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Forensic Degrees

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west-virginia forensic science

Forensic Science

Forensic science combines science and investigation in order to aid and support  the prosecution or defense in criminal and civil investigations. While the profession has been widely romanticized by various TV shows, make no mistake – this job is most likely different that you expect.  In contrast with popular perception, this is a highly scientific role, which often involves detailed, painstaking work. Field duties are limited to a few areas of expertise, and most often than not a forensic scientist will spend his time in the lab.

If you made it this far, though, congratulations! You’re taking the first steps in joining a very rewarding profession and itsGOV is here to guide you through what you need to know and what you need to do to join a forensic science program in West Virginia.

Depending on the type of forensic science practiced, different degrees and educational backgrounds may help a candidate get a job and excel in this field. Regarding formal education, requirements vary across jobs, but you should definitely have a solid background in mathematics, biology and chemistry.

The National Institute of Justice, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, offers guidelines for model undergraduate and graduate forensic science degree programs. According to the American Academy of Forensic Science, strong programs should offer a curriculum that concentrates on scientific writing, laboratory skills, public speaking, and computer software application training.

Forensic Science Requirements in West Virginia

Forensic science is one of the fastest-growing fields in the U.S. with a predicted job growth of 20 percent by 2018. Most forensic science jobs are within the criminal justice system, including state/local government, the FBI, the DEA and the U.S. military. However, private laboratories and educational institutions also employ forensic scientists.

West Virginia is home to six schools with forensic science degree programs, including master’s degree programs, which graduate approximately 85 students every year.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, forensic scientists in West Virginia earn an annual mean wage of $37,800. However, persons who live in the northeastern end of the state and work in the greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area, tend to earn roughly twice as much, or an annual mean wage of $74,500

There are currently over 50 forensic scientists employed in West Virginia. The general requirements that must be met for a forensic science job are:

  • Bachelor’s degree in forensic science or a natural science from an accredited four-year college/university
  • Successfully pass a background check
  • No criminal record
  • No use of controlled substances

Forensic Science Training in West Virginia

Located in South Charleston, the fully accredited WVSP crime lab offers full-service analyzes of evidence collected from criminal investigations free of charge to all law enforcement/criminal justice agencies in West Virginia. Services provided include:

  • Drug Identification – Identification and analysis of controlled substances
  • Toxicology – Analysis of blood alcohol content; examination of blood and urine for presence of drugs
  • Trace Evidence – Identification and comparison of hair, fiber, paint, glass, etc.
  • Biochemistry – Analysis of biological substances
  • Latent Print – Analysis, comparison and verification of friction ridge skin impressions
  • Firearms/Toolmarks – Identification/comparison of firearms, ammunition components and Toolmarks; distance determinations
  • Questioned Documents – Analysis and comparison of questioned documents

Information regarding employment with the WVSP forensics laboratory is available from the state employment office, 304-766-2600.The WVSP digital forensics laboratory is located on the third floor of the Marshall University Forensic Science Center in Huntington, WV. The state-of-the-arts facility specializes in mobile forensics in order to fill the needs of WV law enforcement officers in relation to digital evidence, cell phones or internet-based crime. The lab utilizes “imaging” which creates an exact duplicate of the digital information for analysis. The lab currently processes about 30 pieces of evidence every week; roughly 80 percent of the evidence is related to child exploitation. The Marshall University Forensic Science Center in Huntington, is not just a top-notch facility for forensic science students, but it also provides critical assistance to the West Virginia criminal justice community. The nationally accredited DNA laboratory accepts samples from state and local law enforcement/criminal justice agencies which are analyzed and compared on CODIS, the national DNA database. The labs staff, all of whom have master’s degrees in forensic science, process testing samples for both criminal and civil (paternity testing) cases. The center is also involved in various innovative DNA projects.

Forensic Science Salary in West Virginia

Fifty forensic science technicians were employed in West Virginia in 2012 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  Workforce West Virginia projects that there will be a 1.62% increase in the availability of these jobs per year in the period from 2010-2020.  They also indicated that twelve establishments reported employing forensic science technicians in 2011.

The BLS indicates that the average annual salary for these scientists was $37,800 a year in West Virginia in 2012.  Those in the 90th percentile of their wage bracket made an average of $50,100 that year.

Forensic analysts working for the state of West Virginia make a range of salaries depending on their level of experience and job responsibilities.  There are five categories of this job type with level I being the starting position and level V employees being head of a section.  Their salary ranges for 2013 are listed below:

  • Forensic analyst I:  $29,400 – $54,396
  • Forensic analyst V:  $39,372 – $72,840

The state’s two forensic labs are major providers of forensic scientist positions in the state.  The West Virginia State Police have a forensics lab in Charleston that provides services to law enforcement agencies throughout the state and handles about 3500 cases a year.  In addition, the forensic science center at Marshall University in Huntington works with the state police to analyze DNA profiles through the CODIS (combined DNA index system) database.

One category of forensics is handling evidence at the scene of the crime.  Such work is done by crime scene investigators (CSIs) who can be either civilian employees or sworn officers.  West Virginia provides both types of crime scene investigator positions.

CSI services are provided by the scientists of the forensic lab in Huntington.  In other cases, detectives with forensic training process evidence at crime scenes.  The average CSI position in West Virginia paid $55,000 in the year leading up to October 2013 according to Indeed.com.

Forensic Science Schools and Colleges in West Virginia

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in West Virginia

University Fairmont State University, Forensic Science B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $16,200 per year
Program link Program link

A number of educational elements must be covered in a Forensic Science program.  The Forensic Science curriculum at Fairmont includes courses in criminal justice, biology, chemistry, physics, math and interdisciplinary courses. Students should also expect to take classes like English, criminal investigation, genetics, molecular biotechnology and statistics. A Forensic Science degree is ideal for immediate employment or advanced study.  Combining a Forensic Science degree with degrees in chemistry, biology, math, business, foreign languages or psychology makes graduates highly marketable. The core modules are:

  • Biological Principles
  • Intro Physics
  • Principles
  • Chemical Principles II
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry II
  • Forensic Microscopy and Spectroscopy
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Criminalistics
  • Forensic Criminalistics Laboratory
  • Capstone Seminar in Forensic Science
  • Forensic Internship

The School of Business at Fairmont State University is committed to delivering a quality business education through effective teaching in a caring learning environment that is responsive to the shared needs of students, employers, and the community.

In accordance with our mission statement, the School of Business is committed to the following core goals: Quality Programs. Provide rigorous and relevant programs that are intellectually and ethically grounded, innovative, integrative, technologically advanced and global in perspective; effective Teaching and Scholarship. Collaborate with stakeholders to align our teaching, scholarship, and service with the needs of the community; improved Community. Serve as a primary source for creating and applying business knowledge to promote regional economic development; the Fairmont State University mission and vision statements and full institution description can be found on the site.

University Fairmont State University, Forensic Science B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $24,500 in-state; $28.020 out-of-state per year
Program link Program link

Digital Forensics, or computer forensics, is an emerging forensic discipline. Though not a traditional physical science, digital forensics incorporates methodical procedures-based investigations to obtain digital evidence usable within the criminal justice system. Digital workstations, laptop computers, and mobile devices store a wealth of digital information including text, images, audio, and video, which can serve as digital evidence. Precise recovery of digital evidence is critical for use in legal proceedings in any technology-based society.

The need for highly-trained digital forensics investigators has never been greater. To meet this need, within law enforcement and the private sector, MUFSC established the Digital Forensics Emphasis, as part of our Forensic Science Graduate Program, along with a Graduate Certificate in Digital Forensics. Our digital forensics programs are the first in the nation to be FEPAC accredited.

Digital Forensics is a multi-faceted discipline in which students learn from an array of topics concerning digital evidence extraction and examination. The Digital Forensics Emphasis andGraduate Certificate programs were created to include topics from three core areas; Digital Forensics, Information Security, and Electronic Discovery. The core modules are:

  • Network Forensics
  • Forensic Digital Imaging
  • Digital Evidence Search & Seizure
  • Foundation & Fundamentals of Digital Evidence
  • Advanced Digital Evidence Detection & Recovery

The Marshall University Forensic Science Center has state-of-the-art digital forensics facilities including a dedicated Digital Forensics Laboratory and four distance-learning capable classrooms. Two classrooms, each with a twenty-student capacity, have individual computer workstations pre-loaded with digital forensics software. This allows instructors to demonstrate key concepts while students follow along, further enhancing the educational experience. The Digital Forensics laboratory enables students to gain hands-on experience with tools used in professional forensic examinations. The laboratory also acts as a digital forensics research center, where graduate students perform equipment validations and related studies. The laboratory includes a Radio Frequency (RF) screening room allowing investigators to address the unique challenges of cellular and mobile device investigations in a secure environment. MUFSC is committed to providing technical assistance to law enforcement. As part of this commitment MUFSC houses one of the West Virginia State Police Digital Forensics Units (WVSP-DFU) in our Annex building. The WVSP-DFU actively perform investigations on cases involving child exploitation, fraud, narcotics, homicide, and sexual predators in a high-technology laboratory. This partnership allows our graduate students real-world apprenticeship opportunities and the ability to interact with law enforcement professionals in this burgeoning field.

University Fairmont State University, Forensic Chemistry B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $24,500 in-state; $28.020 out-of-state per year
Program link Program link

Courses offered by the Department of Chemistry provide a program of studies that allows the individual to: obtain high quality instruction in chemistry as a scientific discipline; otain a sound background in preparation for advanced studies; meet the qualifications of professional chemists and accrediting agencies; prepare for a professional career in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, medical technology, engineering, nursing and other fields. High school students planning to major in chemistry are advised to take one year of high school chemistry, one year of high school physics, and at least three years of high school mathematics (including geometry, algebra, and trigonometry). This major is intended for students who wish to pursue a career in fields involving forensics. Students are strongly encouraged to engage in a Forensic Chemistry related Capstone Experience. The core modules are:

  • Chemistry
  • Upper Division Chemistry Electives
  • Capstone Experience - Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Biology
  • Integrated Science and Technology

The Marshall University Forensic Science Center has state-of-the-art digital forensics facilities including a dedicated Digital Forensics Laboratory and four distance-learning capable classrooms. Two classrooms, each with a twenty-student capacity, have individual computer workstations pre-loaded with digital forensics software. This allows instructors to demonstrate key concepts while students follow along, further enhancing the educational experience. The Digital Forensics laboratory enables students to gain hands-on experience with tools used in professional forensic examinations. The laboratory also acts as a digital forensics research center, where graduate students perform equipment validations and related studies. The laboratory includes a Radio Frequency (RF) screening room allowing investigators to address the unique challenges of cellular and mobile device investigations in a secure environment. MUFSC is committed to providing technical assistance to law enforcement. As part of this commitment MUFSC houses one of the West Virginia State Police Digital Forensics Units (WVSP-DFU) in our Annex building. The WVSP-DFU actively perform investigations on cases involving child exploitation, fraud, narcotics, homicide, and sexual predators in a high-technology laboratory. This partnership allows our graduate students real-world apprenticeship opportunities and the ability to interact with law enforcement professionals in this burgeoning field.

