What is a Forensic Investigation in 2023? Courses, Certifications

Forensics is the scientific method that is employed in solving a crime. Do you want to know what forensic investigation is all about? If yes, then you have nothing to worry about.

In this article, we will provide you with explicatory information about the forensic investigation. We will provide you with guidelines for becoming a forensic investigator.

Let’s begin.

What is a forensic investigation?

The forensic investigation involves gathering and examining all crime-related physical evidence to identify a culprit. Investigators will examine blood, bodily fluids, fingerprints, residue, hard drives, computers, or other technologies to determine how a crime occurred.

A forensic investigation may be conducted as part of a civil litigation case and is considered a necessary step in the courtroom procedure. This is because conducting an investigation is frequently important when gathering the proof needed to make a strong legal argument. An investigation that uses a scientific approach or another skill, such as accounting or valuation knowledge, and looks backward to decide on something that happened in the past is referred to as a forensic investigation.

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Types of a Forensic Investigation

The following are types of forensic investigation: 

#1. Forensic Accounting / Auditing

A forensic accounting investigation benefits the victims of fraud or financial crimes. This kind of investigation, also known as a financial investigation, employs intelligence-gathering methods as well as business, accounting, and communication abilities to present evidence to lawyers conducting criminal and civil investigations. In order to conduct their investigation, they pore over a huge volume of pertinent data, looking for anomalies or questionable financial practices. Tax evasion and asset theft from businesses are two examples of crimes. They investigate insurance claims and significant payouts as well.

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A few examples of forensic accounting services are:

  • Looking for hidden assets
  • Estimating lost wages
  • Tracking down stolen funds
  • Conducted fraud investigations

#2. Forensic Computer or Cyber Forensics

Computer investigation is analogous to electronic discovery (or e-discovery). These forensic investigations retrieve information from computers and hard drives in order to identify proof of misconduct or solve crimes. Computer investigators can find evidence of sex trafficking, fraud, and selling illegal items. Divorce, unfair dismissal, online abuse by employees, unlawful exposure of corporate secrets, and other illicit internet behavior are some situations that often involve computer investigations. Investigations using forensic computers can uncover data from hard drives and mobile devices, such as emails, browser history, downloaded files, and even deleted data. The exchange of communications in an internet chat room was one of the first cases in which computer forensics resulted in a conviction.

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#3. Crime Scene Forensics

Crime scene investigations gather and record any tangible evidence discovered at a crime scene in order to solve the case or establish whether a crime has occurred. This type of inquiry also includes analyzing the information gathered by the investigators to ensure the evidence is reliable and pertinent. There are various kinds of crime scene investigators, including odontologists who specialize in teeth and bite marks to identify missing people or victims of mass disasters and ballistics experts who analyze the trajectory of ammunition and match bullets to potential firearms.

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#4. Forensic Archaeology

The focus of forensic archaeology is on extremely decomposed human remains. They mainly concentrate on the information they can deduce from the bones, such as their age through carbon dating. They can occasionally determine the cause of death using these hints. Forensic archaeologists can use facial reconstruction software to identify the victims of a mass grave is discovered or if there are several casualties.

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#5. Forensic Dentistry

Forensic dentists are essential when a victim cannot be identified using any other method or when a perpetrator bites a victim. The traces left behind by teeth, which have distinctive patterns, can identify a suspect or victim. Along with age and gender, DNA can be inferred from teeth, much like it can from bone marrow and hair, based on the structure of the jaw. Physical evidence discovered at a crime scene may still be helpful to forensic dentists, even if the victim wasn’t bitten. For instance, a pencil with bite marks or an apple that hasn’t been fully consumed may leave behind deep enough impressions to identify the person.

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#6. Forensic Entomology

Any insects discovered at a crime scene are the focus of forensic entomology. Whether alive or dead, these bugs can provide information about the crime scene, if medications were administered to the victim and the time of death. Finding some insects on a body can indicate whether a body was relocated because they are only found in certain places. The length of time a victim has been deceased can also be inferred from the presence of larvae in a body. Insects will still occupy untreated wounds in abuse or locate the country of origin of illegally imported items like cannabis, even if the crime is not a homicide.

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#7. Forensic Graphology

Forensic graphologists examine the handwriting on ransom notes, poison pen letters, suicide notes, and extortion demands. Handwriting alone cannot tell you your age or gender, but it can tell you how you felt when you wrote the note. 

Handwriting reveals information about:

  • Mood
  • Motivation
  • Integrity
  • Intelligence
  • Emotional stability

Slant, font size, and hand weight indicate the writer’s identity. The writer’s words and slang can reveal much about the writer’s location and intention. Moreover, forensic graphologists are employed to confirm the legitimacy of documents like insurance claims and police statements.

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#8. Forensic Pathology

Finding the cause of death is ultimately the responsibility of the forensic pathologist, particularly when it is thought that natural causes did not bring on the death. They conduct an autopsy, which entails looking at the victim’s interior and outside. External evidence of strikes, bruising, bullet entry marks or hypoxia may exist. The pathologist will examine internal components, including the organs and stomach contents. A pathologist can assess if a death was caused by suicide, murder, or natural causes by examining these things.

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#9. Forensic Psychology

In forensic psychology, the reasons for an attacker’s actions are investigated. Forensic psychologists consider the motive behind the act before focusing on the best way to apprehend a suspect. They examine the perpetrator’s life for acute stress causes that could trigger violent behavior. They also examine the crime scene, which can reveal if the act was preplanned or carried out in a fit of emotion. A forensic psychologist can assess a suspect’s mental state after they have been apprehended. Investigators can assess the victim’s life, even in a suspected suicide, to determine whether the act was intentional or accidental.

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#10. Forensic Science

Forensic science refers to all of the scientific procedures utilized to solve crimes. The following are some examples of forensic science:

  • DNA coding
  • Toxicology (drugs and the effects)
  • Serology (bodily fluids)
  • Ballistics (everything related to firearms)

Gathering, preserving, and analyzing fibers, DNA, bodily fluids, and other physical evidence are important parts of forensic science. Due to the validity and accuracy of the evidence they produce, forensic scientists’ contributions to sentencing have become crucial. Also, as technology develops, this area of forensics is continually expanding and changing.

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#11. Forensic Toxicology

The study of poison, environmental chemicals, and hazardous substances is known as forensic toxicology. One simple forensic toxicology use is the drug testing required for some job applications. A forensic toxicologist’s work today significantly examines illegal and legal drugs. They examine how the body absorbs, transports, and removes these compounds using urine, blood, or hair. They will also examine their effects. The brain, liver, and spleen are the primary organs where drug usage is visible in a murder.

How to become a forensic investigator

Below are the step-by-step guides to becoming a forensic investigator: 

#1. Earn A Bachelor’s Degree

Consider earning your bachelor’s in criminology or forensic science from a recognized institution. A prerequisite for entry-level positions is frequently an undergraduate degree. A forensic science degree can deepen your understanding of DNA analysis, forensic evidence, biological science, and chemistry. During your bachelor’s degree program, you can perform crime scene investigations and gain foundational skills to help you in your future job. A senior secondary certificate of education and completing prerequisite courses in English, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and biology are typically required for admission to bachelor’s degree programs.

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#2. Decide On A Specialization

You can select a forensic field of specialization while still a student at a university. Young forensic investigators interested in latent prints or ballistics frequently choose optional courses addressing this study area. The courses you select now can determine what pathway to take for your graduate studies.

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#3. Search for internship opportunities

Professional training with a government organization may be essential for an aspiring forensic investigator. An excellent way to learn what crime scene investigators do and the equipment they employ is through internships and placements. You might work with a senior forensic investigator who can instruct you on gathering and recording evidence. After a while, you might cooperate to solve enigmatic crimes. Depending on the specialty, training might last anywhere from six months to less than a year.

#4. Get the required certificates

A good time to consider specialty certifications might be after your internship. In some jurisdictions, conducting an investigation may be subject to regulatory, legal, or certification restrictions. You can obtain certifications in various fields, including molecular biology, paint and polymers, hair and fiber analysis, drug analysis, and fingerprinting. Professional certification may pave the way for future education and greater employment opportunities. Verifying the requirements with the state regulatory organization may be a good idea.

