictional Gotham City is a spitting image of New York City. Popular television series CSI: NY is based on New York City.  It is not hard to imagine that many New Yorkers get interested in forensic science simply by watching popular crime TV series.

Many aspiring forensic scientists are enrolled in various programs across the state, well on their way to fighting crime behind the scenes. If you happen to be an aspiring forensic scientist in New York as well, the following information would be of great use to you.

How to Become a Forensic Scientist in New York
How to Become a Forensic Scientist in New York

Careers in Forensic Science

The requirements to become a forensic scientist in New York vary according to the position. Degrees in forensic science can be very versatile, leading into any of the following careers:

  • Medical Examiner
  • Crime Scene Examiner
  • Forensic Engineer
  • Crime Laboratory Analyst
  • Physical Anthropologist
  • Behavior Scientist
  • Document Examiner
  • Criminal Profiler
  • Digital Analyst

The education and training requirements for these careers vary. But as a general guideline, the following steps can be followed.

Steps to Become a Forensic Scientist in New York

Step 1: Graduate from high school

This is a basic level educational requirement that you would be required to fulfill for all forensic science jobs in New York. You are advised to focus on natural sciences, including physics, chemistry and biology, along with mathematics and statistics.

Step 2: Get a Bachelor’s Degree

A 4-year long bachelor’s degree is the minimum education requirement for most forensic science jobs all across the country. You may go for a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, psychology, biology, engineering or even computer science. Your degree choice would largely depend on what specialization path you intend to go for in the future – so do your research well before selecting a major.

Step 3: Get a job and Begin on-the-job Training

Once you have completed your bachelor’s degree, a lot of job opportunities would open up for you. Most of these will be entry-level positions in your local county, state or federal departments. You may even work for the NYPD, but for that, you will first need to become a sworn police officer.

Most entry-level jobs would require you to complete an extensive on-the-job training session. This could last for several months or even years, depending on the nature of the job you have applied for. The basic purpose of this training is to ensure that new entrants get a solid hands-on grip on the applied concepts of forensic science before they actually begin to take on cases independently.

Step 4: Apply for a Certification

Even though getting certified is not a compulsory element in becoming a forensic scientist, it is recommended for those who want to excel in this field, and continue the learning process. Being certified would indicate a new level of achievement and professional standards to potential employers, making you a stronger candidate. There are a total of ten professional certification organizations that are accredited by the Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board (FSAB). These include the American Board of Forensic Toxicology (ABFT) and the American Board of Criminalistics (ABC), among others.

How much does a Forensic Scientist make in New York?

According to 2017 data by O*NET OnLine, Forensic Science Technicians made an annual median income of $68,790 in the State of New York. This is significantly higher than the national annual median income of $57,850 for the same field.

Career Outlook for Forensic Scientists in New York

The career outlook for forensic scientists is very bright in the state of New York. The state is expected to experience a positive 20% change in employment in the years between 2016 and 2026. The number of jobs is expected to go from 770 to 920 in these 10 years – with 110 new jobs being added. State and local governments are expected to hire more forensic scientists, especially in the law enforcement sector, to deal with the ever-increasing case load. As the field of forensic science advances, the availability, usefulness and reliability of objective information provided by forensic scientists is going to increase, making them more useful in trials. Thanks to this, forensic scientists will be able to add even more value to the law enforcement agencies across the state.

Aspiring forensic scientists in New York need to bear in mind that the competition for jobs in the state is going to be tough. With only 110 new jobs being added till 2026, you can expect fierce competition for each of these positions. Applicants with a master’s degree or certifications might have a better chance at getting these jobs.

New York is paying more to its forensic scientists than many other states. So who are the major employers of these professionals in the state? The metropolitan region around the Big Apple is one of the top-paying and top-employing regions of forensic science technicians, especially in the public law enforcement sector. New York comes in at number four in the list of states with the highest level of employment in this occupation, with the New York – Jersey City – White Plains, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division having the highest concentration of employment.