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What classes should I take to become a forensic scientist and what can I do to jumpstart my education in high school?

I know I want to be a forensic scientist but I don't know what the best way to become one is.

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Melody’s Answer

Greetings Keilana,

As Jennifer indicated forensic science is broad. Forensic science is a broad field including a multitude of practices like DNA analysis, fingerprint analysis, bloodstain pattern analysis, firearms examination and ballistics, tool mark analysis, serology, toxicology, hair and fiber analysis, entomology, questioned documents, anthropology, odontology, pathology, epidemiology, footwear and tire tread analysis, drug chemistry, paint, and glass analysis, digital audio video and photo analysis.

Science procedures are applied to many different fields of study. So taking science and STEM courses are a great start. More than focusing on a specific topic, learn the method of conducting scientific inquiry. Read through this listing from a university to give you some idea of what you may need to build in your skill or personality to have a great start to a forensic career.

https://forensic.unl.edu/qualifications-career-forensic-science

Best wishes in your search for a future in forensics.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, this was really helpful. Keilana
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Jennifer’s Answer

Hi Keilana

This all depends on what kind of forensic scientist you'd like to become. On high school, I would highly recommend sticking to the stem courses; chemistry, biological sciences (especially A+P), and statistics for math.

There's many different sectors for forensic science: forensic pathology requires you to obtain an MD degree, unless you become an autopsy technician (Masters in Pathology Assistant degree.)

Good undergrad courses would include: general biology, anatomy and physiology 1 + 2, gross anatomy, statistics, chemistry, biochemistry, and organic chemistry, criminology

Forensic anthropology is the study of only bones, and generally also requires a Masters.

I would focus undergrad on your physical sciences, osteology, and biological anthropology, and criminology.

Toxicology is the forensic study of chemicals: you'd be doing laboratory testing on blood & bodily fluids to determine chemical content. Looking for drugs, alcohol toxicity, poisoning, and even natural causes of death like high troponins, etc.

All of the Chemistrys, calculus/stats, biology, and physics are valuable here.

There are also careers in forensic accounting, and forensic computer science where these mathematicians & computer scientists can trace fraud, and digital criminal behaviors.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Keilana
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