How to Become a Forensic Scientist in Ohio?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2017 figures, there were 400 forensic science technicians working in the state of Ohio. O*NET OnLine projects that jobs in this field are likely to grow at 24%, which is a lot higher than the national average growth for other occupations. With statistics such as these, the future of forensic science surely seems bright in Ohio.

How to Become a Forensic Scientist in Ohio
How to Become a Forensic Scientist in Ohio

Duties of a Forensic Scientist

According to the BLS, the following are the duties of forensic science technicians:

  • Reconstruct crime scenes
  • Catalog and preserve evidence for transfer to crime labs
  • Collect evidence, including weapons, fingerprints, and bodily fluids
  • Record observations and findings, such as the location and position of evidence
  • Make sketches of the crime scene
  • Take photographs of the crime scene and evidence
  • Analyze crime scenes to determine what evidence should be collected and how

In addition to these duties, Forensic Scientists also have a lot of laboratory work, which involves the following:

  • Consulting with experts in specialized fields, such as toxicology (the study of poisons and their effect on the body) and odontology (a branch of forensic medicine that concentrates on teeth)
  • Exploring possible links between suspects and criminal activity, using the results of DNA or other scientific analyses
  • Performing chemical, biological, and microscopic analyses on evidence taken from crime scenes

To get into this field, however, you will need to follow a series of steps. It must be noted that the steps to become a forensic scientist in Ohio need to be taken as general guidelines, rather than the exact requirements for every job title in the field. The exact requirements would vary according to location, employer and the level of occupation you are applying for.

Steps to Become a Forensic Scientist in Ohio

Forensic science is a very technical field. To get into it, you need to fulfill certain education and training requirements. The following steps would be some help in this regard:

Step 1: Graduate from High School

While in high school, you are advised to take up coursework in natural sciences and mathematics, including classes in physics, chemistry, biology and calculus. These subjects would help create a strong foundation for higher educational levels in the field of forensic science.

Step 2: Get a Bachelor’s Degree

Most entry-level positions for forensic scientists would require at least a bachelor’s degree. You can complete a 4-year long bachelor’s degree in fields such as chemistry, physics, biology or forensic science. Even if you don’t go for a forensic science specialization at this point, it is recommended that you take courses in natural sciences and mathematics to better prepare yourself for the nature of your future job. According to the BLS, the minimum level of education required to become a forensic science technician is a bachelor’s degree, though individuals with master’s degrees might have better prospects.

Step 3: Consider getting a master’s degree

While most occupations would not require a master’s degree for entry into the profession, getting one can certainly open up new and more advance employment options for you.

Step 4: Get a Job

Many of the best jobs in forensic science may be found in the larger cities of Ohio, where the crime rate is higher and the demand for crime-solving teams is also greater. The Miami Valley Regional Crime Laboratory employs forensic scientists to aid the law enforcement process in local agencies. Other organizations that employ forensic science technicians in Ohio may include:

  • Lake County Crime Lab
  • Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) Crime Scene Unit
  • Canton Police Department Crime Scene Unit

Forensic Scientists in Ohio usually work in the labs, medical examiner offices, police stations, morgues, and hospitals. They may be able to find employment at the local, state and federal government levels.

Step 5: Complete On-the-Job Training

Before you are given actual case work to handle independently, you employer is most certainly going to require you to complete a training session. This session would help you understand the ins and outs of your job, the workplace norms and the methods followed in arriving at conclusions. The training period may last for a few months or even a year in some cases. The timeline would vary according to the nature of the job and the employer’s requirements.

Step 6: Consider Certification

Certifications are the ideal stepping stone for those looking for career advancement. There are several options for you if you want a professional credential. You may get in touch with the following organizations for a certification:

  • The American College of Forensic Examiners International
  • The American Board of Criminalistics
  • The International Association for Identification
  • International Crime Scene Investigators Association
  • American Academy of Forensic Scientists
  • ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board

How much does a forensic scientist make in Ohio?

According to 2017 data from the BLS, forensic science technicians in Ohio make an annual mean wage of $65,890. This is slightly higher than the national average of $61,220.