Becoming a forensic scientist in South Africa
Do you want to become a forensic scientist? A career in forensic science allows you to play a role in solving crimes. If you’re good at solving problems and interested in science, this may be the right career for you. You can browse through a variety of forensic science jobs on Job Mail.
What is a forensic scientist?
Forensic science involves applying science to criminal investigations. A forensic scientist is responsible for collecting and analysing evidence during investigations. They may be required to gather evidence at the scene of the crime or to work in laboratories. These professionals testify as expert witnesses in court cases. A forensic scientist is a trustworthy professional who has outstanding problem-solving skills. They need to pay attention to detail in order to succeed in this role and an interest in science and chemistry is also required.
Employment opportunities for forensic scientists
Forensic science careers form part of a range of disciplines and in South Africa, the police service is the main employer of forensic scientists. Understanding the different options are out there makes it easier to plan your career. The career you want to pursue will guide your choice of courses at university. If you’re interested in forensic science, you could also consider becoming a crime scene investigator. The duties of these professionals include finding evidence, compiling documents, and carrying out investigations. They work together with police officers, pathologists, and legal representatives to solve crimes.
Forensic science jobs also include criminalist positions. Criminalists are required to assess evidence to draw conclusions that can be helpful to police investigation. They are responsible for obtaining evidence with the aim of analysing it. Correct procedures need to be followed to avoid contamination. If you decide to pursue a career as a forensic scientist you will be responsible for using your skills to solve crimes. You’ll be required to collect and analyse evidence as well as to record your findings.
Educational requirements to become a forensic scientist
While there are no undergraduate qualifications in forensic science in South Africa, there are postgraduate degrees that can help you to advance your career. If you want to work in the police services’ forensic laboratories, you’ll need to complete a BSc in chemistry or biochemistry. With this degree, you can apply for forensic science jobs where you’ll receive specialised training.
You can advance your career as a forensic scientist by studying a Bachelor of Health Science with Honours in the field of Forensic Sciences. This one-year qualification is offered by Wits University. Another option is to study Forensic Investigation through Unisa. During this training, you’ll learn more about forensic methods and techniques. Other modules include Investigation of Selected Crimes and Transgressions as well as Advanced Forensic Crime Intelligence. You can also expect to study Forensic Interviewing and Information Gathering. Another option is to complete a postgraduate qualification in forensic anthropology at UCT. You can complete a Masters in Biomedical Forensic Science through UCT if you have an undergraduate degree in science. Relevant experience, which demonstrates your forensic capabilities, will increase your chance of being hired.
Now that you know more about the employment opportunities that are available to become a forensic scientist, you can decide if this is the right career path for you or not. Forensic science plays an important role in the criminal justice system. If you are already qualified, visit Job Mail to look for a job right now.