Forensic Toxicologist

Analyze substances and chemicals related to crime scenes.

Quick Stats


Outlook
Good

Salary Range
$33,000 – $83,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Forensic Toxicologists do?

Though crime shows like CSI aren’t completely accurate when it comes to teaching viewers about the way crimes are solved, they do get some things right. One of these things is the role of Forensic Toxicologists. Just as in the show, real-life Forensic Toxicologists perform scientific tests to determine if there are certain chemicals in the body.

As a Forensic Toxicologist, you’re the go-to person when a body is found and the cause of death isn’t immediately obvious. Police Officers turn to you for some help figuring out if they’re dealing with a murder, suicide, or accident. You test specimens like tissues, blood, or hair found at the scene as well as on and from the victim.

More specifically, you look for evidence of different chemicals. This can be alcohol or drugs, or something more obscure, like a metal that indicates a poison. While you work, you keep close records of everything you collect, test, and find. The work you do helps Criminal Investigators and Police Detectives answer questions and put away criminals.

One of the other things CSI gets right is the constant wearing of lab coats. You can expect to spend most of your days in a lab, looking through microscopes, staining samples, and performing tests. If you’re not in the lab, you might be in court, as Forensic Toxicologists are often called upon as expert witnesses to let juries and Judges know what they found at the crime scene.


Should I be a Forensic Toxicologist?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Forensic Specialist, Wildlife Forensic Geneticist

    How to become a Forensic Toxicologist

    Most Forensic Toxicologists have a Master's degree or a Bachelor's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:fzp9na&chl=no+college+%284%25%29|certificate+%2817%25%29|associate%27s+%2828%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2842%25%29|master%27s+%289%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,4,42
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