#5. Apply for a forensic investigator job

You can search for entry-level forensic investigation positions on reliable job boards and recruitment websites like Indeed Jobs. Numerous opportunities are available, including forensic technician, forensic investigator, and crime scene investigator. You can choose the positions that most closely match your skill set by carefully reading the job descriptions. Then, you can create a cover letter and send it with your CV to elaborate on your talents and what you can offer the organization.

Skills Required To Become A Forensic Investigator

Becoming a forensic investigator requires the following skills: 

#1. Communication Skills

In forensic investigations, both written and verbal communication can be essential. With the help of these skills, forensic investigators can gather witness statements, examine the evidence with law enforcement, and create formal case reports for prosecutors.

#2. Collaboration Skills

Forensic investigators frequently lead a team of lab technicians and other law enforcement personnel. Working as a team can help forensic investigators solve crimes and assemble the necessary evidence for prosecution.

#3. Forensic Analysis

Examining crime scenes and analyzing evidence, including fingerprints and hair follicles, can frequently be a crucial part of a forensic investigator’s job. The evidence they gather can assist law enforcement in solving crimes and provide prosecutors with evidence to use in any ensuing legal actions.

#4. Resilience

In order to handle delicate materials like chemical dangers, guns, and biohazards while searching for evidence at a crime scene, a forensic investigator needs resilience.

#5. Flexibility 

Criminal cases and legal proceedings frequently require forensic investigators’ attention. The forensic investigator can carry out tasks even at unusual hours by being flexible.

#6. Critical Thinking

Forensic investigators use their best judgment when investigating crime scenes or assembling evidence. The investigator can use critical thinking to match physical evidence, DNA, and the suspect’s fingerprints.

#7. Detail-Oriented

Forensic investigators must be meticulous in their job in order to detect even the smallest alterations in commonplace objects. An investigator can gather evidence better if they have a keen eye.

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#8. Math And Science Skills

When private investigators gather evidence, they frequently submit it for scientific evaluation. For instance, they might employ mathematical and scientific principles to help them pinpoint facts like the victim’s location and the kind of weapon.

#9. Problem-solving skills 

Forensic investigators are typically skilled problem solvers who combine their intelligence, analytical abilities, and critical thinking to unravel mysterious crimes.

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The Environment and work conditions for forensic investigators

Forensic investigators frequently divide their time between crime scenes, labs, and offices. They often use computers and specialized tools, including microscopes, UV lights, fingerprinting kits, and kits for detecting drugs. Also, they typically have access to various lab supplies, including pipettes, test tubes, and portable meters. Depending on the materials they are handling, forensic investigators typically wear gloves, masks, or goggles in laboratories because their work can occasionally expose them to risks. Forensic investigators frequently operate outside and may collaborate with specialists and the police. Some would gather evidence for criminal prosecution throughout different regions, towns, and states.

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Is forensic investigation a promising career?

A forensic investigator’s job can be lucrative and demanding at the same time. Working with law enforcement teams to solve crimes and gather the information that aids in prosecuting criminal suspects may be an opportunity for you. A career in forensic investigations may be the best fit for you if you have an eye for detail and a love of learning and solving mysteries.

What are the standards for forensic investigators?

Any aspiring forensic investigator can benefit from having a bachelor’s degree in forensic science or criminology, a solid scientific foundation, and prior forensic laboratory experience. Companies frequently favor individuals that exhibit a meticulous attitude to work and good observational and detail-oriented skills.

What is the average salary of a forensic investigator?

A forensic investigator makes an annual salary of $110,000 on average. Their final wage may depend on their employer, work experience, and place of employment. 

What is forensic evidence?

Forensic evidence includes Genetic information (blood, hair, skin), trace substances, dental background, fingerprints, witness accounts, Blasting or other weapons of potential (ballistics), tire and shoe prints, contraband substances, records, files, and documentation (hospital records, tax forms, job history, etc.), phones and computers, Pictures or videos.


Do you want to become a forensic investigator in 2023? If yes, then you have made the right choice. 

In this article, we have provided detailed information about forensic investigation. We have helped with the guidelines and requirements to become a forensic investigator. Also, we have provided you with the average salary a forensic investigator earns per year. 

Hence, we implore you to carefully read this article as it provides everything you need to know about the forensic investigation.

We wish you the best of luck.



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