How can I become a forensic firearms examiner?

on Dec 27, 2008 @ 01:53 am

Very interested in becoming a forensic firearms examiner but can't seem to find much info on the subject, can anyone help me? I live in chicago il thanks

2 Replies

hhmm on Dec 30, 2008 @ 08:07 pm

If you haven't already got the education in your background you will have to get a 4 year or even master's degree in forensic science/studies, or some kind of degree in physics, chemistry or mechanical technology. There isn't necessarily one degree that wraps it all up, so if you are interested in firearms physics would be a good idea, and maybe some forensic science courses.

I did a search online briefly, and if you try typing in forensic firearms analyst your search results are better. I find looking at jobs posted is a good way to get to know what employers are looking for and what sort of skill sets/experiences to get under your belt. They usually include a detailed job description as well as salary expectations etc.

There is a useful place online called career cruising - not sure if it is a paid site, but our library here has a direct link from the catalogue so library users have free access, check your local library. Anyway, it's a cool site because not only does it give job descriptions, but it also outlines what education is needed, salary expectations, working conditions etc. Even better, it has people who are in those jobs give a few pros and cons about the job, and they explain how they got into the job. it's a great tool! Here is a bit of what it had to say:

While some
forensic scientists are generalists, many specialize in particular
areas. For instance, those who work in the area of controlled
substances and toxicology examine blood and body fluids to see if there
is any evidence of alcohol, drugs, or poison. Forensic scientists who
specialize in biology can help to identify victims and suspects by
comparing DNA found at the scene of a crime, for example, with DNA
found on a suspect.

Other forensic scientists work in document analysis, looking for
signs of forged documents, while those who work in firearms analyze
guns, bullets, and cartridges. Some use their expertise in chemistry to
identify things like accelerants found at an arson scene.

The second role of the forensic scientist is to provide expert
opinions to judges, juries, and prosecution and defence attorneys.
These opinions are based on findings made after examining the evidence.
The opinions may be presented in the form of written reports. Or,
forensic scientists may be required to give oral testimony in court, if
a case gets to trial.

website... on Dec 31, 2008 @ 01:19 pm is a paid website for the most part. The library would have access to this as well as some career counsellors.

It is best to go to a counsellor at your school or potential university and discuss the appropriate courses etc you need to take as requirements differ from University to University etc.

Here is some more information from the careercruising website:


If you are thinking of a career in any of the sciences, you should take advanced level science and math courses in high school.

The minimum educational requirement for forensic scientists is a 4-year Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree. However, employers often prefer applicants who have a master’s degree.

Bachelor’s degrees in forensic science are offered by a few universities across the country. However, degrees in biology, chemistry, and related areas are offered at all universities across the country. Many of these programs include courses in forensic science.

Similarly, though currently there are no forensic science graduate degrees offered in Canada, many science departments offer graduate programs in some aspect of forensic science. You could, for instance, earn a master’s degree or PhD in general biology or chemistry, or in a more specialized area, such as toxicology or entomology (the study of insects).

Once hired, forensic scientists usually receive additional on-the-job training.

Related College & University Programs

Forensic Science
Biology, General

Other Suggested Qualifications

Forensic scientists must have the ability to concentrate on details and to work independently. Because they prepare reports and may be called upon to give oral testimony in court, they must have excellent written and oral communication skills.

Labs often contain sophisticated computerized equipment. Therefore, it’s important to be comfortable working with computers.


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