Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Elaine MacDonald from St. Michael's House to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Elaine MacDonald

Psychologist - Clinical

St. Michael's House

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  Elaine MacDonald

Make sure you are willing to go the full distance in terms of the time needed to train as a Clinical Psychologist – it’s typically at least six years academic study, and invariably this period is interspersed with work in a relevant field.

Do be as confident as you can that you’re happy being a “listener” and “observer”, as you will spend significant amounts of time in your work life as a Clinical Psychologist being in this role, as well as being in the “do-er” role and being in the limelight.

To have a good ‘fit’ with this career you’ll need to be happy working with people – as individuals on a one to one basis, with groups (e.g. families), and as part of a team in the workplace.

You need to have a good attention to detail as the job needs good observation skills, record keeping, and organisation skills.

Be prepared for learning and self-development to be on-going for the whole of your career because, as a Clinical Psychologist, you’ll be learning and using techniques and intervention approaches that are being constantly developed, and be working in accordance with policies and laws that are also constantly evolving.

The last piece of advice I’d give to someone considering this job is to be as sure as you can that you feel comfortable and even excited at the prospect of your career revolving around people and groups with all the varied, diverse, and unpredictable rewards and challenges that this brings!

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Investigative?
Investigative 
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
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Occupation Details

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Forensic Scientist

Job Zone

Education
Most of these occupations require qualifications at NFQ Levels 7 or 8 (Ordinary / Honours Degrees) but some do not.

Related Experience
A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an engineer must complete four years of college and work for several years in engineering to be considered qualified.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Job Zone Examples
Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, computer programmers, teachers, chemists, environmental engineers, criminal investigators, and financial analysts.

€80k > 103 
Forensic Scientist
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€80 - 103 
Related Information:
Data Source(s):
PublicJobs.ie

Last Updated: March, 2011

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

Examines material taken by police from a crime scene using scientific techniques.


The Work header image

The Laboratory is divided into three sections:  
 
Biology:  
This section deals largely with crimes against the person, examining hairs, fibres, blood and other body fluids in cases such as assault, murder and sexual assault.  
 
Chemistry and Drugs/Toxicology:  
The Chemistry section deals mainly with crimes against property, examining materials such as fingerprints, paint, glass, fire debris, shoeprints, hair, fibres, soil and explosives.  
 
Drugs/Toxicology:  
In the Drugs section, suspected drugs of abuse seized by the Gardai are analysed to see if they are controlled substances. Items that might have come into contact with drugs such as weighing scales, knives to cut up a drug like cannabis resin, or hypodermic syringes used to inject drugs are examined for traces of controlled drugs.  
 
The Forensic scientist takes full responsibility for the scientific work required in a criminal case. This involves analytical laboratory work using quite a wide range of instrumental techniques. The scientist then writes a report on the results for the Gardai and the Director of Public Prosecutions. The scientist would frequently present the work orally to a court and defend that work under legal cross-examination. Some time could also be spent attending at crime scenes and lecturing to Gardai on the work of the laboratory.  
 
This course choice should not be based on the TV programme C.S.I. (Crime Scene Investigation) It has been widely emphasised that C.S.I. portrays a fictionalised view of this profession. Forensic scientists spend a lot more time in the laboratory carrying out experiments than working in the field.

 


Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation

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Keep records and prepare reports detailing findings, investigative methods, and laboratory techniques.

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Collect evidence from crime scenes, storing it in conditions that preserve its integrity.

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Testify in court about investigative or analytical methods or findings.

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Use photographic or video equipment to document evidence or crime scenes.

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Visit morgues, examine scenes of crimes, or contact other sources to obtain evidence or information to be used in investigations.

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Reconstruct crime scenes to determine relationships among pieces of evidence.

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Operate and maintain laboratory equipment and apparatus.

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Confer with ballistics, fingerprinting, handwriting, documents, electronics, medical, chemical, or metallurgical experts concerning evidence and its interpretation.

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Prepare solutions, reagents, or sample formulations needed for laboratory work.

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Train new technicians or other personnel on forensic science techniques.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.

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Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge:  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

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Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events:  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

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Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates:  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

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Documenting/Recording Information:  Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

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Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work:  Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

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Handling and Moving Objects:  Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

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Communicating with Persons Outside Organization:  Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

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Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings:  Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

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Getting Information:  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

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Performing for or Working Directly with the Public:  Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.


Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.

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Law and Government:  Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

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Public Safety and Security:  Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

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English Language:  Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

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Chemistry:  Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.

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Computers and Electronics:  Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.


Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.

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Reading Comprehension:   Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

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Active Listening:   Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

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Writing:   Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

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Speaking:   Talking to others to convey information effectively.

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Critical Thinking:   Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

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Instructing:   Teaching others how to do something.

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Judgment and Decision Making:   Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

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Active Learning:   Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

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Complex Problem Solving:   Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

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Monitoring:   Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

As a forensic scientist, you must be accurate, methodical and thorough in your investigations. Patience, attention to detail and problem solving skills are very important.  
 
Although you will spend large amounts of time routine testing in laboratories, you must also be prepared to visit disturbing murder scenes, or to identify the drug taken in a fatal overdose.  
 
Good communication skills are very important. In court, you need to be able to explain your findings clearly to lawyers, jurors and the public. You may also be cross-examined.  
 
A Forensic Scientist has a large responsibility for examining substances carefully and accurately and presenting detailed results clearly. They must keep up to date with technical developments.


Entry Routesheader image

To be a Forensic Scientist, the minimum academic qualification is an honours degree (level 8), normally in chemistry, analytical science or an appropriate biological subject such as biochemistry, biology or molecular biology, or an equivalent qualification.

A formal qualification in forensic science is not required as all new staff members will be fully trained on the job.

In Ireland, all staff employed at  The Forensic Science Labratory are civil servants, therefore, any vacancy must be advertised in the national papers and recruitment is by competitive interview. The Public Appointments Service, places the advertisements and organises the recruitment process. Vacancies are also posted on www.publicjobs.ie.

For the post of Forensic Analyst, the minimum academic qualification is a level 7 qualification in an appropriate Science subject.

Last Updated: November, 2014


Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Forensic Consultant - from:  iCould [UK] Video
Go..Forensic Psychologist - from:  N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Forensic Science Technician - from:  YouTube Video
Go..Forensic Scientist - from:  N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Forensic scientist - from:  GradIreland

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image

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Organisation: Forensic Science Laboratory (Eolaíocht Fhóiréinseach Éireann)
  Address: Garda HQ, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8
  Tel: (01) 666 2910
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here

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Organisation: Public Appointments Service
  Address: Chapter House, 26/30 Abbey Street Upper, Dublin 1
  Tel: (01) 858 7400 or Locall: 1890 44 9999
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here

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Organisation: Department of Justice - State Pathologists Office
  Address: Fire Brigade Training Centre, Malahide Road, Marino, Dublin 3
  Tel: (01) 853 4871
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here

 

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