Ballistic Expert Career Requirements
What Skills Does a Ballistic Expert Need?
Forensic science technicians, who investigate crimes by examining evidence, typically specialize in one area such as ballistics (firearms). As a ballistic expert, you might fire test shots from a weapon, compare bullet fragments or shell casings, present ballistic evidence at a trial as an expert witness, or use an etching process to restore eradicated serial numbers. You may even determine the angle and distance from which a shot was fired based on ballistics theory.
What Education Does a Ballistic Expert Require?
Many have a bachelor's degree in either forensic science or criminology, but some train in mechanical engineering or metallurgy. Undertaking an internship while earning your degree can also help you obtain the necessary practical experience.
Police officers and others with experience in firearms can transition into a ballistic expert career by undergoing some training courses, without necessarily earning a degree. Useful courses typically include chemistry, math, and physics.
While most ballistic experts work for state and local governments, others choose to work for independent organizations as expert consultants. They get called in to verify or rebut police findings, usually by either the prosecution or defense attorney.
Training to become a ballistic expert can include:
- Crime scene search
- Evidence handling
- Expert witness testimony training
- Fields of law
- Firearms assembly/disassembly
- Firearms identification
- Gunpowder and primer residue
- Wound ballistics
The following colleges offer programs that can help you become qualified for a Ballistic Expert career: