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General Overview Of Forensic Toxicologist's Job

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Introduction

Toxicology is a field of science that helps people to understand the harmful effects of hazardous chemicals, substances, or other materials, can have on people, animals, and the environment. Toxicology is referred to as, “Science of Safety” because as a field it has evolved from a science focused on studying poisons and adverse effects of chemical exposures, to a science devoted to studying safety.

A number of crimes involve toxins entering the body, such as poisoning, driving under the influence, and using illegal drugs. Detectives and criminal investigators seek help from forensic toxicologists to get the answers they need when they suspect a chemical substance is related to a crime.

Toxicologists study the presence and effects of toxins on living creatures, unusually humans. They may work for environmental organizations, as well as government and law enforcement agencies.

The term forensics means ‘of or having to do with a question of law.’ Forensic toxicologists are simply toxicologists who utilize their knowledge within legal matters.

The ancient Greeks were perhaps the first society to advance what we now recognize as when they studied toxins. The Greeks developed an extensive knowledge of poisons, as well as their effects, their signs, and their symptoms. This new knowledge base led ancient investigators to recognize previously undetectable murders due to poisoning.

Great advances have been made in all scientific disciplines since ancient times, and the ability to detect toxins has evolved significantly. Today, forensic toxicologists play a crucial role in solving crimes and helping to determine the causes of death.

Job Description

Forensic toxicologists are responsible for investigating various substances to help solve crimes or detect unlawful contamination of the environment, food, or water supply. This includes:

Analyzing samples from bodily fluids and tissues to determine the presence or absence of harmful or hazardous chemicals

Gathering and examination specimens for dangerous or unhealthy contaminants in food or the environment

Providing expert testimony in the court of law

Working with medical examiners and coroners to help establish the role of substances related to the cause of death

In the law enforcement sphere, forensic toxicologists might work for criminal justice agencies, police departments, or government labs. They might look for poisons and toxins such as alcohol or drugs. Sometimes, the toxicologist’s conclusions are the primary determinant in deciding whether a crime was committed.

What They Do

Forensic toxicologists typically perform scientific tests on bodily fluids and tissue samples to identify any drugs or chemicals present in the body. Working in a lab, a forensic toxicologist performs tests on samples collected by forensic pathologists or by crime scene investigators during an examination.

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Educational Requirements

Forensic toxicologists must complete, at the bare minimum, a bachelor’s degree in forensic science, toxicology, chemistry, clinical chemistry, or a related field. Although many forensic toxicologists seek graduate degrees in the field.

Experience Required

In addition to earning an academic degree, you usually need to complete additional training for certain forensic science careers that require specialized skills. For example, police officers undergo physical conditioning and learn about professional conduct and ethical standards at state-sanctioned academies. Federal law enforcement officers complete rigorous training through the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center or a military station.

Regardless of your career goals, you should incorporate apprenticeships and internships into your academic preparation. These hands-on experiences allow students to build skills and cultivate professional relationships. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, over 91% of employers prefer applicants with industry-specific work experience.

Licensure and Certification

Expert licensure and certification are general requirements for any forensic science careers, especially for advanced positions demanding a more technical skillset. Professionals usually pursue a master of forensic science programs to improve their career progression possibilities.

Required Skills

Patience, efficiency, and focus to gather results under pressure. Ability to follow procedures to achieve accurate, and reliable results. Superior written and verbal communication skills, as they may be called upon to provide courtroom testimony.

If you enjoy laboratory work and find analysis appealing, you might enjoy working as a forensic toxicologist. Although the work can be repetitive and redundant at times, it’s also interesting and extremely important.

Salary

The average salary for a forensic toxicologist is about $75,000 annually. But, that could vary depending on location, type of industry, the difficulty level of work projects, and experience in the field.

Salaries for forensic toxicologists can vary widely and depend on one’s work location and employer:

Median Annual Salary: $59,000 ($28.37/hour)

Top 10% Annual Salary: $94,000 ($45.19/hour)

Bottom 10% Annual Salary: $34,000 ($16.35/hour)

Job Duties & Type of Work

Toxicologists work in laboratories to perform tests on samples collected by crime scene investigators. Their jobs involve testing for the presence of illegal drugs, prescription drugs, poisons, alcohol, and other poisons when poisoning or drug overdoses are suspected.

Job Benefits & Job Drawbacks

Although a career in toxicology can be rewarding and pays reasonably well, there are some disadvantages to the job as well. Extended education, twenty-first-century toxicologists need one or more graduate degrees. Risks, working as a toxicologist entails some risk, long hours in a Lab and limited Possibilities for Advancement.

In addition, working out in the field visiting crime scenes may also require extended or unusual hours. Expect to work 40 to 60 hours a week, as you manage a heavy workload under harsh deadlines. Hours need to be flexible, as forensic toxicologists are expected to be on call to collect and analyze evidence.

References

  1. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2020, from https://www.niehs.nih.gov/
  2. Work. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2020, from https://work.chron.com/
  3. AGCAS & Graduate Prospects Ltd, Agcas, & AGCAS & Graduate Prospects Ltd. (n.d.). Toxicologist. Retrieved January 20, 2020, from https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/toxicologist
  4. Salary Comparison, Salary Survey, Search Wages. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2020, from https://www.payscale.com/Salary Comparison, Salary Survey, Search Wages. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2020, from https://www.payscale.com/
  5. Wood, C. S., Weis, C. P., Caro, C. M., & Roe, A. (2016, September 16). A practice analysis of toxicology. Retrieved January 20, 2020, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273230016302653#fig1
  6. Writers, S. (2019, August 8). Find the Best Online College or University for You!: BestColleges. Retrieved January 20, 2020, from https://www.bestcolleges.com/
  7. Writers, S. (2018, October 18). 2018-2019 Bachelors in Forensic Science Programs Guide. Retrieved January 20, 2020, from https://www.bestcolleges.com/features/forensic-science-degree-programs/
  8. Hexavalent Chromium Factsheet – National Institute of … (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2020, from https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/materials/hexavalent_chromium_508.pdf
  9. Roufa, T. (2019, May 14). What Kind of Jobs Can You Get in Criminal Justice and Criminology? Retrieved January 20, 2020, from https://www.thebalancecareers.com/criminal-justice-and-criminology-careers-974797
  10. Career Readiness Resources. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2020, from https://www.naceweb.org/
  11. Writers, S. (2019, April 23). The Best Online Masters in Forensic Science Programs of 2019. Retrieved January 20, 2020, from https://www.bestcolleges.com/features/top-online-masters-in-forensic-science-programs/
  12. Career Readiness Resources. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2020, from https://www.naceweb.org/

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General Overview Of Forensic Toxicologist’s Job. (2022, March 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 2, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/general-overview-of-forensic-toxicologists-job/
“General Overview Of Forensic Toxicologist’s Job.” Edubirdie, 17 Mar. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/general-overview-of-forensic-toxicologists-job/
General Overview Of Forensic Toxicologist’s Job. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/general-overview-of-forensic-toxicologists-job/> [Accessed 2 Dec. 2022].
General Overview Of Forensic Toxicologist’s Job [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Mar 17 [cited 2022 Dec 2]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/general-overview-of-forensic-toxicologists-job/
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