How to become a forensic ballistics expert

Written by virginia vickery
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How to become a forensic ballistics expert
(Photo by Kristian Risager Larsen)

If you are interested in a career in forensics and have great observation and reasoning skills, then becoming a forensic ballistics expert may be a real possibility. Forensic ballistics experts spend their time analysing firearms found at crime scenes. They compare bullets and bullet fragments to weapons and study bullet trajectory. Their findings help solve cases that might not otherwise have been solved. They often have to present their findings in court testimonies. Ballistics experts need to be confident in their abilities and always willing to go the extra mile if needed.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Earn a high school diploma. Study physics, chemistry and math.

  2. 2

    Pursue a bachelor degree from a regionally accredited college or university. A degree in criminal justice, forensic science or criminology will be most helpful.

  3. 3

    Complete an internship in ballistics during college. Check with the local police or a private forensic ballistics expert agency for internship opportunities.

  4. 4

    Apply to work with local forensics agencies and police forces.

  5. 5

    Consider earning a graduate degree to further your education. Advancement opportunities will be greater for those with advanced degrees.

Tips and warnings

  • Becoming a forensic ballistics expert may be easier if you become a police officer first. Most police departments will provide additional training to those who already have firearms experience and knowledge.
  • Become a regular at a local shooting range. Ballistics often requires shooting of weapons for bullet comparison.
  • The job market is not promising for forensic ballistics at this time. Keep your options open.

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