Why get a forensic science degree? If you love solving puzzles and mysteries and you want a forensic scene career, you will help bring criminals to justice. Forensic scientists, also known as crime scene investigators (CSI) are responsible for collecting, analyzing, and investigating the evidence left at the scene of a crime. They also may be required to testify in court cases. Graduates also work in state laboratories or medical examiners offices. Many forensic scientists specialize in an area such as DNA analysis, fingerprint matching, and firearms examination. Forensics science careers focuses on analyzing physical evidence that is related to investigations and crime scenes. In many cases, a forensic scientist may be required to testify in court proceedings.
Forensic Science Education and Training
The field of forensic science is both an analytical and research-base. It offers various career options that include forensic medicine, computer forensics, investigation, reporting, forensic nursing and criminal justice. Forensic science uses scientific methods and principles to resolve legal issues.
A bachelors degrees in biological or physical sciences is recommended to get into the field. With an associates degree in criminal justice, forensic science, that is also a good starting point for entry-level forensic technicians. Classes may include:
- Survey of Criminal Justice
- The Criminal Justice System
- Forensic Science Laboratory
- Elements of Biochemistry
- Analysis for Behavioral, Biological, and Forensic Science
Many forensic scientists have attained a master’s or doctorate degrees in their specialization. A forensic science degree or diploma will prepare you to:
- Collect, package, transport, and document physical evidence
- Conduct fingerprinting
- Analyze crime scenes
- Analyze evidence in the laboratory
- Reconstruct a crime
- Testify in court cases
- Produce professional reports and presentations
Forensic Science Careers
Forensic scientists play an important role in crime solving by analyzing physical evidence, preparing reports for law enforcement official and courts, and serving as expert witnesses during court trials. The computer forensics solution includes multiple applications to assist law enforcement agencies with the storage and remote retrieval of evidential data.
The job of forensic scientists is to investigate crimes. They college crime scene evidence and using the various scientific and technology approaches. The collect and analyze physical evidence, and also work with the police, police detectives, government officials, prosecutors, public defenders and others in the legal systems. They may also be required to:
- Reconstruct crime scenes
- Collect and analyze DNA samples
- Take fingerprints
- Collect and analyze forensic samples e.g. blood, hair, skin and tissue, bone fragments etc
- Report investigative findings
- Examine firearms and bullets
- Analyze text and written evidence
- Interpret lab reports and findings
- Keep legal logs and records
- Operate laboratory equipment
- Handwriting analysis
- Analyze digital data
Forensics scientists may specialize in one area such as DNA analysis, firearm research and weapons testing (ballistics) examining fiber, hair, tissue, or body fluid substances. They work with computer, lab equipment, chemicals, fluid samples and firearms that demand safety precautions.
Forensic scientists often work for local, regional, state, and forensic labs district attorney’s offices, private firms, lawyers and attorneys, the military and, federal agencies that include the DEA, Homeland Security, Customs, FBI, and the United States Postal Service.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Outlook
With an online forensic science degree an experienced forensic scientist can earn between $40,000 to $85,000 a year in the United States. Lab directors with a masters or PhD in both campus and online forensic science degree often earn over $100,000 a year, while entry level technicians can make $30,000 and $45,000 a year. Employment of science technicians is expected to grow 12% over the next several years, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Forensic Science Programs
- Programs include Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, Master of Science in Criminal Justice, and more.
- Advanced degrees in criminal justice help working professionals stay up to date on the latest law enforcement practices.
- Some programs offer the opportunity for hands-on experience working on real criminal cases.
- Flexible online and campus-based programs available.
- BS in Criminal Justice - Crime Scene Investigation
- AAS in Criminal Justice
- MS in Criminal Justice - Global Issues in Criminal Justice
- And more...
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- Criminal Justice - Bachelor's
- Offers associate and bachelor-level programs in Criminal Justice.
- Program topics include criminal investigation processes and ethics, criminal law, juvenile justice and more.
- A B.A.S. in Criminal Justice program is also available for students who already possess an A.A.S.
- Regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
- Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Criminal Justice
- Bachelor’s and master’s programs in Criminal Justice available
- Ranked among the Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2017
- Concentrations include Forensics, Homeland Security, and Cybercrime and Security
- Students study law enforcement operations, corrections, and criminal investigation
- Doctor of Management - Criminal Justice
- Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
- Master of Science in Criminal Justice
- And more...
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