William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Thursday, 29, May, 2008

Forensic Entomology

Filed under: Forensics — williamthecoroner @ 13:13

I was asked, recently, by someone who watches too many crime shows on T.V., how one would go about being a forensic entomologist.  I’ve also gotten requests from my students, though usually those folks want to forensic odontology. The ones that are applying or into dental school have the edge, of course.  For the forensic entomologists, my response would be “Think again.”  There are fifteen forensic entomologists in the United States, and 15:300,000,000 is one heck of a ratio.  Most forensic entomologists did the entomology first, and are in academia somewhere.  They start consulting, and go from there.  I think only the guy at the F.B.I. does it full time for a living.

The same thing with forensic dentistry, dentists with a strong stomach get involved with their local ME’s or coroner’s office, in addition to their practice.  Forensic anthropologists as well, they’re working day jobs at a university or museum, and doing forensic work as it happens.  Thankfully, except for forensic pathologists, toxicologists, and trace evidence people, there is not enough demand for full time positions, except in very rare instances.  I’m glad there aren’t maggot cases every day of the week.  Eeew.

Be that as it may, if you’re interested in being a forensic scientist, get a good science education, in either biology or chemistry.  Biology for DNA work, chemistry for other criminalistics, but that’s not a hard and fast rule.  The DNA lab at the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Office has two folks with PhDs in genetics.    Medical Technologist certification wouldn’t go amiss, either.  Then you’d have a wide variety of forensic and non-forensic jobs to pick from.

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6 Comments »

  1. Holy crap. I had no idea that forensic entomologists were so low in demand. Crazy, I would have thought there would have been somewhat more work than that out there.

    Comment by Steph — Thursday, 29, May, 2008 @ 21:40 | Reply

  2. William, MSNBC has that as one of the 10 worst jobs in the world… Personally, I think the worst job would be trying to be a science reporter for MSNBC…

    Comment by Old NFO — Friday, 30, May, 2008 @ 19:21 | Reply

  3. Jim-

    The folks who do that sort of job are the sick fuds who like that sort of job. All I can say is never, but never serve rice after the maggot lecture. They look too much alike.

    Comment by william the coroner — Friday, 30, May, 2008 @ 20:10 | Reply

  4. The original owner of my first house was an entymologist, specializing in midges…The printing plates from some of his research publications were mounted on the back of the front door — a giant flying grasshopper and a walking stick.

    But in addition to his work at the Academy of Natural Sciences, he did occassionally consult on forensic cases. His daughter was less than thrilled with some of the work that would come home with him. One time she complained about the bugs, and her mom recalled scolding: “Bugs paid for your clothes! Bugs put a roof over your head! I don’t ever want to hear you saying bad things about bugs!”

    Comment by rethoryke — Friday, 30, May, 2008 @ 22:03 | Reply

  5. I know 🙂 I have the utmost respect for y’all. I’d have trouble eating certain foods, because I would ‘know’ there was something moving in there…
    I worked a civil aircraft crash a number of years ago and got to spend some time with the Pathologist as I’d been heavily involved in recovering the bodies. I got one hell of an education that couple of days.

    Comment by Old NFO — Saturday, 31, May, 2008 @ 17:08 | Reply

  6. hi,, great topic here,, I’m also doing project about forensic entomology and writing facts of blowflies and their properties in forensic entomology in my blog,, please have a visit.. thank you..

    Comment by paibiopai — Wednesday, 9, December, 2009 @ 01:44 | Reply


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