Career As A Forensic Serologist
Forensic serology is a science that deals with the identification and characterization of biological evidence. These biological evidences help the detectives identify the culprits in any crime. The biological evidences include the fluids from the body such as urine, semen, saliva and breast milk.
So a forensic serologist is a person who has the knowledge of how to use these biological evidences for the identification of criminal. Basically a forensic serologist collects this evidence from the crime scene and uses them such a ways that the information extracted can be used by detectives to identify the actual culprit.
The forensic serology has been so much effective that it is often quoted as the best friend of detective and the worst enemy of a criminal. It is believed that crime will continue to exist as long as humanity exists, therefore the need of forensic serologist will continue to remain. There are various career opportunities as forensic serologist.
In this article we will be discussing about the :
Forensic Serologist Education Requirements
Job Availability for the field of Forensic Serologist
Why pursue a career as forensic Serologist?
Forensic Serologist Education Requirements:
40% of the people working in serology department did not have bachelor’s degree before but over the past few years it has become a norm. Serology does not hire serologist scientists only but it needs people like, forensic technician, a biochemist or a forensic biologist as well.
Therefore, there is no strict compulsion to have a major in biology. It would be a plus point for you to have additional courses like mathematics and criminal justices to get better job opportunities.
The scientists who work here usually have an associate, bachelor’s or Master’s certification however, a chief serologist would possess an M.D. or Ph.D. Higher education is not required you get job in serology; it is the experience which speaks volume here.
There are various educational requirements which if fulfilled will lead your career as forensic serologist. These different types of degrees include bachelors or master’s degree and a graduate certificate.
We shall discuss them one by one in detail.
Forensic Serologist Education Requirements
The associate degree is offered by the community colleges. It is a two year program which requires 60- 65 credits. You need to have a high school diploma or GED to get enrolled. The credits can be transferred to the bachelor’s program if you wish you pursue a career in forensic sciences.
This program gives students foundational knowledge and skills in diverse areas, such as homeland security, law enforcement, and firefighting. Besides this it also trains you for advance course like criminology, law,
criminal psychology, and forensics.
A bachelor's in forensic science is a four-year degree that requires you to complete 120-128 credit hours. Students who have done an associate degree can get admission in it while transferring the credits. Applicants must have a high school diploma/GED, along with SAT and/or ACT scores. Students who want to transfer should provide their transcripts. The bachelor’s in biology usually have course such as, Anatomy and Physiology, Pathology, and Organic Chemistry which helps you in developing knowledge about fluids in human body.
Serology has a high value in Forensic Science as it allows you to master your skills in understanding fluids. Subjects like forensic chemistry and biology helps you with that. You will learn how to work in a laboratory as well as in field. along with these course, Bachelor of science in investigative forensics, Bachelor of science in criminology and Bachelor of science in forensic psychology is also offered by universities.
The basic educational requirement for the job of serologist is a bachelor’s degree. As the field deals with the fluids of human body therefore it is preferable that you have a degree related to human biology. The degree of human biology has broader interdisciplinary courses which makes the degree suitable for becoming a serologist.
However it is not a compulsion to have a human biology degree to be held by applicant for this job, there are several exceptions too. The bachelor’s degree holders for the field of anatomy physics and chemistry are also eligible for becoming a serologist. An individual who has studies one of the courses has knowledge of bodily fluids in human being so that knowledge helps him during his job tenure.
For example a bachelor’s degree holder in chemistry would have the knowledge of dealing with increments within the laboratory or the various testing techniques being used during the identifications process.
Having a master’s degree is not a compulsion but it helps you having a better and deeper understand of the subject. A master in forensic science is a 1-2 year degree. A course Forensic DNA and Serology concentration offered by the university’s College of Pharmacy is one of the most suitable for the serologists.
It fulfills the educational guidelines set by the FBI National Standards for DNA Technical Leaders and Supervisors. The course gives you a strong foundation in serology, blood spatter interpretation, molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, and the theory of DNA analysis. Besides this, Master of science in criminal justice, Master of science in biomedical forensic science and Master of
science in forensic psychology is also a great option for you.
There are various masters’ programs being offered by the various universities however the most prominent one is forensic DNA and serology. The program is being offered by the university’s college pharmacy and you can complete 32 credit hours online or on campus.
The degree provides strong foundations of molecular biology, blood spatter interpretation, genetic and the theory of DNA analysis. All of these subjects are of profound importance when it comes to understanding bodily fluids.
If you are planning to go with this degree you will be glad to hear that this degree meets all the requirements of FBI national standards for technical DNA leaders.
There are various graduate certificates being offered to the bachelor’s degree holders which helps them getting employment in law enforcement agencies and military services. A graduate course is being offered by the department of pharmacy in the University of Florida. This program is specially designed by the university to make the students well equipped with the knowledge that will help them in their professional career. These graduate certificates are of much importance for the people who seek their career in law enforcement agencies, military services and medical personals.
What Are The Main Jobs Of A Forensic Serologist
The forensic serologists mostly work for federal, state, and local level law enforcement agencies. They usually work 40 hours a week and might do overtime if there is an exceptional caseload in the laboratory in which they work.
Most of the time, forensic serologists work in the laboratory, and they are busy performing the tests on the evidence collected from a crime scene. Working in the laboratory is a more straightforward job, and the serologists enjoy comfortable environmental conditions. Nonetheless, they will have to be very careful about the protocols of handling the evidence so that they are not damaged.
The forensic serologists might occasionally be called to the crime scenes for collecting the evidence. The serologists who work in the field might have to face environmental conditions and other hazards. If you plan to become a forensic serologist and are deployed in the field, you will have to be very cautious about the electrical risks, broken glass, weapons, and other potentially harmful substances.
What Does A Forensic Serologist Do?
Let’s ask you a fundamental question, are you one of those who love to enjoy their Saturday nights out with their friends or someone who loves to enjoy the mysterious life where you can expect anything to happen the next movement? If you are among later ones, being a forensic serologist is the most suitable profession for you.
Being a forensic serologist, your life will be full of mysteries, and you will have to report to the crime scene whenever there is a call. Although it might seem very difficult for you, the truth of the matter is that some people love doing this job because of the confounding factor involved in it.
Forensic Serologist Job Description
Forensic serologists are experts of bodily fluids, and through analyzing these fluids, they determine the circumstances of the crime scene. From the pattern of blood in the crime scene to how it seeped, splattered, and dripped, all will be investigated and examined by a forensic serologist. After reviewing, they collect the samples and perform several tests on this evidence.
For example, If you are a forensic serologist and you are being called to a crime scene where there is blood. Your first business will be to identify whether it is blood or a vine Juice? Once it is detected, the next step will be to determine whether this blood belongs to a human or an animal. Using these steps, useful information from the crime scene can be extracted, which will be used for resolving the crime.
The bodily fluids that have been collected from the crime scene are then brought to the laboratory where they undergo some tests. Through these tests, several characteristics of the blood are identified.
These characteristics are used to determine the person it belongs to.
What Are The Jobs Of Forensic Serologist
Serologists are often called Science Technicians. Most forensic serologists are employed by the federal, state, and local level law enforcement agencies to work in laboratories and assist them in solving the crime.
Apart from these, the following are the jobs of a forensic serologist:
· Employment with Psychiatry: Psychiatry is a mental disorder that disturbs your mood, emotions, and feelings. The serologists are employed to collect the blood samples and analyze the root cause of the problem.
· Hospitals: Hospitals employ forensic serologists to work in their laborites for performing the tests related to bodily fluids.
· Private laboratories: Private laboratories are also providing services in the field of health care. A forensic serologist has to collect samples of bodily fluids required to perform specific tests. Once these fluids are received, the serologists perform the tests to draw the necessary results.
Training For The Job Of A Forensic Serologists:
The training of forensic serologists is to be done in the laboratories. Certain set standards for those laboratories have to be maintained so that the trainees get the best training and bring out the best during their career. During the training process the trainees are taught about the basic procedures that are followed in the forensic laboratories moreover they are also given the knowledge of fundamental serological methods.
In the beginning the trainees are exposed to the basic practices that are being followed in the laboratories. This includes the safety protocols of the individuals and the evidence. They are also being taught about the impact of forensic testing on the evidence.
By understanding the effects of the testing on the evidence, the serologists are able to draw certain conclusion that will help them in gathering the valuable information that will later be used for the resolution of cases. The trainees are also being taught about the handling of evidence during their training. The evidence they have can easily be destroyed if a wrong test is being made upon it so the prime focus of the training is about the handling of the evidence.
Secondly the emphasis of the training is also about judicial norms. The serologists need to know about the preservation of evidence in such a way that it can be used as against the suspects in the court. The integrity of the evidence is most important for the court, therefore the trainees are taught about the handling of evidence, packing of evidence in certain prescribe ways and the chain of custody of the evidence.
After learning about the practices and the handling of samples the trainees needs to pass a test that is being conducted by the technical leader in the laboratory. The trainee is being tested theoretically about his knowledge of safety protocols to be followed in the laboratory.
The second test that the trainee has to pass is a practical laboratory based test in which he is being testing about the handling of sample and maintaining the integrity of it. The leader has to test whether a trainee has attained that level where he can be authorized to handle evidences.
The final test for a trainee is to give a mock-trial. The trainee is being tested about his ability to explain the serological methods and the results. The test is done to check the ability of the trainee to justify the procedures in simple yet scientific ways.
The Salary of A Forensic Serologist:
There are different scales in forensic serology. The experience and reputation in the field matters a lot. The people who have higher experience and have better understanding of dealing with the evidence get reasonable salaries. On the other hand the people who are at entry level into the job have comparatively less salaries.
At the entry level the Salary for a forensic serologist is $37,000.
At the entry level where one has no experience and expertise the mentioned salary is much. If you continue to strive in the field there are chances that you will gradually reach to the level where salaries are higher.
An experienced forensic serologist can expect up to $60,000 salary.
As evident from the above mentioned statistics, the experienced serologists get higher salaries then the person at the entry level. It is due to the fact that they have recognition in the field and are reliable for evidence handling.
If you are planning to join the field, you must pay attention to your work and take care of your repute. If both these things are handled carefully you will eventually end up being a recognized practitioner in the field of forensic serology.
The salaries may vary depending upon the state in which you are getting the job. For example the average salary of a serologist in San Francisco is highest with an average salary of $104,354 whereas the average salary in Dallas TX is $78,000. Both these states have increase salary for the forensic serologist. There are other states like Phoenix, AZ which have lesser salaries.The average salary of the state is $67,220.
Job availability as Forensic Serologist:
The forensic serologists have career opportunity in different departments. The most prominent ofthese departments are law enforcement agencies and military services. The law enforcement agencies need the help of forensic serologists in order to verify the collected evidences from thecrime scene.
The job in the law enforcement agencies have been a day dream for many of the individuals. Therefore the most number of forensic serologists are found working with law enforcement agencies. If you are planning to become a serologist, you will first have to start you career from the laboratory where the samples are being tested. Working there will make you get knowledge about collecting the evidence, preserving of the evidence and the tests that have to be made.
Once you are experienced from the laboratory you have a huge plus. This experience in the laboratory will act as a ladder to take you to the job of crime scene investigator.
When a crime is being reported at the police department they take the help of forensic serologist to collect the evidence from the crime scene so that it can be later used to generate valuable information for the identification of the culprit.
|Quick Facts: Forensic Serologist|
|2018 Median Pay||$58,230 per year|
$27.99 per hour
|Typical Entry-Level Education||Bachelor’s degree|
|Work Experience in a Related Occupation||None|
|On-the-job Training||Moderate-term on-the-job training|
|Number of Jobs, 2018||16,700|
|Job Outlook, 2018-28||14% (Much faster than average)|
|Employment Change, 2018-28||2,400|
Beside the salary package, the most important cause due to which the people prefer to become a forensic serologist is due to the reason that they get the opportunity to serve the country. Another important area of job for the forensic serologist is research on various diseases. Serologists have the opportunity of finding the actual cause behind the diseases and the effect they have made on the human body. Moreover the research as being serologist is also focused on the use of drugs. The patterns behind the consumption of drugs and their effect on the fluids that are present in human body are being studied. After the research is made, it can be published for the public awareness.
Why pursue a career as forensic Serologist?
The reason why you must choose this career is that it growth of this field, vast area of scope and the salary that you get paid is higher than an average workers’ pay. The employment for this career has a vast scope and it continue to grow. The rapid emergence of technology has increase the demand of forensic serologist. With each passing day there are emerging new theories and phenomena in the field serology and forensics. Whereas the people who are pursuing this career are less in number. To fill this gap, it is the need of time that people must choose this as a career so that the emerging phenomena’s can be addressed.
The emerging new phenomena’s require that people continue to pursue the education in this career by doing so they will be eligible to understand the emerging theories in the field of forensics and DNA.
The modern education and the understanding of new phenomena would help you out in your career as the serologists with higher education are preferred and they get highly paid for their jobs. So if you are planning to pursue this field as a career here are some important points that will help you out in your career. There are two major arenas in this career, the first one is linked with research and the second one is crime scene investigator.
The researches have to keep themselves aware of the emerging theories and patterns needs to focus on addressing them. Whereas the crime scene investigators need to understand how to collect the evidence, deal with the evidence and maintain the integrity of the evidence.
The second aspect is that they need to be careful how their reputation on the market and get themselves experienced so that they can rank themselves higher with time and experience.