Master’s Degree Programs in West Virginia

University Marshall University, Forensic Chemistry M.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $11,712 in-state; $15,992 out-of-state per year
Program link Program link

Forensic science is a rapidly evolving discipline, which applies a wide variety of scientific principles to enhance our legal system. In the past, most forensic science laboratories were staffed primarily with graduates of chemistry and biology programs. Once hired into a forensic science laboratory, they were trained through workshops and courses offered by various agencies.With the increasing introduction of scientific results into court testimony and the demands for formal training which includes hands-on experiences, the Marshall University Forensic Science Graduate Program satisfies national standards and guidelines to enable its graduates to enter this fascinating field. The goal of the Marshall University Master of Science in Forensic Science degree program is to provide the forensic science community with graduates who possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities sought by crime labs, law enforcement, and private entities. Providing knowlegdeable and skilled employees directly from our forensic science graduate program assists agencies in reducing the requirement for employer-based on-the-job training. Our graduate students receive instruction using state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, preparing them for a bright future and exciting careers.

A summer internship between the first and second year provides our forensic science graduate students with real-world experience in a variety of specialty areas. On-site internships are offered in Forensic DNA Analysis, Forensic Chemistry, and Digital Forensics. For specialty areas not offered within MUFSC facilities, students have interned in crime laboratories throughout the nation. Our Technical Assistance Program (TAP) offers a unique opportunity for students to serve as a well-trained technical assistant in crime labs across the country in meeting their DNAvalidation goals. The core modules are:

 

  • Forensic Microscopy and Spectroscopy
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Criminalistics
  • Forensic Criminalistics Laboratory
  • Capstone Seminar in Forensic Science
  • Forensic Internship

There are four areas of emphasis. The Marshall University Forensic Science Graduate Program is a FEPAC accredited two-year academic program leading to a Master of Science in Forensic Science degree.The forensic science graduate program includes a five-semester core curriculum with both thesis and non-thesis options. In addition to the core curriculum, four areas of emphasis are offered to graduate students for more in-depth education and training in specific forensic science disciplines. While one area of emphasis is required, students may complete all four areas of emphasis during their course of study.

Forensic DNA Analysts serve as faculty and mentors for various DNA-based courses while providing select students with real-world experience, training, and exposure to the inner workings of an accredited Forensic DNA Laboratory. The DNA emphasis exceeds the DNA Advisory Board standards by requiring a total of 12 graduate level credit hours addressing the DNA guidelines.

Forensic Chemistry: Graduate students pursuing careers in forensic drug analysis, toxicology, and trace evidence will benefit from the completion of the Forensic Chemistry emphasis. As some agencies may require 30 or more hours of chemistry coursework, the Forensic Chemistry emphasis provides additional education and hands-on training to meet these federal and state guidelines.

Digital Forensics: Graduate students participate in hands-on exercises and mock investigations with real-world investigative tools as they prepare for careers in this exciting discipline. Digial Forensics software is used to image digital storage media, the images are then analyzed using a variety of digital investigation software. Mobile forensics is an area emphasized in the Digital Forensics courses, as well as investigation of personal computers and gaming devices.

Crime Scene Investigation: The Crime Scene Investigation emphasis provides graduate students with the tools and hands-on experience to excel in this field. The Forensic Science Graduate Program has its own Crime Scene House which allows students to obtain real-world experience through the completion of mock crime scene exercises. Upon completion of this emphasis, students qualify to sit for the IAIBasic Student Knowledge in Crime Scene examination.

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washingston forensic science degree

Forensic Science

Forensic science combines science and investigation in order to aid and support  the prosecution or defense in criminal and civil investigations. While the profession has been widely romanticized by various TV shows, make no mistake – this job is most likely different that you expect.  In contrast with popular perception, this is a highly scientific role, which often involves detailed, painstaking work. Field duties are limited to a few areas of expertise, and most often than not a forensic scientist will spend his time in the lab.

If you made it this far, though, congratulations! You’re taking the first steps in joining a very rewarding profession and itsGOV is here to guide you through what you need to know and what you need to do to join a forensic science program in Washington.

Depending on the type of forensic science practiced, different degrees and educational backgrounds may help a candidate get a job and excel in this field. Regarding formal education, requirements vary across jobs, but you should definitely have a solid background in mathematics, biology and chemistry.

The National Institute of Justice, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, offers guidelines for model undergraduate and graduate forensic science degree programs. According to the American Academy of Forensic Science, strong programs should offer a curriculum that concentrates on scientific writing, laboratory skills, public speaking, and computer software application training.

Forensic Science Requirements in Washington

There are currently approximately 200 forensic scientists employed in Washington State. The vast majority of them (roughly 130) work for Washington State Patrol Forensic Laboratory Services. The others are employed by various analytical, medical and diagnostic laboratories. The job outlook for forensic scientists in Washington is good, with an expected 24 percent growth in jobs by 2018.

There are four job classifications for forensic scientists in Washington: forensic scientist I, II, III and IV.

The following requirements are the same for all four levels:

  • Education – Bachelor of Science degree in forensic science or a natural science; must include a minimum of 20 semester or 30 quarter hours of chemistry and five semester or eight quarter hours of physics.
  • Complete a Personal Background Evaluation Form.
  • Undergo a thorough background investigation.
  • Take a polygraph test.
  • Possess a valid driver’s license; present certified copy of driving record.
  •  Have no felony convictions.
  • Have no misdemeanor convictions involving controlled substances, theft, moral turpitude, fraud, larceny or crimes of violence.

The “experience” requirement differs with job classification as follows:

  • FS I – One year full-time paid work in a crime, research or analytical lab OR one year graduate study in forensic science or a natural science.
  • FS II – Two years full-time paid employment in an analytical, crime or research lab, one year of which must have been analyzing physical evidence and testifying as an expert in a court of law.
  • FS III – Two years working as a FSII OR three years full-time experience in a forensic science lab which included testifying in court.
  • FS IV – Two years working as a FSIII OR five years experience in a forensic science lab which included testifying in court.

A list of open positions with Washington State Patrol Forensic Laboratory Services, as well application instructions, is available online at the lab’s website. Call the Human Resources Department at 360-704-2300 for additional information about employment with the State of Washington.

The State of Washington has three schools with degree programs in forensic science from which approximately 13 students graduate each year.

Forensic Science Training in Washington

The Washington State Patrol Forensic Laboratory provides a wide range of services to city, county and state criminal justice agencies, law enforcement officers, medical examiners and coroners. The crime lab division is headquartered in Seattle, with adjunct labs in Olympia, Tacoma, Spokane, Vancouver, Kennewick and Marysville. The duties of the forensic scientists who work in these labs vary with their job classification; however, they all identify evidence and often link evidence to a specific person or crime scene. All of the labs have received accreditation from the American Society of Crime Lab Director’s Accreditation Bureau.

Services provided by the State Patrol Forensic Laboratory Division include:

  • Forensic Toxicology – Includes the breath/alcohol analysis and drug evaluation/classification programs
  • DNA Analysis – Develops DNA profiles from bodily fluids like blood, semen, saliva, sweat, etc.
  • CODIS – The national DNA database program is located in Seattle where technicians attempt to match DNA from a crime scene to the database which, as of 2010, contained over 8.7 million offender profiles and over 330,000 profiles from crime scenes. It is constantly growing.
  • Firearms/Toolmarks – Examines and compares firearms, ammunition components and  gunshot residues; determines shooting distances.
  • Microanalysis – Examines and compares trace evidence like hair, fiber, paint, glass, explosion residue and impressions. Analyzes blood stain patterns.
  • Chemistry – Identifies controlled substances, pharmaceuticals, poisons, clandestine drug operation materials and ignitable liquids in fire residue.
  • Latent Fingerprint Analysis – Examines and identifies latent fingerprints. The central latent print lab is in Olympia.
  • Questioned Documents Program – Examines and compares handwriting, printing, paper, inks and altered documents.

Washington State Patrol Forensic Laboratory scientists also provide training to law enforcement officers in subjects such as:

  • Arson investigation
  • Controlled substances
  • Document investigation
  • Latent fingerprint processing
  • Sexual assault evidence

Forensic Science Salary in Washington

The District of Columbia is one of the powerhouses of forensic science employment in the country.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average 2012 annual salary for forensic science technicians in DC is higher than all of the U.S. states.  It was $73,010 with experienced professionals averaging $106,300.

Washington, DC also has a high concentration of forensic science jobs based on its population.  It has more jobs per employee than all of the states in the country.  One out of every 2,500 employees in the district is a forensic scientist.

In DC, this occupation is considered as having one of the highest growth rates.  The DC’s Department of Employment Services projects forensic science technician jobs to increase 3.77% from 2006 to 2016.

The Washington, DC metropolitan area, including DC and parts of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia had the fifth highest rate of pay of any metropolitan area in the country.  The average salary in 2012 was $74,500 while experienced professionals made $112,230 a year.  In 2013, a forensic toxicologist for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in DC made from $52,024 to $67,081 a year.

A significant number of forensic scientists specialize in investigating crime scenes.  It is vital for investigations to have experienced professionals documenting the scene of the crime and collecting physical evidence for further analysis.

There are a number of different types of positions for crime scene investigators (CSIs).  In some cases, highly trained detectives specialize in forensic analysis and work a crime from the crime scene to the court.  In other cases, law enforcement agencies hire civilian employees as crime scene technicians or criminalists.

DC is unusual in having an independent Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS).  It was the first independent forensic agency created since the publication of a 2009 report from the National Academy of Sciences.  This report emphasized the need for forensic science agencies to operate independently from law enforcement.  Crime scene supervisors for the DFS made from $91,201 to $127,682 a year in 2013.

Forensic Science Schools and Colleges in Washington

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Washington

University Columbia Basin College, Forensic Science B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $21,696 per year
Program link Program link

This program focuses on the need for a broad background of educational experience. The highly complex and constantly changing lifestyle of our society, demands that the Criminal Justice person understands the principles of human behavior and communication, as well as the nature of law enforcement's function.

The associate degree program is designed to prepare individuals for a career in Criminal Justice by providing students with the background necessary to function at the entry level and to advance to the limits of their ability. A large number of related Criminal Justice career fields and programs are open to graduates of this program.

Students must obtain an overall average GPA of 2.3 or higher in the Criminal Justice degree major course section of the degree, and students must also obtain an overall average GPA of 2.0 or higher for successful degree completion.

