Forensic engineers are responsible for investigating the failure of products, structures, materials, and components. Forensic engineers are sought out as a means to discover and isolate a cause or reason the failure occurred so that the product performance and safety profile may improve. They are also often called on to make appearances in court for criminal cases, but more commonly in cases for product liability. This is because they are generally the person who testifies on behalf of the product or structural failure and provides an expert analysis toward the court. Forensic engineering also happens to be the most sought after form of investigation when there has been a major fire, explosion, or any other disaster that requires an immediate evacuation in an effort to discover what has caused it. Long hours are spent investigating things.
In order to become a forensic engineer, a 4-year engineering degree is required. If a specialty is desired, majoring in the specified engineering subcategory is what’s needed. Engineering specialties can include civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer engineering. Specialties are not limited to just those fields however, and many other specialties are available to fulfill various interests. Engineering majors are required to take courses like advanced mathematics and control theory, intro to engineering, and systems. Furthermore, more coursework is required if pursuing a specialty field that is derives from the basis of that specific field.
The road to becoming a forensic engineer does not end here. In fact, aside from the required education of any basic engineer, a forensic engineer must become a licensed engineer in the state they one day hope to be employed in. Requirements for obtaining a license can differ depending on the state that a license is applied for in. However, requirements generally include acquiring professional experience and passing the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam. After gaining a license, a year-long process must begin. This year long process is where the potential forensic engineer certifies their specialty within forensic engineering. However, all of the studying, work, and effort is worth it because the culminate results in the degree-holder doing something they love while earning some of the nation’s highest entry-level salaries.