I have previously written about getting a career in forensic science (How to get a job in forensic science) because I am always being asked this very question. I gave a lecture only last Thursday about forensic science in the UK and what a great place it is to get work experience, which is very true. It’s hard not to be negative about a career in forensic science because there have been so many redundancies (800 in England & Wales) and Police budgets are being cut in both NZ and the UK. Once again I say that this is setting someone (or more) up for a miscarriage of justice.
Now I see an article that demonstrates my worst fears: The grisly truth about CSI degrees. The article shows that the UK Forensic Science Service currently has 1,300 scientists (but it doesn’t say whether this includes the 800 to be made redundant). It goes on to say that the UK’s largest private provider, LGC Forensics, employs 500 people. In 2008 alone, 1,667 students embarked on the 285 forensic science degree courses (compared with just 2 courses in 1990). This massive increase in numbers is, as I have commented previously, as a result of the CSI Effect. I like the final sentence in the article: “in order to ensure there are enough jobs to go round, more than half of them will have to retrain as serial killers.” And what better people to know how to cover their tracks than forensic scientists?!