Students not expressly interested in careers in law enforcement, but interested in learning more about individual rights, the law, and the Criminal Justice system, are encouraged to examine the introduction to Criminal Justice, Criminal Law, and Constitutional Law courses. The core modules are:

  • Organization/Administration
  • Traffic Control
  • Delinquent Behavior/Youth
  • Constitutional Law
  • Internship
  • Special Studies
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Alcohol/Drug Pharmacology/Physiology
  • Criminal Evidence
  • Basic Reserve Officer Law Enforcement Academy
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Law
  • Introduction to Forensic Science

CBC's Criminal Forensic Science program combines both the field of Science and the field of Criminal Justice. The Forensic Science degree prepares students for a career as a scientist in a Forensic laboratory. CBC's Forensic Science program offers a two-year degree for students who plan to obtain a Chemistry or Bio/Chemistry degree from a four-year university. The Forensic Science degree combines courses of Investigation, Evidence, Criminal Law, and Procedures with Science courses in Chemistry, Calculus, Analytic Geometry, and Quantitative Analysis. Upon completion of a four-year degree in Chemistry or Bio/Chemistry from an accredited university, students will be able to apply for entry-level positions in forensic laboratories that specialize in both criminal and civil evidence analysis.

Master’s Degree Programs in Washington

There are currently no master’s degrees offered in Washington.

 

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virginia forensic science degree

Forensic Science

Forensic science combines science and investigation in order to aid and support  the prosecution or defense in criminal and civil investigations. While the profession has been widely romanticized by various TV shows, make no mistake – this job is most likely different that you expect.  In contrast with popular perception, this is a highly scientific role, which often involves detailed, painstaking work. Field duties are limited to a few areas of expertise, and most often than not a forensic scientist will spend his time in the lab.

If you made it this far, though, congratulations! You’re taking the first steps in joining a very rewarding profession and itsGOV is here to guide you through what you need to know and what you need to do to join a forensic science program in Virginia.

Depending on the type of forensic science practiced, different degrees and educational backgrounds may help a candidate get a job and excel in this field. Regarding formal education, requirements vary across jobs, but you should definitely have a solid background in mathematics, biology and chemistry.

The National Institute of Justice, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, offers guidelines for model undergraduate and graduate forensic science degree programs. According to the American Academy of Forensic Science, strong programs should offer a curriculum that concentrates on scientific writing, laboratory skills, public speaking, and computer software application training.

Forensic Science Requirements in Virginia

Forensic scientists are a critically important part of the criminal justice system. The most important qualifications for being a forensic scientist are a love of science, insatiable curiosity, and an interest in both crime and solving mysteries.

The evidence collected by crime scene investigators is usually brought to a laboratory where it is sorted, examined, classified, tested and analyzed by forensic scientists who may have to testify about the evidence in a court of law. Physical evidence is often the critical factor that sways a jury to find a defendant guilty or innocent.

Most beginning forensic scientists work as generalists but after gaining t few years experience many of them opt for a specialization in one of the following areas:

  • Anthropology – skeletal remains
  • Odontology – teeth
  • Entomology – insects
  • Toxicology –drugs
  • Serology/DNA – Blood
  • Trace evidence – hair, fibers, paint, glass, etc.
  • Firearms/ballistics – firearms/ammunition
  • Questioned documents – paper/handwriting/ink, etc.

Preference is given to individuals with either general certification from the American Board of Criminalists or a specialized certification from the appropriate group such as the American Board of Toxicology or the Association of Firearms and Toolmark Examiners. If an experienced individual cannot be found for a particular opening, the job may be offered to a qualified individual without direct experience who will be expected to participate in a 24-month training period.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has five schools with degree-granting programs in forensic science which graduate an average of 90 students with forensic science credentials every year. The largest of these schools is located in Richmond; it graduates approximately 84 percent of all students with a forensic science degree.

Forensic Science Training in Virginia

The Virginia Department of Forensic Science (DFS) provides forensic laboratory services to more than 400 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including police departments, sheriff offices, fire departments, commonwealth attorneys and state agencies. Headed by Director Linda C. Jackson, the DFS has a budget of $36 million, with approximately 270 employees in labs located in Richmond (central lab), Norfolk, Manassas and Roanoke. It was the first forensic laboratory in the nation to offer DNA analysis and a pilot state for both CODIS (national fingerprint database) and the FBI automatic firearms comparison databank. The Department completed work on an overwhelming 58,017 cases in 2012!

In addition to evaluating and analyzing all kinds of evidence, interpreting results and providing expert testimonies in courts of law, scientists at the DFS provide technical assistance to law enforcement agencies across the Commonwealth. They offer a three-day refresher course to law enforcement personnel in the proper handling and submission of crime-scene evidence as well as specific courses in subjects like:

  • Breath Alcohol Analysis
  • Handling Homicide Scenes
  • Advanced Photographic Techniques
  • Role of Forensic Science in Hit-and-Run Investigations

The DFS was one of the nation’s first forensic laboratories to be accredited by the American Academy of Crime Lab Directors Lab Accreditation Board. The Breath Alcohol Calibration Lab also accredits the DFS.

Forensic Science Salary in Virginia

Salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that forensic science technicians who worked in Virginia in 2012 had the fifth highest average salary of any U.S. state.  It was $66,360 with experienced professionals averaging substantially more:  $97,310 a year.

Of the 360 jobs in this field that were located in Virginia in 2012, one third of them were in Richmond.  This city is the site of the Central Laboratory of the Virginia Department of Forensic Science and has a staff of around one hundred.  Additional labs are located in the following cities:

  • Manassas
  • Norfolk
  • Roanoke

Salary ranges from 2013 are available for forensic scientists who work for the Commonwealth.  There are two or three levels of each of the following positions with increasing salaries as the position requires more responsibility.

  • Forensic science specialist:  $23,999 – $84,062
  • Forensic scientist:  $31,352 – $109,818

A latent print examiner in Arlington made from $47,082 to $77,792 a year in 2013.

In addition to working as technicians in a lab, many forensic scientists are crime scene investigators (CSIs) and do their work in the field.  According to Indeed.com, the average salary for a crime scene investigator in Virginia was $57,000 in the year preceding October 2013.

Forensic Science Schools and Colleges in Virginia

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Virginia

University Marymount University, Forensic Computing B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $27,200 per year
Program link Program link

Forensic Computing guides students in the investigation of computer crimes and the preparation of evidence for use in a court of law. Students are encouraged to intern in law enforcement organizations, such as local police departments and the FBI. This specialty covers topics required for the International Society of Forensic Computer Examiner’s Certified Computer Examiner certification. Students are also encouraged to minor in Criminal Justice. The core modules are:

  • Principles of Accounting I
  • The Criminal Justice System
  • Policing in American Society
  • Cybercrime and Digital Terrorism
  • Computer Forensics

Information technology drives innovation in health care, the sciences, engineering, business, entertainment, and education. Classes emphasize hands-on learning, and courses are aligned with industry certifications such as CompTIA’s A+ , Net+ , and Security+ . If you’re looking for a career with staying power, consider information technology. In addition, to learning the fundamentals of the information technology discipline, students also choose a specialty area of study, including  Applied IT, Computer Science, Data Science, Forensic Computing, Health Information Technology, Information Systems, Interactive Media,  and Networking and Cybersecurity. Marymount undergraduates who wish to accelerate their progress toward completion of the Master of Science in Information Technology can apply for the pre-M.S. option. Students accepted into this competitive program begin their studies toward the M.S. in Information Technology while completing their bachelor’s degree in IT or another discipline with a minor in Information Technology. Students with a major or minor in Information Technology can supplement their undergraduate graduation requirements with up to 12 credits of specified graduate IT coursework during their senior year.

University Radford University, Forensic Anthropology Concentration B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $12,772 in-state; $22,046 out-of-state per year
Program link Program link

Students interested in specializing in Forensic Anthropology have the option of choosing a Forensic Anthropology Concentration. This preprofessional concentration prepares students for graduate-level study of recent unidentified human remains in a medicolegal context. In addition to the Required Anthropological Sciences Courses listed above, students in the Forensic Anthropology Concentration must complete some specific courses. The core modules are:

  • Introduction to Forensic Anthropology
  • Forensic Archaeology
  • Human Osteology
  • Advanced Forensic Anthropology
  • Anthropology of the Human Past
  • Principles of Archaeology
  • Principles of Biological Anthropology

Radford University is a comprehensive, midsize public university that is student-focused, providing its more than 9,900 students a diversity of outstanding academic programs. Well known for its strong faculty/student bonds, innovative use of technology in the learning environment and vibrant student life on a beautiful campus, Radford University offers many opportunities to get involved and succeed in and out of the classroom.

Radford University welcomes students from the Commonwealth of Virginia, across the country and around the world. Here, you will find inspiration in the surroundings – the manicured green lawns on campus, the steady roll of the New River, the wonders along the Blue Ridge Parkway, the stately university buildings and a quaint downtown. Radford’s more than 150 undergraduate and graduate programs offer every student the opportunity to discover new talents, develop leadership skills and experience personal growth.

University Virginia Commonwealth University, Forensic Investigation Concentration B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $23,680 per year
Program link Program link

The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice requires a minimum of 120 credits, including 39 credits in criminal justice courses. No more than half of the criminal justice courses applied to the major can be transferred from another college. Students must earn a total of 45 credits in classes at the 300-level and above, including upper-level criminal justice course work. To graduate from the criminal justice program, students must have a cumulative and major GPA of 2.0. The criminal justice curriculum includes the core and concentration requirements.

The major objective of this degree program is to prepare students for effective professional careers in criminal justice, forensic crime scene investigation, public service and other helping professions, and/or prepare them to pursue studies in law and other related graduate programs. Career opportunities are available in federal, state, local and private justice-related endeavors. These careers include law enforcement, crime scene investigation, juvenile justice, corrections and the courts.

This program also prepares students to enter law school or to pursue graduate studies in criminal justice or in several of the human services fields, usually related to justice. This program offers and encourages in-service justice employees and others to enhance their professional career development through higher education. The core modules are:

  • Focused Inquiry
  • Inquiry and the Craft of Argument
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Introduction to Corrections
  • Introduction to Policing
  • Criminological Theory
  • Research Methods in Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Senior Seminar
  • Principles of Criminal Investigation
  • Criminalistics and Crime Analysis
  • Crime Scene Evidence: Law and Trial Procedure
  • Violent Crime Scene Investigation

Students majoring in criminal justice receive a broad educational background, professionally oriented courses in their special area of interest and various skill courses designed to enhance their career opportunities. Through core courses and electives in the major, students have the opportunity to orient their course work to fit their educational objectives and career plans.

It is essential that students seek and follow the advice of an adviser in the progression of the core courses, the selection of criminal justice electives and in the identification of complementary courses in other disciplines that can benefit the student and assist in the accomplishment of career goals. Whether the student is interested in general criminal justice, policing, crime scene investigation, legal studies, juvenile justice or corrections, faculty and advisers can assist in identifying the appropriate curriculum.

This concentration is offered for those students who are interested in careers in crime scene investigation at the local, state or federal levels.

University Virginia Commonwealth University, Forensic Biology Concentration B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $23,680 per year
Program link Program link

The forensic science program requires a minimum of 120 credits including completion of the College of Humanities and Sciences general education requirements, 49-51 forensic science core program credits and 33 (forensic biology), 30 (forensic chemistry) or 31 (physical evidence) concentration-specific credits.

The major in forensic science leads to a Bachelor of Science degree and is for students who plan a career or graduate study in the forensic sciences. This specialization features a prescribed curriculum with academic emphasis in biology, chemistry and criminal justice.

