Technical Investigator / Professional Engineer
In the field of forensic science, some people refer to themselves as “forensic engineers”. Yet, there is no college or university in the United States, or the world, that offers a degree in forensic engineering, and there is no Professional Engineer exam or licensure for “forensic engineers” in the United States. This is because the engineering disciplines, and the exams that precede Professional Engineer licensure, are based on theory taught in school in a very narrowly defined area of technology while successful application of forensic science is based on a combination of lengthy experience in a very wide range of technical disciplines and key personal attributes with which one is born. In fact, a large part of the work of technical investigators is to determine where and why professional engineers failed in their work.
It is noteworthy that the ASTM International Standards which govern the procedures and practices of evidence collection and laboratory analysis are written for technical investigators, not professional engineers.
In fact, the word “engineer” doesn’t even appear in the body of any of the ASTM Standard Practices.