Did You Know?
Contrary to the popular belief, bloodstain pattern analysis is not a new discipline. In fact, it has been studied since the late 1890s.
Bloodstain pattern analysis is a specialty in the field of forensic science. A blood spatter analyst basically helps the law enforcement agencies, such as the police and the forensic department, in solving crimes, like assaults and homicide. He studies the bloodstains left behind at the crime scene to find out important details, such as the height of the criminal, position, and movement of the victim and assailants, and the type of weapon used in the crime. All these details can prove immensely helpful in nabbing the culprit.
Anyone willing to become a blood spatter analyst should have a strong background in mathematics, chemistry, biology, and physics. But, before going into the details of how to become a blood spatter analyst, let's have a brief look at the duties and responsibilities associated with this profession, in this CareerStint article.
The main job of a blood spatter analyst is to examine the blood left behind at the crime scenes. Sometimes, there can be a large amount of blood at the crime scenes, while at other times, just a small trace of blood can be present. Different techniques and methods, such as ultraviolet light, photographs, and swabs are used to collect evidence, which are then investigated in the laboratory. Finally, detailed reports about the crime are created using computer simulations and analysis, on the basis of which the statements made by the witnesses and suspects are evaluated.
Qualifications and Expertise
• If you are willing to pursue a career as a blood spatter analyst, it is better to follow a career path that can lead you to forensic science. To become an expert blood spatter analyst, one should have precise and thorough understanding about human anatomy, blood cells, chemistry, mathematics, and computer science. Therefore, an aspiring blood spatter analyst should take these subjects seriously in high school.
• Soon after the completion of high school or GED work, consider enrolling yourself in an undergraduate course. Take majors in forensic science if possible, though it is not necessary to specialize in forensic science at the undergraduate level to become a blood spatter analyst. If the institution where you have enrolled yourself does not have a forensic science program, you can opt for a major in biology. Many people also choose to complete a double major in biology and forensic science.
• After completing your Bachelor's degree, you can enroll yourself in a graduate program in forensic study, specific to bloodstain pattern analysis. A Master's degree in this field can enhance your expertise and give a better prospective. However, there are several law enforcement agencies that require only a Bachelor's degree for an entry-level position in bloodstain pattern analysis.
• Along with a Bachelor's degree, many law enforcement agencies prefer applicants who have experience in analyzing bloodstain pattern. So, you can opt for assisting an experienced blood spatter analyst, who is also a registered member of the International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts (IABPA). You can also do an internship while pursuing your undergraduate degree. The Ames Laboratory, a research facility owned by the United States Department of Energy and operated by the Iowa State University, provides undergraduate internship programs in this field.
• To get better opportunities, it is important to supplement your college education with advanced training in blood spatter analysis. The IABPA is an organization that offers training and certification programs in bloodstain pattern analysis throughout the world. Such certification programs can help improve your employment and earning potential.
• To further enhance your employment prospects, you can become a member of the IABPA. The organization basically offers four levels of membership - associated, provisional, full, and distinguished membership. You can opt for the provisional membership, as associated membership is for those who have a general interest in this field. After completing one year as a provisional member, you can get full membership and ultimately become a distinguished member with significant contributions to the field of bloodstain pattern analysis.
• Once you get certified as a blood spatter analyst, apply for jobs through the law enforcement agencies. Many crime laboratories also hire blood spatter analysts. After acquiring the required experience and expertise, you can also work independently for various agencies and organizations.
Salary and Remuneration
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary or compensation for forensic science technicians, including blood spatter analysts was $55,040 in 2009. According to the Bureau, the annual salary of forensic science technicians in the lowest 10th percentile was $32,900, while the salary of those in the 90th percentile was $82,990. On an average, the salary for an entry-level position in bloodstain pattern analysis can be somewhere around $42,000 per annum.
To become a blood spatter analyst, one should have a keen eye for detail, great observational and analytical skills, and a high degree of curiosity. Bloodstain pattern analysis is a highly specialized field and is expected to grow immensely over the years. This field offers good earning potential. Apart from this, the field holds a special attraction for people, who are interested in criminal law enforcement, wherein it helps in investigation and gathering evidence from the scene of crime. For such people, it can be a rewarding career, where they can help the government authorities nab and punish the criminals and perpetrators.