The forensic science program provides students with fundamental learning in forensic laboratory analyses and crime scene investigation. The program offers three concentrations: forensic biology, forensic chemistry and physical evidence. Students will select one of the three concentrations prior to the second semester of their sophomore year.

The forensic biology concentration requires an additional 33 credits in biology, criminal justice, forensic science and elective credits beyond the core requirements and is well-suited for students interested in graduate study or careers in the forensic biology section of forensic laboratories. Students also will be prepared for work in molecular biology laboratories in both the public and private sectors. Students completing the forensic biology concentration will be eligible for a minor in chemistry. Additionally, students who complete BIOL 317 will be eligible for a minor in biology. The core modules are:

  • Introduction to Biological Science I and II
  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics
  • Introduction to Biology Laboratory I and II
  • Biology Capstone Laboratory
  • Survey of Forensic Science
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Forensic Microscopy
  • Forensic Evidence, Law and Criminal Procedure
  • Forensic Serology
  • Forensic Molecular Biology
  • Professional Practices in Forensic Science
  • General Chemistry

VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 222 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. VCU has a full-time instructional faculty of more than 2,100 who are nationally and internationally recognized for excellence in the arts, business, education, engineering, the humanities, the life sciences, social work and all the health care professions. With more than 20,000 employees, VCU and the VCU Health System also have a significant impact on Central Virginia’s economy.

uilding on the foundation of VCU’s nationally ranked academic programs and academic medical center, research and scholarly productivity, and engagement with the communities it serves, the university’s strategic plan, Quest for Distinction, launches a new vision for VCU: to elevate its stature and become the nation’s top urban, public research university. This focused plan capitalizes on the outstanding assets of the VCU experience and truly distinguishes VCU as a major research university committed to academic quality and student success at all levels.

Quest for Distinction also embodies VCU’s commitment to human health through the VCU Medical Center, which includes the university’s health sciences schools and offers state-of-the-art care in more than 200 specialty areas, many of national and international note, including organ transplantation, head and spinal cord trauma, burn healing and cancer treatment.

University Virginia Commonwealth University, Forensic Chemistry Concentration B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $23,680 per year
Program link Program link

The forensic science program requires a minimum of 120 credits including completion of the College of Humanities and Sciences general education requirements, 49-51 forensic science core program credits and 33 (forensic biology), 30 (forensic chemistry) or 31 (physical evidence) concentration-specific credits.

The major in forensic science leads to a Bachelor of Science degree and is for students who plan a career or graduate study in the forensic sciences. This specialization features a prescribed curriculum with academic emphasis in biology, chemistry and criminal justice.

The forensic science program provides students with fundamental learning in forensic laboratory analyses and crime scene investigation. The program offers three concentrations: forensic biology, forensic chemistry and physical evidence. Students will select one of the three concentrations prior to the second semester of their sophomore year:

The forensic chemistry concentration requires an additional 30 credits in chemistry, calculus, criminal justice, forensic science and elective credits beyond the core requirements and is offered for those students who are interested in graduate study or careers in the chemical analysis of forensic evidence, including the areas of drug analysis, toxicology and trace evidence analysis. Students also will be prepared for work in private analytical laboratories. Students completing the forensic chemistry concentration will be eligible for a minor in chemistry. The core modules are:

  • Introduction to Biological Science
  • General Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Instrumental Analysis
  • General Chemistry Laboratory I and II
  • Instrumental Analysis Laboratory
  • Scientific Crime Scene Investigation
  • Forensic Microscopy
  • Forensic Evidence, Law and Criminal Procedure
  • Forensic Chemistry
  • Forensic Chemistry Laboratory
  • Professional Practices in Forensic Science
  • Calculus with Analytical Geometry

VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 222 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. VCU has a full-time instructional faculty of more than 2,100 who are nationally and internationally recognized for excellence in the arts, business, education, engineering, the humanities, the life sciences, social work and all the health care professions. With more than 20,000 employees, VCU and the VCU Health System also have a significant impact on Central Virginia’s economy.

uilding on the foundation of VCU’s nationally ranked academic programs and academic medical center, research and scholarly productivity, and engagement with the communities it serves, the university’s strategic plan, Quest for Distinction, launches a new vision for VCU: to elevate its stature and become the nation’s top urban, public research university. This focused plan capitalizes on the outstanding assets of the VCU experience and truly distinguishes VCU as a major research university committed to academic quality and student success at all levels.

Quest for Distinction also embodies VCU’s commitment to human health through the VCU Medical Center, which includes the university’s health sciences schools and offers state-of-the-art care in more than 200 specialty areas, many of national and international note, including organ transplantation, head and spinal cord trauma, burn healing and cancer treatment.

University George Mason University, Forensic Science B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $10,370 in-state; $29,950 out-of-state per year
Program link Program link

Students planning professional careers in the field of forensic science should choose this degree. Students must fulfill all requirements for this bachelor’s degree including university general education requirements. In addition, students majoring in forensic science must complete the following courses with a minimum GPA of 2.30. No more than two courses with a grade of D (1.00) may be applied to the major. Through course work below, students satisfy the university-wide requirements in natural science and quantitative reasoning. Students who take FRSC 405 will satisfy this major’s writing-intensive requirement. This program of study is offered by the Forensic Science Program in the College of Science. The core modules are:

  • Survey of Forensic Science
  • Introduction to Criminalistics
  • Forensic Bio-trace
  • Forensic Evidence and Ethics
  • Forensic Chemistry and Microscopy
  • Independent Studies
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice

General Education at George Mason University is designed to complement work in a student’s chosen area of study. These classes serve as a means of discovery for students, providing a foundation for learning, connecting to potential new areas of interest and building tools for success in whatever field a student pursues. Learning outcomes are guided by the qualities every student should develop as they move toward graduating with a George Mason degree. Through a combination of courses, the general education program helps students to become:Students who have a love of and capacity for learning. Their understanding of fundamental principles in a variety of disciplines, and their mastery of quantitative and communication tools, enables them to think creatively and productively. They are inquisitive, open-minded, capable, informed, and able to integrate diverse bodies of knowledge and perspectives.Students who are able to discover and understand natural, physical, and social phenomena; who can articulate their application to real world challenges; and who approach problem-solving from various vantage points. They can demonstrate capability for inquiry, reason, and imagination and see connections in historical, literary and artistic fields.

Master’s Degree Programs in Virginia

University Marymount University, Forensic and Legal Psychology M.S.
Duration 24 months
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $20,400 per year
Program link Program link

Marymount is the first Washington, DC, area university to offer the Master of Arts in Forensic and Legal Psychology. And you can capitalize on the University’s alliances and proximity to key agencies important to study in this field – organizations such as the FBI (Including the NCAVC), NCIS, ATF, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. MU integrates the resources of such agencies through site visits, courtroom observations, field research, internships, and distinguished speakers.

The discipline of forensic and legal psychology is concerned with the application of psychological knowledge to the legal system. Marymount’s Forensic and Legal Psychology program is interdisciplinary and combines study in sociology, criminal justice, policy, and law, in addition to the many subfields of psychology. It addresses questions of value, such as how best to achieve fairness and justice in the American adversarial legal system, as well as empirical issues such as the origins of criminal behavior, problems with eyewitness testimony, evaluation of threats against public figures, personalities of political leaders, the origins of terrorism, evaluation and treatment of offenders, and the effectiveness of trial consultation. Each course incorporates an ethics component to encourage you to grapple with the extremely complicated issues involved in a career in forensic and legal psychology. The core modules are:

  • Bases of Psychopathology
  • Research Methods
  • Statistics
  • Legal and Investigative Psychology
  • Issues in the American Legal System
  • Death Penalty and Its Mitigation
  • Wrongful Convictions: Case Analysis
  • Field Experience in Criminal Court
  • Psychology, Social Policy and Law
  • Psychology of Criminal Behavior
  • Psychology of Sexual Violence and Exploitation
  • Victims of Interpersonal Violence
  • Forensic Assessment

Psi Chi is the National Honor Society in Psychology, founded in 1929 for the purpose of encouraging, stimulating, and maintaining excellence in scholarship and advancing the science of psychology. Membership is open to undergraduate and graduate men and women who make the study of psychology one of their main interests and who meet the academic qualifications. The Psychology Club broadens the student body’s awareness of psychology and mental health issues through community service, outreach, and various activities. Meetings are publicized on campus and membership is open to the entire student body.

University Virginia Commonwealth University, Forensic Biology M.S.
Duration 24 months
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $11,904 per year
Program link Program link

 

In addition to the M.S. in Forensic Science general admission requirements, applicants to the forensic biology track should have a minimum of nine semester credits or equivalent of upper-level course work in the biological or biochemical sciences. This may include, but is not limited to, courses in cell biology, general biochemistry, genetics and/or molecular biology. The core modules are:

  • Scientific Crime Scene Investigation
  • Advanced Forensic DNA Analysis
  • Population Genetics
  • Forensic Evidence and Criminal Procedure
  • Instrumentation in Forensic Chemistry
  • Forensic Microscopy
  • Forensic Serology and DNA Analysis
  • Forensic Serology and DNA Analysis Laboratory
  • Professional Practices and Expert Testimony
  • Directed Research in Forensic Science

VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 222 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. VCU has a full-time instructional faculty of more than 2,100 who are nationally and internationally recognized for excellence in the arts, business, education, engineering, the humanities, the life sciences, social work and all the health care professions. With more than 20,000 employees, VCU and the VCU Health System also have a significant impact on Central Virginia’s economy.VCU and the VCU Health System have been honored with prestigious national and international recognition for top-quality graduate, professional and medical-care programs, reflecting a commitment to be among America’s top research universities focused on student learning.

The following requirements are in addition to those described for graduate programs in the School of Graduate Studies and the College of Humanities and Sciences. Students must complete a minimum of 42 graduate semester credits as outlined in the accompanying list of core and track requirements, including electives. Maintenance of an ongoing, cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above is required while enrolled. Courses below the 500 level will not count toward degree requirements. Receipt of a grade of C in two or more courses will constitute an automatic dismissal from the graduate program in forensic science. Receipt of a grade of D or lower in any one course will constitute an automatic dismissal from the graduate program in forensic science. Continuous, full-time enrollment in the graduate program is required. Interruption in continuous enrollment or full-time status for any reason without a leave of absence approved by the Forensic Science Graduate Committee will require that students reapply to the program. Request for credit for graduate course work taken at other institutions must be submitted to the director of graduate studies in forensic science and will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Forensic Science Graduate Committee. If course work deficiencies are identified, students may be required to take additional foundational courses beyond those listed below. These will not count toward the 42 required credits.

