Forensic scientists use a range of methods to study potential evidence that may assist in legal investigations.

They may specialise in chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, botany, pharmacology, toxicology, crime scene examination, firearms examination, fingerprint or document examination.

Where forensic scientists are employed

The main employers of forensic scientists are state and federal government health departments and state, territory and federal police forces.

The Australian Federal Police through its Forensic and Data Centres Division in Canberra employs forensic scientists in the disciplines of crime scene examination, fingerprint identification, firearms and ammunition identification, document examination, forensic biology and forensic chemistry.


Full-time forensic scientists in South Australia generally earn between $1,000 and $1,249 per week.

Graph of pay scale for Forensic scientist

Job prospects

There is a growing interest in working in forensic science but limited job opportunities. 

In 2011 there were 43 people employed full-time as forensic scientists in South Australia compared with 25 in 2006.

How to become one

You need a degree in science or forensic and analytical science. You may consider degrees in other relevant areas such as biology, botany, chemistry, physics, dentistry or medicine. At school consider doing biology, chemistry and physics.

For information on course admission requirements and how to apply to the universities and TAFE in South Australia visit the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC).

Check South Australian universities at The University of Adelaide, Flinders University and University of South Australia.

For information about Australian universities visit Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT)

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Career information has been sourced from government publications, see data sources for more information.

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