Forensic Serologist Careers, Salary and Training – Serology Career

In the scientific community, serology is the study of blood serum. In practice, the forensic serologist is charged with diagnostic procedures and identification of antibodies in the blood serum and in other bodily fluids.

The job of a forensic serologist is to analyze blood found at a crime scene and answer questions about it. This may involve testing to ascertain whether the substance is blood and to determine whether it is human blood.

Further tests determine blood type, Rh factor and identify the antigens and antibodies present in the sample. New techniques involving DNA can be used to link blood and other bodily fluids to a particular individual or suspect.

As a forensic serologist you may also become an expert in interpreting blood patterns at a crime scene. Experts in the field can answer questions about directions of assault, angle of the weapon and distance between the victim and suspect by analyzing the blood splatter at a crime scene. Did you know that a serologist can help determine how long a person has been deceased based on the blood present in the crime scene?

Forensic Serologist Requirements, Education, and Training

The majority of forensic serologists have a Bachelor of Science degree. However, there are a a number of practicing serologists who do not have a degree, but rather entered the field with a significant amount of experience in an area of evidentiary investigation such as analysis of blood spatter. A Bachelor of Arts degree is also acceptable at the more general levels or when followed by a graduate degree.

Unlike some other forensic specialties, obtaining a graduate or post-graduate degree is not a requirement for pursuing a career in crime scene investigation as a serologist. The testing for blood and body serums are often basic laboratory techniques that can be mastered through practice while focusing on DNA related serology requires more advanced education.

For the aspiring serologist, degree programs are available in forensic serology which include academic instruction and laboratory testing in areas of serology, forensic immunology, and forensic medicine. Also evident will be studies in forensic genetics, which include courses in DNA analysis and statistics. It’s a given that you’ll also see a number of chemistry and biology classes. Many universities nationwide offer metabolic biochemistry and molecular biology coursework for aspiring forensic technicians, pathologists, serologists, medical examiners, and other crime scene investigation career paths.

Forensic Serologist Salary

Forensic serologist salary can vary widely based on your experience, reputation, and the difficulty of the specialized serology requirements. As an entry level forensic serologist you may be labeled as a forensic serology technician with a salary of about $37,000. Recognized practitioners in the field can expect to earn $50,000 to $60,000.

Forensic Serologist Career Opportunities

Forensic serology careers are available with law enforcement, crime labs, and the military services. The focus may be on rare diseases and research of drugs and their affect on autoimmune disease.

By far, the most visible and popular choice for a forensic serologist is crime scene investigation which offers the opportunity of providing valuable information for time sensitive investigations.

There is a wide range of opportunity that may begin with a position as a forensic serologist technician who analyzes collected samples in a laboratory setting. You can gain experience and additional training and move into the area of crime scene investigation.

Take a look at other great Criminal Justice Careers.

Article written by Radek Gadek

Radek holds a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University. He is currently doing consulting work and runs this blog to provide relevant information on criminal justice degrees, colleges and related careers.

19 comments… add one
  • Zoraida

    I’m a student majoring in biochemistry for my bachelors program , but I was wondering if the income for a DNA and Serologist having a masters program would be . Thank you.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      A masters level grad will certainly command better salaries (on average) than a person with a 4-year degree. Salaries vary a lot depending on the state and whether the employer is a government entity or a private entity. I wouldn’t know where to begin with the salaries, but what I do know is that you can access salary information by going to the government / private company site and looking at their job postings. Very often they list salaries for DNA Analysts and Serologists.

  • Kammie

    Hey i am a student in the 11th grade and i am wondering which colleges actually do forensic serology? and how much would it cost?

    • Meredith

      Look into schools that have a certified forensics sciences program. I am currently a sophomore in college at a school with this type of program, and I am convinced it is a good idea for anybody who wants to have a career in any branch of forensics.

      The most important thing to remember is that the real thing is not like what is seen on television, and if that makes you want to possibly reconsider, see about speaking to someone who actually works in the field you are interested in to that you will have an accurate idea as for what to expect.
      Hope you find what you are looking for. :)

  • Lizzie

    hey im with kammie on this one do you have any idea?

  • Sarah

    Hi, I’m a student in the 11th grade and am looking into a career in forensic serology. If I decided to be forensic serologist, would I have to stay in a lab all the time? Would it be possible to be out in the field as well? Thank You!

    • hh

      Depends on where you work.. You will be mainly in the lab.
      We get called out to do bloodstain pattern analysis for major scenes though.

  • graham

    What degree program would you need first to get started to be a forensic serologist. Do you need to take criminal justice or what would be the recommended course to start at.

    • D. Gilmore

      In order to be a forensic serologist, it is not necessary to have a degree in a forensic field. A bachelors degree in a hard science (biochemistry, chemistry, molecular biology) are required. Most agencies that hire for DNA/serology are looking for someone with at least 30 units (semester hours) in some kind of chemistry. This will allow the agency to cross train you in other areas of the lab. Chemistry is the main background necessary for all forensic careers. Some agencies do recommend training in forensics or criminal justice areas but it would depend on the department you are looking to work for. Start with the bachelors in science and as you are doing that, research the agencies that you would like to work for and talk to someone that works there. That is the best way to see if you are interested in really working there. Good luck!

  • Kennya

    I was wondering I want to be a forensic scientist so I chose a forensic serologist. Is that a job that I would be working in a lab trying to solve crimes and see evidence and stuff like that?

    • Lauren

      Dear Kennya,
      It is in a way. It is not what you see on CSI or on NCIS. You process information on blood and other bodily fluids. You can help solve crimes by finding DNA and comparing it to people and stuff. According to “What is a Forensic Specialist?” a Forensic Serologist is “A person who works in the serology unit usually deals with blood and other bodily fluids in a crime case. The serologist often handles blood typing, paternity testing and DNA profiling.” Hope I was a help.

  • Jessica

    If I majored in Biology with a specialization in forensic biology, do you think that it would get me on the right foot?

    • hh

      Yes. But look at the job descriptions (city websites) and make sure you meet all the education requirements. There are certain courses you must take, even if you have a degree.

  • jadin

    hey there i m doing my bachelors of sciences in forensic science from India, i did biology 36 credit points and chemistry too can i do this as my masters ?

  • Tori

    Hi, I’m also a junior in high school and I’m an aspiring forensic serologist. I have questions about what classes I would have to take as an undergraduate, AND as a graduate, and what would I major in? Also, what colleges in Michigan would better suit me in going for “Forensic Serology”?

  • juhi

    Hi! I pursued my bachelors in microbiology (Hons) and now I’m doing my masters in forensic science with specialization in forensic serology. I would like to know its scope and the job opportunities

  • Gabriel

    What is the difference between a Forensic Serologist and a Blood Splatter Analysts?

  • Shyam

    I am currently doing my bachelors in pharmacy! Can i do MS in forensic DNA and serology after that?

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