Forensic science is a fascinating and rewarding career where the love of investigative science can be applied to the good of society, public health and safety. It is an excellent choice for anyone with an enquiring mind, a logical and analytical approach, highly developed observational skills, objectivity and personal integrity, and the confidence to justify their findings when challenged.
In Australia and New Zealand, almost all forensic science is involved with criminal or coronial proceedings in the government sector. Although there are federal crime laws, administered by the Australian Federal Police, the laws governing crime generally are the responsibility of the States and Territories. They conduct the administration of forensic science in their jurisdictions. This results in variation of structure and management between the jurisdictions.
Because of this, the majority of forensic scientists in Australia and New Zealand are employed by government laboratories and police services. However forensic or investigative scientists are also used by private laboratories, insurance companies, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Human Services, State Chemistry Laboratories, Department of Immigration and Border Protection and WorkCover. Many big companies also use investigative scientists for determining sources of contamination in products or product failures.
The best advice for the secondary student is to select and study science subjects in which they are interested and then to try to get the best possible University entrance score.
Following selection of an appropriate course, the next target is to complete the qualification with a view to undertaking postgraduate study where appropriate (Honours at a minimum) preferably in conjunction with a forensic service provider.