What is a Forensic Examiner?

Forensic ExaminerA forensic examiner is a scientific professional who collects, analyzes and reports on crime scene evidence. While most work in law enforcement labs or offices, some work in the field collecting and recording evidence.

What is a Forensic Examiner?

The term forensic examiner broadly applies to scientific and technical professionals who investigate information in order to form an expert opinion. The legal system relies on professional experts during trials to establish the truth regarding crimes. However, most people don’t know that forensic examination isn’t limited to stereotypical crime evidence, such as weapons or personal items. Forensic examiners specialize in a wide array of areas, such as DNA, accounting, ballistics, pathology, fingerprinting, documents and toxicology.

Who is the American College of Forensic Examiners Institute?

The American College of Forensic Examiners Institute is the premier professional association that offers exclusive networking, referral and educational opportunities. In fact, the ACFEI offers NCCA accredited certification programs. Their Certified Forensic Nurse (CFN) course is for RNs who work in the medical forensic field. The Certified Criminal Investigator (CCI) course is for investigators who examine crime scenes, handle evidence and testify in court. Their Certified Forensic Physician (CFP) is for doctors who forensically examine crime victims or cadavers. The Certified Medical Investigator (CMI) is designed for health care professionals who analyze DNA evidence and crime scenes. The Certified Master Forensic Social Worker (CMFSW) is a unique certification for licensed social workers who advocate for victims. The Certified Forensic Consultant (CFC) is for experienced criminal justice professionals who work within the legal or law enforcement system.

FBI Job Profile

The FBI has many forensic examiner positions available for college graduates. They offer forensic examination careers in biometric analysis, forensic response and scientific analysis. First, forensic examiners perform complex DNA casework for the Federal DNA Database and the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). Second, there are many forensic response technicians who perform tasks such as forensic imaging and crime scene documentation. For example, forensic imaging professionals work within the Forensic Imaging Unit (FIU) to provide photographic processing and support services. Crime scene documentation technicians survey and record crime scenes through traditional methods and digital cameras with laser scanners. They reconstruct anything from plane crashes to bullet trajectories. Third, there are scientific analysis technicians who perform chemistry, firearms and trace evidence research and analysis. For instance, trace evidence technicians assess and identify trace materials that are transferred during violent crimes, such as soil, glass, fibers and hair.

What Education is Required?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that forensic science technicians normally have a specialized bachelor’s degree in natural science, such as genetics, molecular biology or organic chemistry. However, other students choose to major in math, such as physics or calculus, or computer science. Keep in mind that a forensic science degree will prepare the student to start work right away as a forensic examiner. A forensic science degree will include coursework in DNA, trace and physical evidence collection and processing. It will also cover toxicology, questioned documents and crime scene investigation and photography.

Related Resource: Criminal Justice Jobs

Looking back, a forensic examiner can specialize in many fascinating subjects, such as ballistics or toxicology. A degree in forensic examination will open future career opportunities for graduates. Forensic examiners work for local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.