What Does a Forensic Engineer Do?

What Does a Forensic Engineer Do

Are you one of the people who has dreamt of growing up and solving crimes? Many people have, but they may feel that their skill set and talents do not fit the work of a detective or forensic pathologist. But there is one career that not many may know about.

Forensic engineers are responsible for collecting evidence from various structures such as a bridge or building, or even a car or other automobile, and investigating the cause of death of individuals due to these things.

If that sounds interesting to you, then go ahead and keep on reading. We will be going over the various responsibilities that a forensic engineer holds, as well as how it is possible for an individual to become one.

Studying the Crime Scene – Forensic Engineers

What Are Forensic Engineers?

While many know about forensic pathologists, crime scene analysts, and crime scene technicians, there are very few that are aware that forensic engineers even exist as a profession.

The previously mentioned three careers will tend to work on the scene of the crime and scour for clues as to what happened or study the body of victims after they have been brought in, but a forensic engineer actually studies the area itself.

Forensic engineers will take into account things such as the car, building, bridge, or other structure that the incident occurred in, and aim to bring their engineering expertise to the table in order to shed light on what may have been the cause for what happened and form conclusions off of this.

They will gather evidence from the scene of the crime and then review this evidence afterward in order to get a better understanding of what may have happened, all the while applying engineering principles and learnings that may contribute to a better understanding of the situation.

In short, forensic engineers are tasked with applying their engineering learnings and other aspects of engineering into the case of law when it is needed.

What do Forensic Engineers Do, Exactly?

As we stated earlier, forensic engineers work to do a couple of different jobs when it comes to solving a crime. They may do some work at the scene of the crime, as well as study things afterward and draw conclusions from the evidence gathered.

That means that forensic engineers tend to fill two different roles when it comes to solving crimes. For the first, they will work together with other law enforcement and professionals as a detective, and scour the scene of the crime for various clues which may help to shed some light on what had happened.

They will search for evidence around the area in order to gain an idea of what happened, and try to gain some insight into the cause of the incident. In the case that the incident is a car crash, for example, then the vehicle or vehicles that were involved become the most important evidence available.

A forensic engineer will take this evidence and aim to gain a deeper insight into the cause of the incident, as well as how things may have played out while the incident was occurring. 

For the previously mentioned car crash example, this means that a forensic engineer can take into account the angle of impact that the car or cars crashed at, the speed at which the vehicle or vehicles were going, and determine whether or not seat belts were used by the victims.

After performing this type of detective work, the forensic engineer will begin to handle the things that make them unique among the various criminology disciplines. By implementing their skills and knowledge of engineering, forensic engineers can conduct tests and try to figure out more about the incident.

Using the same car crash example mentioned previously, forensic engineers may conduct tests with cars that are designed to smash into concrete walls at different speeds. This can help the forensic engineer get an understanding for how fast the car had been going when the crash occurred, and see what may have happened to any individuals who were inside the car at the time of the crash.

Controlling variables such as the model of the car, the individuals who were present within the car at the time of the crash, and the speed at which the car may have been going are all things that a forensic engineer can examine and aim to draw conclusions from.

Of course, forensic engineers do not just handle car crashes. They can also tackle incidents involving the failure of bridges, staircases, and other structures. Even when machinery breaks down and causes injury or death a forensic engineer may be responsible for gaining evidence from this.

Any evidence that a forensic engineer comes across can be used in a court of law. Many times, this evidence is used in cases of liability and personal injury, in order to get the victim justice for what had happened.

How Can Someone Become a Forensic Engineer?

Should you desire to become a forensic engineer there are a few things that you will need to take care of after completing your bachelor’s degree.

Of course, to start you will need to get your bachelor’s degree in engineering. After this, you need to become a licensed engineer in your state by taking the principles and practice of engineering exam. This is usually only taken after you have accrued a decent amount of experience as an engineer.

After earning your license, you can begin the one-year process of becoming a forensic engineer. You will be required to showcase your skills in forensic engineer as well as showing you have mastered technical knowledge as well as ethics. 

At the end of all of this, you will be required to pass a written exam, as well as an oral one to prove that you have what it takes to become a forensic engineer. 

Once you have passed all of your requirements and become a full-fledged forensic engineer, you can find work with government agencies or police forces, or even work for var companies that manufacture cars. You could even be a teacher on the side and work as a forensic engineer consultant.


The duties of a forensic engineer are many, and that is what makes this job so intriguing. If you have thought about working to solve crimes in the past but did not know what type of job you would be best suited at, perhaps forensic engineering is for you.

Forensics engineers act as detectives while on the scene of the crime while working to solve the reasons behind the cause of the incident and trying to understand the causes of it once they have collected their evidence.

For a job that combines detective work with that of an engineer, there is nothing that can beat a forensic engineer.

Jonathan Holmes

Jonathan Holmes is a writer for HKS Siblab, an education and business blog. He has a MSc in Cyber Security & Digital Forensics from the University of Hertfordshire and has been working in the cyber security industry since 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing guitar and spending time with his family.

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