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Forensic Document Examiner

Inspect handwriting and damaged documents to help solve crimes.

What does a Forensic Document Examiner do?

When a crime occurs, paperwork is often left behind. A Forensic Document Examiner’s job is to examine this paperwork to determine what happened and who was involved. When you’re a Forensic Document Examiner, the results of your investigation are entered as evidence to help convict those responsible for the crime.

One of the things you may be asked to do as a Forensic Document Examiner is compare handwriting samples. You’re given a sample of the accused person’s handwriting, and compare that to another sample. This can help establish the person’s guilt or innocence.

You may also be given tiny shards of paper that have been damaged at the scene of the crime, and you use computers to recreate the document. Or you may be provided samples of printed materials and a printer owned by the accused person. You then attempt to determine if the sample came from that printer.

All of the results of your work must be detailed in a report, and you must be incredibly thorough in describing what you’ve done to the documents and what you’ve found. Your reports become part of the official investigation, and you’ll likely be asked to testify in court about your findings.

Working as a Forensic Document Examiner may not be as glamorous as it appears on television. You likely won’t have a soundtrack playing behind you, and your work will take much longer than three or four minutes. But you may find the job truly absorbing, and helping to solve a crime and convict a criminal may be glamorous enough to suit you.