Before you enroll for that online forensics science degree, there are some few things that you should know first, that will clarify if you still really want to make your dream of becoming a “trendy forensic expert” a reality.
We are going to talk about the “CSI Effect” and separate Hollywood television myths from reality. We will also discuss what forensic science is all about and the controversies surrounding it.
And lastly we will look at possible career paths you can pursue with an online forensics science degree and what type of salary you can expect after completing a forensics online course.
The “CSI Effect” – Hollywood Myth vs Forensic Science Reality
The Hollywood industry has been lying to you all your life. They changed the way you perceive love and money, they also taught you to stereotype and discriminate against certain minorities in society.
Now they warped and distorted the true nature of forensic science. Popular television shows like CSI and NCIS have glamorized the boring, dreary, tiresome and often very nauseating work forensic scientists do and made the general public have an unrealistic view of what forensic science is all about – this has been dubbed the “CSI Effect.”
CSI has over-exaggerated the speed and ease at which forensic work is carried out. In reality, it’s far from efficient – collection and analysis of evidence can take weeks, months and sometimes years – not a few minutes or hours as depicted on TV!
Results of tests conducted in forensics labs don’t come through within minutes, it usually takes a couple of weeks or months in real-life, not a few hours as portrayed by Hollywood.
TV shows depict their forensic experts as trendy individuals that drive flashy cars, wear designer clothes and carry guns – THIS IS A MYTH! In reality, forensic scientists don’t carry guns nor do they do any dangerous field work.
All the forensic team does…is to collect evidence at a crime scene, analyze that evidence in their high-tech labs, and present the results in court during a criminal investigation.
They also don’t drive expensive cars nor do they wear any Gucci, though most can afford to, because of their high-paying jobs. In real-life, they’re just your average Joe. They’re usually geeky, anti-social and most of them drive cheap fuel-efficient hybrid cars, that even high school kids can afford.
What You Learn While Doing A Forensics Online Course
Getting an online forensics science degree is perfect for anyone that has a passion for solving crimes and making sure justice is served.
Obtaining a forensics science degree is very beneficial for those that want a better understanding of how to conduct criminal investigations and court cases.
Forensic science is a rich and complex field with a variety of career paths.
Essentially, forensic science involves scientifically analyzing objective evidence from diverse fields, such as chemistry and accounting, using the latest high-tech equipment, then presenting the results of these tests in court during the course of a criminal investigation.
There are various tests and methods that you’ll learn while doing a forensics online course.
You’ll be taught in the areas of toxicology and ballistics.
Toxicology involves detecting poisons or chemicals within the human body.
Ballistics training involves using bullet fragments to trace them back to the gun they were fired from, as well as determining from what angle the victim was shot from and if it was a long-range or close-range shot.
A forensics online course will also teach you forensic document examination, as well as the use of a dynamometer which determines the force used in breaking and entering crimes.
You’ll also be taught how to analyze fingerprints and DNA samples.
A forensics online course from accredited online universities will also teach you how to preserve footprints, hand-prints and ballistics by using galvanoplastic compounds.
You’ll also learn how to distinguish human blood from animal blood, using the uhlenhuth test.
Forensic Science Controversies
This is what they’ll never tell you during the course of your studies…
One of the biggest controversies surrounding forensic science is the analysis of fingerprints and the assumption that no two people on earth have the same fingerprints; that every individual’s fingerprint is unique.
But some top notch publications in the scientific community and even the New York Post have stated that no one has ever proved the basic assumption that everyone’s fingerprints are unique. And they question if we really all have unique fingerprints, as there’s really no scientific evidence to back this up.
The Supreme Court in America issued a 5 to 4 decision that states, unless the forensic scientist who analyzed the evidence and created the lab reports, subjects themselves to cross-examination and gives testimony, the crime laboratory results will not be used against the defendant on trial.
Justice Antonin Scalia writing for the majority of the Supreme Court, cited the National Research Council report that states, “Forensic evidence is not uniquely immune from the risk of manipulation.”
In America, many people from the law fraternity have questioned the lack of laws requiring forensic labs to be accredited. While some American states require their forensic labs to be accredited, other states do not have accreditation laws at all.
This has resulted in many false convictions and acquittals, because of forensic labs that have performed very poor quality work.
In 2009, forensic scientists have established that it’s possible to falsely acquit or accuse a defendant using forged lab results, by fabricating DNA evidence.
Pay-Scales of Popular Career Paths You Can Follow After Completing Your Forensics Online Course
Whatever career path you decide to follow after completion of your online forensics science degree, there’s no doubt you’ll be very well-paid.
But don’t enroll for a forensics course just because of the money you’ll earn…have passion for it and make sure if you really want to build a career in the forensic science field.
The pay-scale for forensic science technicians range from US$36,400 for entry level positions to US$87,600 for graduates with experience and higher qualifications. Forensic science technicians usually collect evidence from crime scenes, conduct lab analysis and assist forensic scientists in the laboratory.
Forensic ballistics analysts earn anywhere between US$34,000 AND US$84,000. They analyze bullet fragments to identify what type of ammunition and gun was used in a crime.
Forensic accountants receive an annual salary of more than US$120,000. To become a forensic accountant, you should’ve completed a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance, in addition to completing a forensics course. They analyze financial paperwork and account documents to find paper trials in investigations concerning financial crimes in cases of money laundering, tax avoidance and terrorism funding.
Other popular career paths you can follow after completing your forensics online course and obtaining your online forensics science degree, include bloodstain pattern analysts, forensic DNA analysts, forensic toxicologists, forensic anthropologists, forensic odontologists, digital forensics experts and forensic document examiners.
If you were to choose any of the career paths listed above, you can expect to earn annual salaries ranging from US$58,000 to US$160,000.
As a last note, don’t let your addiction to CSI and NCIS be your reason to enroll for a forensics online course. If you can’t handle analyzing blood, semen and stool samples, as well as being around dead bodies and you get easily nauseated by the strong stench of death – then a career in forensic science is not meant for you.
Forensics Online Course – What You Need To Know Before Enrollment!