Career As A Forensic Serologist
Forensic serology is a science that deals with the identification and characterization of biological evidence. These biological shreds of evidence help the detectives identify the culprits in any crime. The biological pieces of evidence 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 this biological evidence for the identification of the criminal. Basically, a forensic serologist collects this evidence from the crime scene and uses them in such a way that the information extracted can be used by detectives to identify the actual culprit.
Forensic serology has been so effective that it is often quoted as the best friend of a 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 for forensic serologist will continue to remain. There are various career opportunities as a forensic serologist.
- Forensic Serologist Education Requirements
- Training Requirements
- Job Growth
- Job Availability for the field of Forensic Serologist
- Why pursue a career as a forensic Serologist?
Forensic Serologist Education Requirements:
40% of the people working in the serology department did not have a bachelor’s degree before, but it has become a norm over the past few years. Serology does not hire serologist scientists only, but it needs people like a forensic technician, a biochemist, or a forensic biologist.
Therefore, there is no strict compulsion to have a major in biology. It would be a plus 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 a job in serology; it is the experience which speaks volume here.
There are various educational requirements which if fulfilled, will lead your career as a forensic serologist. These different types of degrees include bachelor’s or master’s degrees and a graduate certificate.
We shall discuss them one by one in detail.
Forensic Serologist Education Requirements
The community colleges offer an associate degree. It is a two-year program that requires 60- 65 credits. It would be best if you had 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 an advanced 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 ACT scores. Students who want to transfer should provide their transcripts. The bachelor’s in biology usually has courses such as Anatomy and Physiology, Pathology, and Organic Chemistry, which helps you develop knowledge about fluids in the 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 help you with that. You will learn how to work in a laboratory as well as infield. Along with these courses, bachelor of science in investigative forensics, bachelor of science in criminology, and bachelor of science in forensic psychology are also offered by universities.
The essential educational requirement for the job of serologist is a bachelor’s degree. As the field deals with the human body’s fluids, you should have a degree related to human biology. The degree of human biology has broader interdisciplinary courses, making the degree suitable for becoming a serologist.
However, it is not a compulsion to have a human biology degree to be held by the 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 studied one of the courses knows bodily fluids in the human being, so knowledge helps him during his job tenure.
For example, a bachelor’s degree holder in chemistry would know about dealing with increments within the laboratory or the various testing techniques used during the identification process.
Having a master’s degree is not a compulsion, but it helps you have a better and deeper understanding of the subject. A master’s 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 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 an excellent option for you.
The various universities offer various masters’ programs; however, forensic DNA and serology are the most prominent. The university’s college pharmacy is offering the program, and you can complete 32 credit hours online or on campus.
The degree provides strong molecular biology foundations. Blood spatter interpretation, genetic and the theory of DNA analysis. All of these subjects are of profound importance when it comes to an 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.
Various graduate certificates are 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 at the University of Florida. The university specially designs this program to make the students well equipped to help them in their professional careers. These graduate certificates are essential for people seeking their careers in law enforcement agencies, military services, and medical personnel.
What Are The Main Jobs Of A Forensic Serologist
Forensic serologists primarily 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 to collect the evidence. The serologists who work in the field might have to face environmental conditions and other hazards. 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 in the next movement? If you are among the 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, there is blood. Your first business will be to identify whether it is blood or 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, helpful information from the crime scene can be extracted, which will resolve 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.
Job Opportunities Of Forensic Serologist
Serologists are often called Science Technicians. Most forensic serologists are employed by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to work in laboratories and help them solve 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. Specific 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 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 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 can draw specific conclusions that will help them gather valuable information that will later be used to resolve 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 training’s prime focus is on handling the evidence.
Secondly, the emphasis of the training is also on judicial norms. The serologists need to know about the preservation of evidence to be used against the suspects in 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 specific prescribed ways, and custody chain.
After learning about the practices and the handling of samples, the trainees need to pass a test 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 tested about handling samples and maintaining their integrity. The leader has to test whether a trainee has attained that level to be authorized to handle pieces of evidence.
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 trainee’s ability to justify the procedures in scientific yet straightforward ways.
The Salary of A Forensic Serologist:
There are different scales in forensic serology. The experience and reputation in the field matter a lot. The people who have higher experience and have a better understanding of dealing with the evidence get reasonable salaries. On the other hand, the people at entry-level into the job have comparatively lower 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 the level where salaries are higher.
An experienced forensic serologist can expect up to a $60,000 salary.
As evident from the statistics mentioned earlier, experienced serologists get higher salaries than those 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 to increase the 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:
Forensic serologists have a career opportunity in different departments. The most prominent of these departments are law enforcement agencies and military services. Law enforcement agencies need forensic serologists to verify the collected pieces of evidence from the crime scene.
The job in the law enforcement agencies has been a daydream for many individuals. Therefore the most number of forensic serologists are found working with law enforcement agencies. If you plan to become a serologist, you will first have to start your career in the laboratory where the samples are being tested. Working there will make you know about collecting the evidence, preserving the evidence, and the tests that have to be made.
Once you are experienced in the laboratory, you have a huge plus. This laboratory experience will act as a ladder to take you to the crime scene investigator’s job.
When a crime is being reported at the police department, they take the help of a forensic serologist to collect the evidence from the crime scene to 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|
Besides the salary package, the most fundamental cause due to which the people prefer to become a forensic serologist is that they can serve the country. Another vital area of the 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 a serologist is also focused on the use of drugs. The patterns behind the consumption of drugs and their effect on the fluids present in the human body are being studied. After the research is done, it can be published for public awareness.
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics
Why pursue a career as a Forensic Serologist?
You must choose this career because of its growth in this field, the vast area of scope, and the salary you get paid higher than average workers’ pay. The employment for this career has a vast scope, and it continues to grow. The rapid emergence of technology has increased the demand for forensic serologist. With each passing day, there are emerging new theories and phenomena in serology and forensics. At the same time, 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 education in this career. By doing so, they will be eligible to understand the emerging theories in forensics and DNA.
Modern education and understanding new phenomena would help you out in your career as serologists with higher education are preferred and get highly paid for their jobs. So if you are planning to pursue this field as a career, here are some essential points that will help you out in your career. There are two significant areas in this career, the first one is linked with research and the second one is crime scene investigator.
The researchers have to keep themselves aware of the emerging theories and patterns 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 evidence’s integrity.
The second aspect is that they need to be careful how their reputation on the market and get themselves experienced to rank themselves higher with time and experience.