Imagine working side by side with a pathologist and helping to determine the cause of a person’s death. An assistant to a pathologist or medical examiner will have a number of different duties and provide many services to a pathologist. Those who want to become an assistant to a pathologist need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in a science field. Even though certification is not mandatory and is not a requirement from all employers, some will like to see it.
This guide examines the bright career outlook in forensic science and related occupations, as well as accredited educational programs, professional certification, and top employers across four high-growth forensic science subfields: trace evidence, ballistics, toxicology, and DNA. While many assume that a degree in criminal justice leads to a career in law enforcement, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Forensic toxicologists work in laboratories, often those operated by government agencies or law enforcement, to identify chemicals and compounds that could have contributed to crimes or have other administrative or legal consequences. Becoming a forensic toxicologist requires a strong background in science and scientific method, in particular chemistry and biology. While a specific personality is not required to become a forensic toxicologist, there are certain traits that can make the job more tolerable. At minimum, forensic toxicologists should expect to earn a bachelor’s degree in a hard science, such as chemistry, biology, or biochemistry. Entry level positions in forensic toxicology labs do not necessarily require further education, although many toxicologists do earn master’s or even doctorate degrees at some point in their careers. The American Board of Forensic Toxicology (ABFT) offers four different certification options for those in the career. It should be noted that there is no federal or state requirement for forensic toxicology certification. Each of these specializations will require different career paths but overall the pursuit of any of these involves similar steps.
Some forensic toxicologists, particularly those with advanced degrees, may choose to pursue another specialty before entering the forensic toxicology profession.
According to the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, hands-on experience is the most important way to further one’s career as a forensic toxicologist. Although largely lab-based, there is still some variety to the setting where a forensic toxicologist might work. Indeed, as with many advanced professions, forensic toxicologists may also choose to go on and pursue experience in academia, either concurrent with their laboratory work or as a second career. Crime scene investigators and forensic scientists are both concerned with deriving information from evidence in order to discover the truth and determine the appropriate course of action.
I really want to focus on the forensic science technician – what he does, how much money he makes, colleges, and so on. This also depends on the level – typically, he hiring salary is 60% of the average salary in the state, and with 2 years of experience, you go to about 90% of the average salary, and once you hit senior level, with over 10 years of experience, you generally start going way above the average.
When calculating the salary, you should keep in mind that all the extra hours that you will do are paid – in most cases at least. If you want to become a forensic science technician, the salary is definitely not your top reason – the money is OK, you have the possibility to build a fine carreer, but the are simply better rewards out there in this line of work.
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Copyright © 2015 Caroldoey, All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners. Working as a pathologists’ assistant can provide people with a career that is at once interesting and that can be quite lucrative as well.
Some of these include preparing and assisting with postmortem exams, dissecting human tissue surgical specimens, and even helping with some of the administrative duties in a pathologist’s office, such as overseeing budgets or other employees. From there, they can go on to seek a master’s degree in pathology assisting at a medical school and will need to do clinical rounds as part of their training. As well, this certification needs to be obtained within five years of completing a program so it may be something that new graduates want to start working on. Barry was previously VP for a financial software company, and currently sits on the board of a K-8 school and lives with his wife and daughters in the San Francisco Bay Area.
This can include identifying illicit substances in bodies that may have been the victims of foul play, performing administrative drug testing, or even identifying hazardous chemicals in the environment.
There are a few paths which interested students can follow in order to learn forensic toxicology and be hired to a toxicology lab position. Not only is it important that a prospective toxicologist be familiar with the inner workings of a lab, they must also be able to work efficiently while still maintaining the level of precision necessary to obtain reliable information upon which criminal cases can be based. Although much of their work is performed in a laboratory, those toxicologists that work within the law enforcement paradigm may be called upon frequently to testify in court as to their findings. Patience is certainly important, both in terms of awaiting results and in dealing with outside personnel who may frequently be pressuring toxicologists to work faster, even when that simply is not possible. These advanced degrees may be specifically focused on forensic toxicology or may have a broader scope, such as chemistry or biology.
These certifications require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and at least three years of full-time professional experience in a forensic toxicology lab, including at least one year immediately prior to applying for certification. Rather, earning one of these certifications can help open up new career opportunities and may help toxicologists demand higher salaries. Most common is to seek a bachelor’s degree in a natural science or forensic science specialty, and then obtain entry-level employment at a toxicology lab.
These toxicologists may begin their careers in other chemistry or biological laboratories, including medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, or clinical chemistry. Classroom training provides a foundation for the career, but there are many intricacies of this challenging profession that can only truly be learned in a working laboratory. Law enforcement or government laboratories are quite common, but toxicologists may also be employed in the private sector in settings such as industrial labs, hospitals, or universities. Forensic toxicologist professors can teach at many levels throughout higher education and are also encouraged to pursue their own research and publication, which can be a great way to advance the forensic toxicologist career beyond the test tube. I wrote a general post about this job here, but to sum it up here: forensic science technicians help solve crimes by collecting and interpreting evidence from crime scenes.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), forensic science technicians earned a median salary of $51,480 in 2009. While this is not the type of career that is right for everyone, the job is one that has quite a bit of potential in terms of pay and career opportunity.
Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies pathologists’ assistants within the physicians assistants category, and, as such, projects job growth for the entire field to be 30 percent from 2010 to 2020. Those who fell into the lower 10 percent earned as little as $62,430 a year, while those in the top 10 percent earned as much as $124,770 a year.

The education is often rigorous, and often necessitates students being able to maintain at least a B-average GPA.
It is even possible to join as a student, as long as one is a student of an accredited program. This certification is good for three years, at which point a pathologists’ assistant can renew.
Toxicologists who primarily conduct drug tests will have different contacts and little to no contact with the legal system. This requires not only the ability to explain their actions and findings, but to do so in a way that is clear and convincing to a jury.
Forensic toxicologists will usually work in a lab alongside other scientists, but overall it is a job that requires a good deal of self-discipline and organization. These experiences can be valuable in learning the importance of correct methodology and proper lab procedures. They can do everything from gathering evidence from the crime scene to computer forensics to DNA analysis, and many many others. That number is increasing slowly, but the thing is, the sum varies greatly from one area to another.
I could only find reliable data from UK, but if you have any other sources, I would definitely publish them.
It does typically require advanced training, high skill, and academic achievement, but training can result in new skills in both surgical and autopsy pathology. Different factors can go into pay including actual work experience, degree obtained, and cost of living in the area. Relatively few schools are accredited to offer pathologists’ assistants programs, but those that are accredited through the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences include such notable schools as Duke University Medical Center and West Virginia University.
Those who join as an affiliate need to have a bachelor’s degree as well as three years of experience. Most often, this is done by completing 45 continuing education credits over the course of those three years. The CSI technician does a lot of work, works flexible hours, has to know a lot of stuff from several fields… what does he make (aside for the reward of cathing the bad guys?). The American Association of Pathologists’ Assistants hosts a website that features various types of information about the field, including certification, conferences and membership resources. The AAPA has a very specific framework for where these credits need to fall, and more information can be found on the website. Some schools even keep track of information about their success rates in the certification field.
For example, the University of Maryland University College points out that its students have a 100 percent first-time candidate pass rate on the ASCP certification exam. Hard to say; the average salary depends on the state finances, supply and demand, number of positions, etc.

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