Criminalistics is part of forensic science. It is the forensic science that deals with analyzing and examining physical evidence. A criminalist works in a crime or forensic lab.
This is all well and good, but what should the aspiring or future criminalist know? What training and skills should he or she possess? In this article, I examine the training and skills needed to become a criminalist.
This is a criminal justice profession where education is important. Those interested in becoming criminalists must be ready to acquire a college education. The minimum educational requirement by most hiring organizations is a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree will take you about 4 years of college to complete.
Your choice of major for your bachelor’s degree is also important. More and more, the preferred major is becoming forensic science. Some colleges have responded to this requirement. They now offer major in forensic science to meet the needs of future professionals who want to concentrate in this line of work.
To even narrow the field further, some schools offer major in criminalistics. While the forensic science major covers other areas of forensic science, the criminalistics major is a little more concentrated in this area of study.
Other majors that can qualify one to become a criminalist are chemistry, biology, or physics. These are the natural sciences that deal a great deal with laboratory work. This laboratory work background helps in crime or forensic lab work.
It is important to point out that a criminalist must make continuing education part of his or her career. This is to keep them abreast of the latest methods and techniques of doing their job.
There are skills needed to become a criminalist. There is no point in embarking on a bachelor’s degree to become a criminalist if you lack the skills to get the job done. If you lack the skills, you will only be frustrated. This frustration can lead you to want to quit and wonder why you got in the profession in the first place.
Below are important skills I feel you need to become a successful criminalist:
1. You must be analytical in nature. This involves the ability to look at different sides of an issue. You can’t run with the first answer you see. You must question if there are other answers and then eliminate the less plausible while keeping the most promising for further analysis.
2. You should enjoy doing research. This will involve a lot of information or data gathering. You must know where to go for this information or data. Then when you get this information or data, you should know and keep the ones that are essential to your case.
3. You should enjoy doing documentation. The criminalist may be called to court to present his or her finding. This finding must be well documented to stand scrutiny in the court of law. Otherwise, the finding will be thrown out of court.
There you have it—-the training and skills you need to become a criminalist. I have by no means covered all of them. But, it is hard to do an exhaustive coverage in such a short article.
If you are interested in becoming a criminalist, I recommend you look into this further. You can do so by visiting websites that cover this profession in more detail.
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