General Forensics Subcommittee

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. The mission of the Subcommittee on General Forensics:
    1. To promote the education, research, communication and standardization activities and goals of the areas of forensic laboratory science (criminalistics) which include but are not limited to firearms and toolmarks analysis, forensic biology (DNA, serology), trace evidence, drug analysis and identification, toxicology, questioned documents; forensic anthropology and forensic odontology, throughout the year and at each annual conference.
    2. To provide speakers for the general session and trainers for workshops. The chairperson will coordinate with the education seminar planner coordinator to ensure that the areas under this subcommittee are represented in the program.
    3. The subcommittee will communicate with the membership through such organs as the Journal of Forensic Identification (JFI) and the Identification News.
    4. To provide information and resources on the areas' activities to the membership of IAI.
    5. To help develop responses to issues concerning forensic laboratory analysis that comes before the IAI.
  2. How do I request to serve on this committee?

    Communicate with the chair of the committee or with the incoming IAI President. These individuals can be contacted via e-mail through the IAI website at

  3. What are the terms for serving on the committee?

    Each member of the subcommittee is selected for a one-year term, generally the term of office of the president.

    The member must be an Active Member of the IAI in good standing. They must be working in or retired from in at least one of the disciplines represented by the General Forensics Sub-committee.

    The member shall remain actively engaged in the business of the subcommittee either by providing input to matters that come before the subcommittee, providing articles to be submitted to the Identification News and/or the Journal of Forensic Identification (JFI), assisting in providing presenters or presenting papers at the annual training seminar and/or providing trainers or presenting training at workshops at the annual training seminar.

  4. What are the responsibilities of the Chairperson?

    The duties of the Chairperson of the Subcommittee on General Forensics are as follows:

    1. Perform an immediate and thorough investigation of an applicant's professional qualifications for membership in conformance with the provisions of the Operations Manual. Upon completion of said investigation, the Subcommittee Chairperson will make a judgment and return the prospective Member's application with approval or disapproval of the Subcommittee indicated thereon. In the event that a clear-cut decision cannot be made, the Chairperson of the Subcommittee shall consult the Chairperson of the Science and Practices Committee before rendering a decision.
    2. The Chairperson may hold an educational breakout session (seminar or seminars), workshop(s), or business meeting at the Annual IAI international Educational Conference pertinent to the disciplines under the charge of the Sub-committee, with participation open to anyone who is invited as a guest or a speaker or who is properly registered at the Annual IAI International Educational Conference. However, if there is limited space at a workshop, the workshop may be limited to only registered delegates.
    3. Vote at respective committee and or sub-committee meetings.
    4. Make recommendations to the Chairperson of the Science and Practices Committee who shall make recommendations to the Board of Directors, the President, or the full membership on matters that pertain to that discipline, especially where a vote of the General Membership is warranted. The Chairperson is responsible to act as a professional resource in his or her discipline for all the members in good standing of this association. This shall include, but is not limited to, answering technical questions, or referring members to a person who is qualified to answer the question.
    5. The Chairperson is responsible to act as an expert witness in his or her discipline for investigations and administrative hearings related to allegations of unethical or unprofessional conduct. This shall include, but is not limited to answering technical questions and serving as an advisor or technical consultant to both Ethics Investigation Committee and the Board of Directors. However, except as provided in the Subsection (h.) Expert Witness for Investigations and Hearings, if the chairperson of the Science and Practices Subcommittee is involved in any manner with the allegation of unethical or unprofessional conduct another member of the same sub-committee shall be appointed by the President to serve in place of the Chairperson for the duties of the Chairperson that are covered by the aforementioned Subsection.
    6. Responsible for at least one (1) written report of activities. A copy of this written report must be given to the Chairperson of the Science and Practices Committee at no later than thirty (30) days prior to the Annual Educational Conference.
    7. Perform such other duties, as the President or Board of Directors shall prescribe.
  5. Who can I contact to obtain information regarding this Subcommittee?

    The Chairperson of the General Forensics Subcommittee. Contact information for the Chairperson is listed in the IAI website and in the most current issues of the Journal of Identification (JFI) and the Identification News or contact the chairperson on by visiting the IAI website at

  6. Are there any requirements for obtaining employment in any of the listed areas of forensic laboratory science?

    1. Academic? Currently, most forensic laboratories require the job applicant to have at minimum a Bachelor of Science degree in a related physical science although some require a class in quantitative analysis in chemistry from an accredited college or university. However, there are certain disciplines under General Forensics such as Forensic Odontology that have much more stringent requirements such as a DDS or MD degree along with certification from such bodies as the American Board of Forensic Odontologists
    2. Previous Experience? Previous experience is desirable but not often required.
    3. Internship? Previous experience as an intern is desirable but not required.
    4. Position Specific? The person may be required to pass a background check and possibly a polygraph examination.
    5. Agency Specific? The person may be required to pass a background check and possibly a polygraph examination.

  7. What certification is available for examiners in the General Forensics Discipline?

    Currently, there is no IAI certification in the General Forensics Discipline. Available certifications include Bloodstain Pattern Examiner Certification, Crime Scene Certification, Footwear Certification, Forensic Art Certification, Forensic Photography Certification, Latent Print Certification and Tenprint Fingerprint Certification. For further information on these certifications, visit the "Certification" tab on the IAI website. Those practicing in the traditional criminalistics disciplines may seek certification through the American board of Criminalistics. Please visit their website at: There they can find certifications in Comprehensive Criminalistics, Drug Analysis, Forensic Biology, Fire Debris, Molecular Biology, Paint and Polymers, and college students enrolled at FEPAC accredited universities may take the FSAT offering.

    For those individuals practicing in the field of Forensic Toxicology, certifications in that discipline are offered by the American Board of Forensic Toxicologists and the Society of Forensic Toxicology. Please visit the respective websites at:

    For certifications in the remaining disciplines listed under General Forensics please visit the descriptions that are included in this document.

  8. Where can I find source(s) such as websites, standard operation procedures/protocols, best practices or guidelines that are utilized by those working in the various disciplines of General Forensics?

    Because the umbrella of General Forensics covers so many disciplines, it is difficult to name or list all the possible resources. However, some of the organizations that do fall under the umbrella of disciplines of this sub-committee include AAFS, SWGDAM, SWGTRACE, SWGDOC, TWIGFX, ASTM, ASCLD, ASCLD/LAB, FQS, and NFSTC. Also, many regional criminalistics organizations such as CAC, CAT, NWAFS, SWAFS, and TIAFT, are included. Most of these organizations have websites that can be accessed via the Internet.

  9. Can you provide recommendations on where to find information and resources to support research or a science project for General Forensic Science disciplines such as criminalistics specialties such as trace evidence, flammable liquid and explosive residues analysis, trace evidence, serology, DNA, firearms and toolmarks, forensic anthropology, forensic odontology, and questioned document analysis etc.: