The As Seen on TV Series: Bloodstain Pattern Analyst

There are probably many people who decide on a career field based on what they see on television. But how much of what you see on TV is true? Are there any accurate portrayals of careers, or is it all beautified garbage? Today, we analyze Dexter and the job of bloodstain pattern analyst.

I imagine there are many people who decide on a career field based on what they see on television. I know that there are many fields that look so glamorous and fun that even I would love to do them! As Seen on TV But how much of what you see on TV is true? Are there any accurate portrayals of careers, or is it all beautified garbage?

Let’s start out with one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time; a show revolving around a bloodstain pattern analyst who moonlights as a serial killer. (Hopefully, you won’t be interested in the serial killer aspect!)

Dexter may focus more on the shady nighttime dealings of a “moral” serial killer, but we do see a good portion of his day job. Let me give you an outline of the life of a bloodstain pattern analyst. 

A day in the life

Using your expertise, you will be attempting to piece together the story of a crime scene. What type of weapon was used? Where was the victim/suspect going? How many wounds did the victim suffer?

You should be prepared to spend your days responding to crime scenes whenever they are found, taking photographs, collecting samples, writing up reports, and testifying in court. This can be a dangerous job, because you will be spending a lot of time around hazardous body fluids, and proper precautions must be taken.


Luckily, only a bachelor’s degree is required for most positions, although some may require a few extra certifications. As this field continues to grow, many jobs are requiring a master’s degree as well. A degree in a natural science is best, as you will need a strong understanding of the properties of blood, and how it flows through the body. The University of Central Florida offers a B.S. in Forensic Science, which has both an analysis track and a biochemistry track. You can also complete a master’s degree program in forensic science. Boston University would be another excellent school choice thanks to their biomedical forensic science department.

Your future

Many people estimate that the growth across all specializations within the forensic sciences will hover around 20% through 2012; most other careers have an average growth rate of 12%. On the low end, you may be making $30,000 annually, with the average being $55,000 and the high end being $83,000. With a master’s degree and experience, you can expect to be above the average salary.

Is this job for me?

If you can’t get through a medical drama, or cringe when you see a gruesome body or autopsy on TV, find another job! Oftentimes, you will be called to horrific and gruesome crime scenes. You should enjoy puzzles and problem solving, as most of your job will be to think outside the box and piece together the crime. Think of it as a giant word problem: “Jane Doe was walking down the street. Based on the position of her body, and the splatter of blood on the side of the building, where did her attacker come from?” If you can stomach the blood and gore, this can be a tremendously rewarding career for those with an inquisitive mind. And, you get to help solve crimes!

Unlike many other shows, like CSI or Law & Order, I feel that this series is portraying the job properly. While they don’t go into extreme detail, they don’t make it seem to be a glamorous job filled with high-end salaries for little to no work.

If you would’ve pursued this career based solely on Dexter, how do you feel now? Do you think it was close to reality? Or did they make the job much more glamorous than it really is!

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Dexter forensic science forensic science colleges jobs in forensic science TV jobs

About Adam Cronin

Adam Cronin

Adam Cronin works as a Data Entry Specialist at Carnegie Communications while pursuing degrees in computer science and music performance. He is responsible for helping to grow and maintain various databases. On his own time, Adam is currently researching different aspects of artificial intelligence in an attempt to quench his thirst for knowledge, all while preparing himself for a constant schedule of music auditions. As a self-proclaimed “geek,” he hopes his knowledge of computer science and music performance can offer guidance to the readers of CollegeXpress, from auditioning and admission to résumé building and preparing for graduation!

You can follow Adam on Twitter or subscribe to his CollegeXpress blog


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
CollegeXpress Logo


Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

Asia Stockdale

Asia Stockdale

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me overcome a huge hurdle. Because of the small town I live in, I felt like I would never achieve more. I felt like I could never go beyond because of costs. I feared I wouldn’t be able to find scholarships. I had no idea of where to start. With CollegeXpress, I easily found scholarships—they came to me. It was a helper, and I was instantly matched with opportunities to go above and beyond educationally.

Maurice Whan

Maurice Whan

$2,000 Spring Scholarship Contest Winner, 2021

This year has been tough for my family and myself, so receiving this scholarship has been a blessing in disguise! CollegeXpress has been an excellent resource in helping me prepare financially for college. Thank you again for this amazing opportunity!

Anthony Vidal

Anthony Vidal

High School Class of 2023

CollegeXpress has helped me in a series of different ways when it comes to finding scholarships and learning information about different universities. I actually found my dream university through CollegeXpress and am working on getting there.

Joseph Johnsly

Joseph Johnsly

High School Class of 2021

It's an honor for me to be writing to share a little about my experience with CollegeXpress. I've been using CollegeXpress for about a year now, and the reason why I chose it is because it provides astonishing scholarships for every student around the globe. Besides that, this organization dispenses all the information necessary to help students get to college. CollegeXpress has helped me have an easier experience with applying to colleges and choosing the best fit for myself.



High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me greatly during my college search. I used their college search feature often and it helped in comparing schools I was looking at. Now that I’ve found a college the scholarship search feature is helping me find a way to find my college experience. CollegeXpress has many helpful features and resources for anyones college search, it truly is a wonderful tool for anyone entering college level!

College Matches