What can you do with a Criminal Justice Degree: The Career of the Toxicologist

What can you do with a Criminal Justice Degree: The Career of the Toxicologist

If you're interested in finding out the answer to "what can you do with a criminal justice degree?" You should know there are a number of career paths to choose from, based on your level of education. Some criminal justice careers will only require a person to have a high school diploma or an associate's degree, while others will require applicants to have a bachelor's or master's degree in criminal justice or criminology.

What is a Forensic Toxicologist?

The position of the forensic toxicologist will involve using clinical chemistry, pharmacology and analytical skills in order to investigate the medical and legal aspects in a death investigation. In a death resulting from drug use or poisoning, a toxicologist will focus on the techniques and technology that's used to interpret and obtain scientific results.

The toxicologist will record any known physical symptoms and any evidence such as pill bottles collected at the scene of the crime, trace residue and evidence of powders found. This criminal justice professional will work to determine whether there are toxic substances present in the body of the deceased and what effects they had on the individual.

Toxicologists can also work by testing the remains of animals for wildlife organizations, or testing for performance enhancing drugs in sports.

This field is constantly changing with the new developments and methods that are used for testing. This can mean those interested in working as a toxicologist will be required to continue to learn throughout the duration of their career, in order to stay up to date with new procedures and testing methods.

Education Requirements for the Toxicologist

To qualify for this career you will need a bachelor's degree in clinical chemistry, pharmacology or a related field, from an accredited college. Currently, there are only a small number of employers that require a toxicologist to have obtained a master's degree. Individuals that have more than four years of experience in this field will qualify for certification through the ABFT.

Forensic toxicologists will use their knowledge of math, physics, biology and chemistry for this position. A large portion of on the job training will involve learning how to work in a prioritized and controlled way.

The average salary for a toxicologist will range from $68,000 to $74,000 and will vary, depending on the difficulty level of a project, field experience, geographic location and place of employment. Seasoned professionals that work as lab directors can make an impressive annual salary that ranges from $94,000 to $98,000.

Many people immediately think of crime scene investigation when they think of this position. While these criminal justice jobs do differ, the toxicologist will also have the responsibility of obtaining evidence that can help law enforcement officers solve a case.

Now that we've answered the question "what can I do with a degree in criminal justice?" you can begin on your way to a career in this field by researching local schools that offer certificate or degree programs in your area of interest.