University Virginia Commonwealth University, Forensic Chemistry/Drugs and Toxicology M.S.
Duration 24 months
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $11,904 per year
Program link Program link

In addition to the M.S. in Forensic Science general admission requirements, applicants to the forensic chemistry/drugs and toxicology track should have a minimum of nine semester credits or equivalent of upper-level chemistry or biochemistry course work. This may include, but is not limited to, courses in physical chemistry, instrumental analysis, quantitative analysis, pharmacology and/or general biochemistry. The core modules are:

  • Forensic Toxicology
  • Forensic Medicine
  • Scientific Crime Scene Investigation
  • Advanced Drug Analysis
  • Forensic Evidence and Criminal Procedure
  • Instrumentation in Forensic Chemistry
  • Forensic Microscopy
  • Forensic Serology and DNA Analysis
  • Forensic Serology and DNA Analysis Laboratory
  • Professional Practices and Expert Testimony
  • Directed Research in Forensic Science

VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 222 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. VCU has a full-time instructional faculty of more than 2,100 who are nationally and internationally recognized for excellence in the arts, business, education, engineering, the humanities, the life sciences, social work and all the health care professions. With more than 20,000 employees, VCU and the VCU Health System also have a significant impact on Central Virginia’s economy.VCU and the VCU Health System have been honored with prestigious national and international recognition for top-quality graduate, professional and medical-care programs, reflecting a commitment to be among America’s top research universities focused on student learning.

The following requirements are in addition to those described for graduate programs in the School of Graduate Studies and the College of Humanities and Sciences. Students must complete a minimum of 42 graduate semester credits as outlined in the accompanying list of core and track requirements, including electives. Maintenance of an ongoing, cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above is required while enrolled. Courses below the 500 level will not count toward degree requirements. Receipt of a grade of C in two or more courses will constitute an automatic dismissal from the graduate program in forensic science. Receipt of a grade of D or lower in any one course will constitute an automatic dismissal from the graduate program in forensic science. Continuous, full-time enrollment in the graduate program is required. Interruption in continuous enrollment or full-time status for any reason without a leave of absence approved by the Forensic Science Graduate Committee will require that students reapply to the program. Request for credit for graduate course work taken at other institutions must be submitted to the director of graduate studies in forensic science and will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Forensic Science Graduate Committee. If course work deficiencies are identified, students may be required to take additional foundational courses beyond those listed below. These will not count toward the 42 required credits.

University Virginia Commonwealth University, Forensic Chemistry/Trace Evidence M.S.
Duration 24 months
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $11,904 per year
Program link Program link

In addition to the M.S. in Forensic Science general admission requirements, applicants to the forensic chemistry/trace track should have a minimum of nine semester credits or equivalent of upper-level chemistry course work. This may include, but is not limited to, courses in physical chemistry, instrumental analysis, quantitative analysis and/or inorganic chemistry. The core modules are:

  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Analysis of Fire Debris and Explosives
  • Forensic Analysis of Paints and Polymers
  • Forensic Evidence and Criminal Procedure
  • Instrumentation in Forensic Chemistry
  • Forensic Microscopy
  • Forensic Serology and DNA Analysis
  • Forensic Serology and DNA Analysis Laboratory
  • Professional Practices and Expert Testimony
  • Directed Research in Forensic Science

VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 222 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. VCU has a full-time instructional faculty of more than 2,100 who are nationally and internationally recognized for excellence in the arts, business, education, engineering, the humanities, the life sciences, social work and all the health care professions. With more than 20,000 employees, VCU and the VCU Health System also have a significant impact on Central Virginia’s economy.VCU and the VCU Health System have been honored with prestigious national and international recognition for top-quality graduate, professional and medical-care programs, reflecting a commitment to be among America’s top research universities focused on student learning.

The following requirements are in addition to those described for graduate programs in the School of Graduate Studies and the College of Humanities and Sciences. Students must complete a minimum of 42 graduate semester credits as outlined in the accompanying list of core and track requirements, including electives. Maintenance of an ongoing, cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above is required while enrolled. Courses below the 500 level will not count toward degree requirements. Receipt of a grade of C in two or more courses will constitute an automatic dismissal from the graduate program in forensic science. Receipt of a grade of D or lower in any one course will constitute an automatic dismissal from the graduate program in forensic science. Continuous, full-time enrollment in the graduate program is required. Interruption in continuous enrollment or full-time status for any reason without a leave of absence approved by the Forensic Science Graduate Committee will require that students reapply to the program. Request for credit for graduate course work taken at other institutions must be submitted to the director of graduate studies in forensic science and will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Forensic Science Graduate Committee. If course work deficiencies are identified, students may be required to take additional foundational courses beyond those listed below. These will not count toward the 42 required credits.

University Virginia Commonwealth University, Forensic Physical Evidence M.S.
Duration 24 months
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $11,904 per year
Program link Program link

In addition to the M.S. in Forensic Science general admission requirements, applicants to the forensic physical evidence track should have a minimum of nine semester credits or equivalent of upper-level science course work. This may include, but is not limited to, courses in the areas of biology, chemistry, physics or biochemistry. The core modules are:

  • Scientific Crime Scene Investigation
  • Analysis of Pattern Evidence
  • Firearm and Toolmark Identification
  • Forensic Evidence and Criminal Procedure
  • Instrumentation in Forensic Chemistry
  • Forensic Microscopy
  • Forensic Serology and DNA Analysis
  • Forensic Serology and DNA Analysis Laboratory
  • Professional Practices and Expert Testimony
  • Directed Research in Forensic Science

VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 222 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. VCU has a full-time instructional faculty of more than 2,100 who are nationally and internationally recognized for excellence in the arts, business, education, engineering, the humanities, the life sciences, social work and all the health care professions. With more than 20,000 employees, VCU and the VCU Health System also have a significant impact on Central Virginia’s economy.VCU and the VCU Health System have been honored with prestigious national and international recognition for top-quality graduate, professional and medical-care programs, reflecting a commitment to be among America’s top research universities focused on student learning.

The following requirements are in addition to those described for graduate programs in the School of Graduate Studies and the College of Humanities and Sciences. Students must complete a minimum of 42 graduate semester credits as outlined in the accompanying list of core and track requirements, including electives. Maintenance of an ongoing, cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above is required while enrolled. Courses below the 500 level will not count toward degree requirements. Receipt of a grade of C in two or more courses will constitute an automatic dismissal from the graduate program in forensic science. Receipt of a grade of D or lower in any one course will constitute an automatic dismissal from the graduate program in forensic science. Continuous, full-time enrollment in the graduate program is required. Interruption in continuous enrollment or full-time status for any reason without a leave of absence approved by the Forensic Science Graduate Committee will require that students reapply to the program. Request for credit for graduate course work taken at other institutions must be submitted to the director of graduate studies in forensic science and will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Forensic Science Graduate Committee. If course work deficiencies are identified, students may be required to take additional foundational courses beyond those listed below. These will not count toward the 42 required credits.

University George Mason University, Forensic Science M.S.
Duration 24 months
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $9,460 in-state; $22,348 out-of-state per year
Program link Program link

The interdisciplinary MS program in Forensic Science is designed to train students in the technical and legal aspects of the field, and it is especially relevant for the many area professionals holding positions in government and private laboratories specializing in the analytical investigation of criminal and terrorist activities. Graduates will be qualified to work in high-technology forensics laboratories that analyze and interpret a wide variety of evidence and data in support of investigations and prosecutions. The demand for graduates with these skills is especially strong in the Northern VA region, where several new FBI and police forensics labs are being built or expanded.
The 33 credit curriculum outlined below has been designed to meet accreditation standards. Students enrolled in this professional MS program are charged at a differential (premium) tuition rate, and therefore they may not enroll concurrently in any other graduate degree program or certificate program offered by COS, with the exception of the graduate certificate program in Forensics. However students enrolled in academic programs outside COS may enroll in this certificate program concurrently. The core modules are:

  • Introduction to Forensic Science
  • Basic Crime Analysis
  • Forensic Criminal Law
  • Forensic Chemistry
  • Introduction to Biochemical Forensics
  • Forensics Capstone Course
  • Forensic Seminar

Students enrolled in this professional MS program are charged at a differential (premium) tuition rate, and therefore they may not enroll concurrently in any other graduate degree program or certificate program offered by COS, with the exception of the graduate certificate program in forensics. However students enrolled in academic programs outside COS may enroll in this certificate program concurrently.Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in the Admission section of this catalog. Applicants to the Forensic Science, MS program should hold a BA or BS degree in a related field from an accredited university with a minimum GPA of 3.00. Applicants should submit the a completed GMU graduate application, three letters of recommendation, two copies of official transcripts from each institution of higher learning attended, a current resume, a Virginia Domicile Classification form, and an official report of TOEFL (foreign nationals only). The MS program in forensic science requires a total of 33 credit hours, comprising traditional 3-credit lecture courses (many with laboratory components), a seminar course, and a research project or thesis. The coursework is divided into forensics core courses and forensics electives. Students must complete 17 credits of core courses and 12 credits of forensic science electives, in addition to a 4 credit research project or thesis.

An important element of the program is the “Forensics Capstone Course,” in which students combine their skills as members of multidisciplinary investigation teams in order to analyze “real world” crime scenes. This course will demonstrate in practice how students combine skills in the scientific/quantitative analysis and legal/anthropological areas to understand the nuances of the evidence presented at an actual crime scene. Waivers of specific course requirements will be considered for students who have taken equivalent courses elsewhere or have substantial practical experience in the subject areas covered by the particular course.

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oklahoma forensic science degree

Forensic Science

Forensic science combines science and investigation in order to aid and support  the prosecution or defense in criminal and civil investigations. While the profession has been widely romanticized by various TV shows, make no mistake – this job is most likely different that you expect.  In contrast with popular perception, this is a highly scientific role, which often involves detailed, painstaking work. Field duties are limited to a few areas of expertise, and most often than not a forensic scientist will spend his time in the lab.

If you made it this far, though, congratulations! You’re taking the first steps in joining a very rewarding profession and itsGOV is here to guide you through what you need to know and what you need to do to join a forensic science program in Oklahoma.

Depending on the type of forensic science practiced, different degrees and educational backgrounds may help a candidate get a job and excel in this field. Regarding formal education, requirements vary across jobs, but you should definitely have a solid background in mathematics, biology and chemistry.

The National Institute of Justice, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, offers guidelines for model undergraduate and graduate forensic science degree programs. According to the American Academy of Forensic Science, strong programs should offer a curriculum that concentrates on scientific writing, laboratory skills, public speaking, and computer software application training.

 

Forensic Science Requirements in Oklahoma

After obtaining the right education and training candidates will be prepared to search the competitive market for forensic science jobs in Oklahoma. Employers in the field include:

  • Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation’s Forensic Science Services
  • Norman Police Department’s Investigation Division’s Crime Lab
  • Tulsa Police Department’s Forensic Laboratory
  • Laboratory and Support Services Division of the Oklahoma City Police Department’s Investigations Bureau

Each agency in Oklahoma that employs forensic scientists will have their own hiring standards. As a comparison, the State Bureau of Investigation requires its entry-level Criminalists to have at least a bachelor’s degree in any of the above subject areas, with increasingly stringent education and experience requirements for higher level positions.

There are a number of forensic science schools and colleges in Oklahoma that offer degree programs in these relevant fields, with additional opportunities online.

Forensic Science Training in Oklahoma

Often times the evidence obtained from laboratory work that is presented by forensic scientists is the determining factor in a verdict made by a judge or jury. Using technology that was not available a decade ago, forensic scientists are also responsible for causing cases to be overturned or arrests to be made in cold cases.

Last year in Oklahoma there were 200 forensic science technicians working across the region who made an average yearly salary of $59,170. Candidates who are interested in this career field will find that when looking into how to become a forensic scientist in Oklahoma, certain requirements are common among all hiring agencies- namely an education.

What started out as a training exercise turned into one of the more bizarre cases Oklahoma forensic scientists have recently encountered. Forensic pathologists and anthropologists were called to the scene when highway patrol troopers discovered two rusting cars submerged in a reservoir after testing new sonar equipment. Even more surprising was the discovery of human remains of up to six people in the side-by-side cars manufactured in 1952 and 1969. Forensic scientists usually deal with remains that are not much more than a day or two old, and in unusual cases weeks or months. Because this case involves identifying human remains that have been submerged for decades, forensic scientists will need to use every strategy they have to glean any possible clues from the gathered evidence.

Although the models and makes of the cars has narrowed down the victims to two likely cases of disappeared parties, determining the causes of death and the surrounding circumstances will prove to be a far greater challenge to forensic scientists.

Forensic Science Salary in Oklahoma

The field of forensic sciences is growing rapidly in Oklahoma.  The state’s Employment Security Commission projects job growth of 20.33% from 2008 to 2018.  According the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), two hundred forensic science technicians were employed in the state in 2012.

The 2013 starting salary of one such position in the state was $59,721.  This was for a criminalist III level job that entailed having two years of experience as a forensic laboratory criminalist.

There are a number of forensic labs in Oklahoma.  The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) alone has five labs throughout the state located in the following cities:

  • Edmond
  • Enid
  • Lawton
  • McAlester
  • Tahlequah

In addition to their work in the lab, a number of forensic scientists specialize in processing crime scenes.  These crimes scene investigators (CSIs) document the scene of the crime and collect physical evidence.

CSIs positions can be filled by either sworn officers or by civilians.  A number of law enforcement agencies in Oklahoma, including the Oklahoma City Police Department, are switching to hiring civilian CSIs.  In this city, they are known as civilian investigation specialists or CISs.

The salaries of CSIs vary a great deal, depending on their level of education and expertise.  According to Indeed.com, the average crime scene investigator position in Oklahoma paid $52,000 in the year preceding October 2013.

Forensic Science Schools and Colleges in Oklahoma

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Oklahoma

University University of Central Oklahoma, Forensic Science B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $30,464 per year
Program link Program link

The Forensic Science undergraduate degree program is one component of a concurrent degree program. Students must declare a major in addition to Forensic Science. Students will satisfy all requirements in an existing undergraduate program at UCO and, at the same time, complete requirements for a concurrent degree in Forensic Science. There are two primary mechanisms for earning the Forensic Science degree:

(A) To earn a degree in Forensic Science, students must satisfy all requirements in an existing undergraduate program at UCO and concurrently complete 30 - 36 required hours in one of the Forensic Science Program tracks. In addition, students earning a concurrent degree must complete a minimum of 139 credit hours with 30 unique hours in each major. Students earning a concurrent degree will receive two diplomas. (B) A student possessing an appropriate undergraduate degree can obtain an additional degree in Forensic Science by meeting the admission standards at UCO and completing 30-36 hours in one of the Forensic Science Program tracks. The core modules are:

  • Topics in Forensic Science
  • Behavioral Aspects of Crime Scenes
  • Digital Evidence
  • DNA for Crime Scene Investigators
  • Wildlife Forensics
  • Forensic Interviewing
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Crime Scene Reconstruction
  • Forensic Archaeology
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Forensic Toxicology
  • Forensic Molecular Biology
  • Forensic Serology
  • Firearm and Toolmark Analysis

The processes by which human remains are scattered and destroyed by mammalian vertebrate scavenging behaviors are significant to forensic death investigations, in terms of focusing search techniques, improving remains recovery, and contributing to more timely and successful case resolution. This study utilized domestic pig (Sus scrofa) carcasses as human analogues, placed at a wildlife conservation area during three seasons, to assess members of the scavenger guild of the area, their associated behavior, and related effects on remains to address these issues. Carcasses were observed by digital video, motion triggered game cameras, and site visits. Biological radio telemetry transmitters, which are typically used to track living wildlife, were implanted in carcasses to assess long distance movement of skeletal elements. It was shown that there were three main participants in the vertebrate scavenger guild, the coyote (Canis latrans), the Virginia opossum (Didelphis viriginiana), and the bobcat (Lynx rufus). Each of these species left unique taphonomic identifiers on carcasses. They also contributed significantly to the destruction and dispersal of skeletal elements. There were clear patterns in time of carcass acquisition, tissues consumed by each species, and the subsequent dispersal of elements caused by each activity. Mammalian scavenging drastically increased time to skeletonization, which has the potential to lead to inaccurate estimations of post-deposition/post-mortem interval using current techniques. Further research is needed to understand if these patterns are similar in human adult remains and other ecoregions.

Master’s Degree Programs in Oklahoma

University University of Central Oklahoma, Forensic Psychology M.A.
Duration 24 months
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $18,240 per year
Program link Program link

The M.S. Forensic Science degree and the M.S. Forensic Science-Biology/Chemistry degree are research-oriented, thesis-required graduate degree programs. Students must complete a minimum of 36 hours of graduate level work including required core courses, electives, and 6 hours of thesis research in their major area. The Forensic Science Practicum (3 credit hours) will involve a field experience requiring a substantial time commitment (120 hours) in a setting selected by the instructor of record in conjunction with the Practicum student. The student desiring to enroll in the Practicum must work with the instructor well in advance of the beginning of the Practicum as there is often a significant time requirement to meet with the Practicum site host, complete appropriate paperwork (which may include background checks), establish a report date, work out a Practicum work schedule, and complete administrative requirements. This process may take as long as three months. This syllabus gives general information and each host site will have specific requirements. The core modules are:

  • Crime Scene Reconstruction
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Forensic Toxicology & Lab
  • Forensic Molecular Biology & Lab
  • Forensic Serology & Lab
  • Firearm and Toolmark
  • Bloodstain Pattern Analysis
  • Forensic Arson Investigation
  • Digital Forensics
  • Forensic Chemistry and Lab
  • Forensic Microscopy and Lab
  • Adv. Firearm Analysis and Toolmark & Lab
  • Advanced Forensic DNA Analysis
  • Digital Forensics for Tools & Analysis
  • Forensic Pharmacology
  • Seminar in Forensic Science

The Forensic Psychology major prepares students for careers in intelligence analysis and criminal investigation at
the local, state, and federal levels of law enforcement. The program emphasizes scientific research in experimental psychology and applications to forensics issues. This is a non-clinical program that trains students in quantitative methods of scientific inquiry. The Forensic Psychology major requires a minimum of 49
graduate credit hours. In addition to the core courses required for all Psychology M.A. students, a student exercising the Forensic Psychology major must also enroll in the Forensic Psychology course work and additional course work as required by the advisory committee. A student enrolled in this major must submit a thesis in partial fulfillment of their degree requirements. The student’s advisory committee, with the addition of one faculty member from outside the department, will constitute the reading committee for the master’s thesis.
The member from outside the department will, at the request of the student, be appointed by the graduate dean along with confirmation of the total committee as the thesis is begun. The master’s thesis is a research project which has the potential for publication in a psychological journal. For clarification of what qualifies as research in the field of psychology and for matters of concern regarding the design and reporting of research, the student is referred to the publication manual of the American Psychological Association.

1

south_carolina forensic science degree

Forensic Science

Forensic science combines science and investigation in order to aid and support  the prosecution or defense in criminal and civil investigations. While the profession has been widely romanticized by various TV shows, make no mistake – this job is most likely different that you expect.  In contrast with popular perception, this is a highly scientific role, which often involves detailed, painstaking work. Field duties are limited to a few areas of expertise, and most often than not a forensic scientist will spend his time in the lab.

If you made it this far, though, congratulations! You’re taking the first steps in joining a very rewarding profession and itsGOV is here to guide you through what you need to know and what you need to do to join a forensic science program in South Carolina.

Depending on the type of forensic science practiced, different degrees and educational backgrounds may help a candidate get a job and excel in this field. Regarding formal education, requirements vary across jobs, but you should definitely have a solid background in mathematics, biology and chemistry.

The National Institute of Justice, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, offers guidelines for model undergraduate and graduate forensic science degree programs. According to the American Academy of Forensic Science, strong programs should offer a curriculum that concentrates on scientific writing, laboratory skills, public speaking, and computer software application training.

Forensic Science Requirements in South Carolina

Forensic science specialists working in South Carolina play an important role in securing criminal convictions and taking dangerous persons off the streets. Earning an average of $44,750 last year, South Dakota’s forensic technicians also testified in court to explain their analysis of evidence when requested to do so by either the defense or prosecution. South Carolina has a highly competitive market for forensic science jobs, which are available to qualified candidates who possess the right combination of education and experience.

Forensic scientists commonly work in a lab environment with the following agencies across the state:

  • South Carolina Law Enforcement Division located in Columbia
  • Forensic Division of the Greenville County Department of Public Safety
  • Forensic Services Unit of the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, serving county locations including Charleston and North Charleston

Forensic Science Training in South Carolina

Due in part to the popularization of the forensic science field on television, jobs in this field tend to be competitive. Having a forensic science degree or majoring in a related field can help candidates be better prepared to go head-to-head with their competition.

An associate degree in any of the following fields can mean a leg up in the application process, and having a bachelor’s degree will give candidates a greater level of expertise and career mobility:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Genetics
  • Criminalistics
  • Biochemistry

The requirements for how to become a forensic scientist in South Carolina have some variation depending on the hiring agency. For example, working as an entry-level forensic technician with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division requires at least a high-school diploma and either lab or information management experience, while working as a criminalist with the same agency requires a high school diploma and law enforcement experience, with the option to substitute a bachelor’s degree in any field for the law enforcement experience requirement.

In 1961 a Columbia taxi driver was found robbed and shot in the head. One month later a suspect was arrested in Tennessee on unrelated charges and police discovered he had a gun that matched the caliber and probably the model of the gun that was used in the Columbia murder, but ballistics tests at the time were unable to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt.

More than three decades later a chance encounter between one of the victim’s family members and investigators prompted the case to be re-opened, and using modern technology and ballistic analysis methods, forensic scientists were able to determine conclusively that the man arrested in Tennessee was indeed in possession of the murder weapon. 41 years later, the suspect in the case received a life sentence for the killing.

 

Forensic Science Salary in South Carolina

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the eighty forensic science technicians employed in South Carolina made an average annual salary of $44,570 in 2012.  Experienced professionals in the 90th percentile made $70,790 that year on average.

South Carolina Works Online Service provides this information from 2012 for two workforce regions in the state.  Forensic science technicians in these areas made the following amounts on average:

  • Midlands:  $33,461
  • Trident:  $41,693

The wages for these types of jobs have been increasing substantially in South Carolina in recent years according to an analysis of the wages of new jobs advertised online.  From June 2007 to January 2008, the advertised wages increased by 63%.

Salary information for 2013 is available for a forensic scientist position in the state.  A forensic technician II – toxicology made from $25,627 to $47,412 in Richland County.

While many forensic scientists work in the lab, others work in the field processing crime scene evidence.  Such crime scene investigator (CSI) positions can be comprised of sworn officers or civilians, depending on the department.  According to Indeed.com, the average CSI in South Carolina made $53,000 in the year leading up to October 2013.

Forensic Science Schools and Colleges in South Carolina

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in South Carolina

University University of South Carolina Upstate, Forensic Science Concentration B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $22,467 per year
Program link Program link

The Division of Natural Sciences and Engineering (NSE) offers Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees in Biology, Chemistry, and Engineering Technology Management. A Forensic Science Concentration is an option for Chemistry majors. Minors are offered in Biology and in Chemistry. In addition, NSE offers many Pre-Professional Options as advisement tracks such as pre-medicine, pre-physical therapy, pre-optometry, and pre-pharmacy. Courses are offered in the areas of astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology, and physics to support NSE majors and general education. A variety of undergraduate research opportunities and internships are also supported. The core modules are:

  • Mathematics and Natural Sciences
  • Arson Investigation
  •  Evidence
  •  Criminalistics
  •  Aspects of Forensic Psychology
  •  Psychopathology and Criminality
  •  Medicolegal Death Investigation
  •  Introduction to Biometrics
  •  Cybercrimes
  •  Forensic Biology

University of South Carolina Upstate aims to become one of the Southeast’s leading “metropolitan” universities … a university that acknowledges as its fundamental reason for being its relationship to expanding populations along the I-85 corridor.  It aims to be recognized nationally among its peer metropolitan institutions for its excellence in education and commitment to its students, for its involvement in the Upstate, and for the clarity and integrity of its metropolitan mission.

As a senior public institution of the University of South Carolina with a comprehensive residential campus in Spartanburg and commuting and degree completion operations at the University Center of Greenville, the University’s primary responsibilities are to offer baccalaureate education to the citizens of the Upstate of South Carolina and to offer selected master’s degrees in response to regional demand.

Master’s Degree Programs in South Carolina

There are currently no master’s degrees programs offered in South Carolina.

 

0

tennessee forensic science degree

Forensic Science

Forensic science combines science and investigation in order to aid and support  the prosecution or defense in criminal and civil investigations. While the profession has been widely romanticized by various TV shows, make no mistake – this job is most likely different that you expect.  In contrast with popular perception, this is a highly scientific role, which often involves detailed, painstaking work. Field duties are limited to a few areas of expertise, and most often than not a forensic scientist will spend his time in the lab.

If you made it this far, though, congratulations! You’re taking the first steps in joining a very rewarding profession and itsGOV is here to guide you through what you need to know and what you need to do to join a forensic science program in Tennessee.

Depending on the type of forensic science practiced, different degrees and educational backgrounds may help a candidate get a job and excel in this field. Regarding formal education, requirements vary across jobs, but you should definitely have a solid background in mathematics, biology and chemistry.

The National Institute of Justice, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, offers guidelines for model undergraduate and graduate forensic science degree programs. According to the American Academy of Forensic Science, strong programs should offer a curriculum that concentrates on scientific writing, laboratory skills, public speaking, and computer software application training.

 

Forensic Science Requirements in Tennessee

Forensic scientists are intricately involved in the criminal justice process across Tennessee. Last year these specialists assisted in resolving many of the state’s crimes:

  • 409 murders
  • Nearly 2,000 rapes
  • Over 1,000 cases of arson
  • 8,170 robberies

Using the most advanced techniques and technology, forensic scientists work in a laboratory environment to examine clues gathered by detectives and CSI agents at crime scenes. Researching the process and learning how to become a forensic scientist in Tennessee will illuminate the need for higher education that will prepare candidates to make a competitive bid for forensic science jobs.

Some of the primary employers of forensic scientists in the state include:

  • Murfreesboro Police Department’s Crime Scene Unit
  • Hamilton County Forensic Center serving Chattanooga
  • The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Forensic Services Division operates three regional crime labs:
    • Central Laboratory in Nashville
    • Regional Laboratory in Knoxville
    • Regional Laboratory in Memphis

Forensic Science Training in Tennessee

Every forensic agency has its own hiring requirements, but having the right education is a common prerequisite across the state. For example, to become a forensic technician with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, candidates need to possess a high school diploma as well as either two years of highly relevant work experience or an associate’s degree from an accredited college.

The three state crime labs located strategically across the region have certain specializations which provide an idea of the variety of tasks in which forensic scientists participate:

  • Nashville Crime Laboratory: Here forensic scientists work in:
    • Firearms identification unit
    • Latent print unit
    • Microanalysis unit
  • Memphis Regional Crime Laboratory: Forensic scientists participate in:
    • Serology/DNA unit
    • Evidence receiving unit
    • Violent crime response team
  • Knoxville Regional Crime Laboratory: In this lab forensic scientists participate in:
    • Drug chemistry unit
    • Toxicology unit:
      • Blood alcohol
      • Breath alcohol
      • Drug toxicology

In a recent case that demonstrates the importance of forensic scientists, a Clarksville pizza store robbery suspect was identified after forensic scientists discovered his fingerprints on a stolen safe-deposit bag. Detectives caught up with the alleged perpetrator and conducted an interview that determined his fingerprints were not coincidentally on the bag, and subsequently placed him under arrest.

This is an example of a relatively easy forensic case. Experts must regularly resort to DNA analysis and trace evidence examination to determine any leads in a case or secure a conviction. When they are not working in the lab, forensic scientists may also be called to the witness stand to provide expert testimony in criminal cases.

Forensic Science Salary in Tennessee

According to Tennessee’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development, there were 200 forensic science technicians employed in the state in 2008.  They project that ten positions will become available a year in the period of 2008 to 2018.  They also provided the median salary of the professionals who hold these positions.

It is listed below:

  • Tennessee statewide:  $43,620
  • Chattanooga:  $29,200

This occupational category includes both forensic lab technicians, who work primarily in crime labs, and crime scene investigators (CSIs) who work in the field processing evidence from crime scenes for storage and further analysis.

There are a number of crime labs in Tennessee that hire forensic scientists as technicians.  The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) Forensics Sciences Division has three crime labs throughout the state.  They are located in the following cities:

  • Knoxville
  • Memphis
  • Nashville

Employees of these labs work for the state of Tennessee.  A forensic technician for the state earned from $31,332 to $50,124 in 2013.

Some special agents of the TBI receive forensic training.  Their wages in 2013 were as follows:

  • special agent forensic scientist I:  $45,324 – $70,320
  • special agent forensic scientist II:  $49,500 – $76,788

A crime scene investigator position can employ either civilians or enlisted personnel, depending on the department.  A number of the CSIs in Tennessee are law enforcement officers.

For instance, a Tennessee state trooper received official certification as a CSI from the International Association of Identification (IAI) in 2013.  The department hopes to have more troopers obtain this certification.  The salaries for state troopers ranged from $34,032 to $50,580 a year in 2013.

Forensic Science Schools and Colleges in Tennessee

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Tennessee

University King University, Forensic Science B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $24,911 per year
Program link Program link

As a forensic scientist, you will use your scientific skill for the good of society, public health, and public safety. Because of the extreme breadth of skills a forensic scientist needs, courses in this major focus on chemistry and biology as well as ethics, law, statistics, psychology, communications, and mathematics.

You will learn about the scientific method, statistics, and how to make courtroom presentations. The courses will also prepare you to pursue your choice of postgraduate programs in forensics where you could get the training you need to become a medical examiner, psychological profiler, or forensic specialist.

Outside the classroom our students join Northeast State Community College criminal justice students to investigate mock crime scenes. The core modules are:

  • Criminalistic practitioner
  • Jurisprudence (philosophy of law)
  • Odontology (forensic dentistry)
  • Pathology/Biology
  • Physical Anthropology
  • Document analysis
  • Toxology

The Forensic Science degree provides you with a number of options for careers and for further study. You can go to graduate school, medical school, or dental school. Forensic scientists work in crime laboratories, forensic laboratories, police departments, medical examiner/coroner offices, hospitals, government agencies, and private laboratories.

Possibilities in Forensic Science are expanding-crime scene technicians, forensic molecular biologists, toxicologists, and crime scene analysts are just a few of the options available.

Master’s Degree Programs in Tennessee

There are currently no master’s programs offered in Tennessee.

0

vermont forensic science degree

Forensic Science

Forensic science combines science and investigation in order to aid and support  the prosecution or defense in criminal and civil investigations. While the profession has been widely romanticized by various TV shows, make no mistake – this job is most likely different that you expect.  In contrast with popular perception, this is a highly scientific role, which often involves detailed, painstaking work. Field duties are limited to a few areas of expertise, and most often than not a forensic scientist will spend his time in the lab.

If you made it this far, though, congratulations! You’re taking the first steps in joining a very rewarding profession and itsGOV is here to guide you through what you need to know and what you need to do to join a forensic science program in Vermont.

Depending on the type of forensic science practiced, different degrees and educational backgrounds may help a candidate get a job and excel in this field. Regarding formal education, requirements vary across jobs, but you should definitely have a solid background in mathematics, biology and chemistry.

The National Institute of Justice, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, offers guidelines for model undergraduate and graduate forensic science degree programs. According to the American Academy of Forensic Science, strong programs should offer a curriculum that concentrates on scientific writing, laboratory skills, public speaking, and computer software application training.

 

Forensic Science Requirements in Vermont

Forensic scientists are crucial to a well functioning criminal justice system, as they often are responsible for providing the evidence that determines a defendant’s guilt or innocence. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for forensic scientists is good. The 13,000 forensic scientist jobs in the U.S. in 2010 are expected to increase by 19 percent, by 2020.

Job specialties for forensic scientists in Vermont include the following:

  • Forensic Scientist
  • Ballistics Expert/Technician
  • Ballistician
  • Crime Lab Technician
  • Laboratory Analyst
  • Crime Scene Analyst

Forensic Science Training in Vermont

The first step toward getting a forensic science job in Vermont is to earn a bachelor’s degree. There is one school in Vermont that has a bachelor’s degree program in forensic science from which nine students graduated in the 2008-09 school year.

In addition to a solid background in chemistry, biology and math, forensic sciences must have knowledge of scientific rules/methods, the English language, word processing, record keeping and report writing. The following personal characteristics are also needed for a successful career:

  • Persistence
  • Patience
  • Critical thinking
  • Detail-oriented
  • Active listener
  • Able to tolerate stress
  • Ethical
  • Independent
  • Self-controlled

Employers of forensic scientists include government offices and insurance companies. Although entry-level salaries are often low, there is a potential for significant increases with five or more years of experience. Salaries also vary with location.

Working forensic scientists can increase their potential for advancement and salary increases by attaining professional certification.

The American Board of Criminalists offers certification in comprehensive criminalistics, as well as in special disciplines such as drug chemistry or trace evidence analysis. Candidates must successfully pass a three-hour, 220 multiple-choice-question examination to qualify.

The American Board of Toxicology offers a “Toxicology Specialist” certification to individuals with a bachelor’s degree in a natural science and at least three years professional experience in forensic toxicology. Candidates must be currently employed as forensic toxicologists and pass a written examination on the principles and practice of analytical toxicology.

Vermont Forensic Laboratory (VFL), a division of the State of Vermont Department of Public Safety, is the only forensic laboratory that serves Vermont’s entire criminal justice system. Evidence is brought to the lab by law enforcement departments, state attorney’s investigators, public defenders and game wardens. Opened in 1947, the lab was originally staffed entirely by sworn law enforcement officer. However, a conversion began in 1968 and by 2009 all personnel were civilians.

Forensic Science Salary in Vermont

The primary source of forensic science jobs in Vermont is with the state’s Department of Public Safety’s Forensic Lab.  This lab in Burlington is the state’s only forensic lab and provides services to a wide range of agencies.  Some of the types of professionals that seek the lab’s services include:

  • Police officers
  • Game wardens
  • Attorneys’ investigators
  • Public defenders

Since the Forensic Lab is the only crime lab, it provides a range of services.  Lab technicians perform a wide range of analyses, while other personnel investigate crime scenes.  While crime scene investigators (CSIs) are frequently sworn officers, this lab is staffed entirely by civilians.

Salaries for 2012 are available for some of the crime lab positions.  The following forensic scientist positions can involve either working in the lab as a technician or in the field as a crime scene investigator.  The 2012 annual salary for two of these positions is shown below:

  • Forensic chemist II           $42,411
  • Forensic chemist I            $40,498

Other forensic scientists in this division work entirely in the lab and frequently specialize in particular types of analyses.  2012 salary information was available for the following position:

  • Forensic lab latent print examiner III:  $63,419

Other specialties for forensic scientists include:

  • Toolmark examination
  • DNA analysis
  • Blood pattern analysis
  • Impression analysis

Forensic Science Schools and Colleges in Vermont

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Vermont

University Castleton State College, Forensic Psychology B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $20,406 in-state; $35,070 out-of-state per year
Program link Program link

 

Castleton, the 18th oldest institution of higher education in the United States, emphasizes undergraduate liberal arts and professional education while also offering selected graduate programs. The College is dedicated to the intellectual and personal growth of students through excellence in teaching, close student-faculty interaction, numerous opportunities for outside-the-classroom learning and an active and supportive campus community. Castleton strives to learn, use and teach sustainable practices. The College prepares its graduates for meaningful careers, further academic pursuits, and engaged, environmentally responsible citizenship. As a member of the Vermont State Colleges, Castleton is committed to supporting and improving the region's communities, schools, organizations, businesses and environment.This concentration focuses attention on applications of psychological research and theory to the judicial process including: courts, law enforcement, corrections, probation and parole, and the general practice of law. The core modules are:

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Theories of Personality
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychological Research I and II
  • Biopsychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Criminal Behavior
  • Juvenile Delinquency

Castleton State College is a small public university located in Castleton, Vermont. The 165-acre campus is just west of Rutland, and students have easy access to stunning venues for hiking, skiing, camping, fishing, and mountain biking. The college's roots go back to 1787 making Castleton the 18th oldest college in the country. Students can choose from over 30 majors, and the university does better than most public institutions in providing students with personal attention. Academics at Castleton are supported by a 14 to 1 student / faculty ratio. Campus life is active with over 70 student clubs, organizations and honor societies. For students interested in athletics, the Castleton Spartans compete in the NCAA Division III North Atlantic Conference (NAC) and the Eastern Collegiate Athletics Conference (ECAC). The college fields ten men's and ten women's varsity teams, and students can also participate in a range of club sports and intramural sports.

Master’s Degree Programs in Vermont

There are currently no master’s programs offered in Vermont.

0

new-jersey forensic science degree

Forensic Science

Forensic science combines science and investigation in order to aid and support  the prosecution or defense in criminal and civil investigations. While the profession has been widely romanticized by various TV shows, make no mistake – this job is most likely different that you expect.  In contrast with popular perception, this is a highly scientific role, which often involves detailed, painstaking work. Field duties are limited to a few areas of expertise, and most often than not a forensic scientist will spend his time in the lab.

If you made it this far, though, congratulations! You’re taking the first steps in joining a very rewarding profession and itsGOV is here to guide you through what you need to know and what you need to do to join a forensic science program in New Jersey.

Depending on the type of forensic science practiced, different degrees and educational backgrounds may help a candidate get a job and excel in this field. Regarding formal education, requirements vary across jobs, but you should definitely have a solid background in mathematics, biology and chemistry.

The National Institute of Justice, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, offers guidelines for model undergraduate and graduate forensic science degree programs. According to the American Academy of Forensic Science, strong programs should offer a curriculum that concentrates on scientific writing, laboratory skills, public speaking, and computer software application training.

Forensic Science Requirements in New Jersey

The Ocean County Sheriff’s Department in New Jersey has been on the forefront of forensic science in its criminal investigations since the 1970s. Although the Criminal Investigation Unit started in 1970 with just crime scene photographers and fingerprint analysts, it grew in the 1980s to include a forensic photo technician and two forensic chemists. Additionally, the department began using a specialized forensic laser system in its forensic work in the 1980s, which only 12 forensic science departments in North America were using at the time.

In more recent years, the Ocean County Criminal Investigation Unit has assisted crime expert Dr. Henry Lee by letting him use its forensic laser system in processing criminal evidence from his own Connecticut cases. The FBI has also consulted with this forensic science department due to its use of modern technology and techniques.

With New Jersey at the cutting edge of forensic science technology, it is an exciting time for those who wish to pursue forensic science jobs in the state. Becoming a forensic scientist in New Jersey requires dedication, education and experience.

Possible forensic science careers in New Jersey include, but are not limited to:

  • Microbiology Project Assistant
  • Radiochemistry Analyst
  • Laboratory Technician
  • Digital Forensic Engineer
  • DNA Examiner

Forensic Science Training in New Jersey

  • New Jersey State Police Office of Forensic Sciences – The official crime laboratories for the New Jersey State Police. There are four laboratories, plus a DNA laboratory, all of which are American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors-Lab Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB) accredited. These laboratories are located in:
    • Hamilton  – Central Regional Laboratory (analyzes toxicology, arson, drugs, forensic serology and trace evidence)
    • Hamilton – DNA Laboratory (performs CODIS, mitochondrial DNA analysis, and nuclear DNA analysis)
    • Hammonton – South Regional Laboratory (analyzes arson, toxicology and drugs)
    • Sea Girt – East Regional Laboratory (analyzes arson, toxicology and drugs)
    • Little Falls – North Regional Laboratory (analyzes arson, toxicology and drugs)
    • Hamilton  – Forensic Anthropology Laboratory  (performs dental and skeletal identification)
    • Hamilton – OFS Breath Testing Unit (supports the New Jersey State Police’s breath testing and internet breath testing database)
  • Office of the New Jersey State Medical Examiner, Toxicology Laboratory – This lab, which is accredited in Forensic Urine Drug Testing by the College of American Pathologists, performs various toxicology analysis procedures for the Office of the New Jersey State Medical Examiner. It is located in Newark.
  • Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Criminalistics Division – The forensic division of this county sheriff’s office has some of the most modern equipment and techniques in the country. For this reason, it has been utilized by renowned forensic expert Dr. Henry Lee of the Connecticut State Crime Lab as well as by the FBI. The laboratory is located in Toms River.
  • Union County Prosecutor’s Office Forensic Laboratory – The main crime laboratory of the county prosecutor’s office performs analysis of biological evidence, including DNA, as well as of controlled substances and other drugs. It is located in Elizabeth.
  • Essex County Sheriff’s Office Ballistics Laboratory – This county sheriff’s office laboratory analyzes weapons evidence, such as firearms, bullets and shell casings, for criminal cases in Essex County, New Jersey. It is located in Newark.

Some forensic scientists in New Jersey seek professional certification or membership through a specialized organization. Both certification and membership have their benefits to forensic scientists, including continuing education and networking possibilities.

Forensic Science Salary in New Jersey

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development projects the number of forensic science jobs in the state to increase by 8.8% from 2010 to 2020.  Ninety such scientists were employed in the state in 2012 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

BLS data indicates that the average salary of a forensic science technician in New Jersey was $55,430 in 2012.  Experienced professionals in the top 90th percentile earned an average of $75,770 that year.

One major source of forensic scientist jobs in New Jersey is the Office of Forensic Sciences that is part of the Investigative Branch of the State Police.  It has four labs that are located in the following cities:

  • Hamilton
  • Hammonton
  • Sea Girt

The forensic office has specialties in the following areas:

  • Breath testing
  • DNA
  • Drug analysis
  • Forensic anthropology
  • Forensic serology
  • Toxicology
  • Trace evidence

Additional specialties offered by this bureau are crime scene investigation (CSI) units for the north, south, and central parts of the state.  They are headquartered in the following cities:

  • Buena Vista
  • Hamilton
  • Totowa

CSIs in the state can be either sworn officers or civilian employees.  Salary levels differ widely depending on the level of experience of the specialist.  Indeed.com gave the average salary for a crime scene investigator in New Jersey as being $61,000 in the year leading up to October 2013.

Forensic Science Schools and Colleges in New Jersey

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in New Jersey

University Fairleigh Dickinson University, Forensic Psychology Concentration B.A.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $34,904 per year
Program link Program link

By taking only 42 credits of prescribed psychology courses, students are able to complete the requirements for the major and the track without exceeding the normal 128 credits required for graduation. The three additional credits beyond the 39 that are normally required for a general psychology major come from free elective credits, which are reduced from 24 to 21. If students wish to take additional psychology courses outside the track, including any of the courses recommended below, they may do so as free electives. The core modules are:

  • Psychology & the Law
  • Psychology of Criminal Behavior
  • Psychological Profiling of Homicidal Offenders
  • Child Development
  • General Psychology I and II
  • Perspectives on the Individual
  • Global Issues
  • The American Experience

Fairleigh Dickinson University is a center of academic excellence dedicated to the preparation of world citizens through global education. The University strives to provide students with the multi-disciplinary, intercultural, and ethical understandings necessary to participate, lead, and prosper in the global marketplace of ideas, commerce and culture.

FDU became the first American university to own a campus in England when it acquired Wroxton College from Trinity College, Oxford University. Opened in 1965, Wroxton College offers American students an array of graduate and undergraduate programs as well as an enriching cultural experience. Formerly a 13th-century abbey, Wroxton College is now a beautifully restored and modernized Jacobean mansion. In 2007, FDU commenced undergraduate classes at a new facility in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Recognizing that the student profile on most U.S. campuses is changing dramatically, the University's Petrocelli College of Continuing Studies (originally New College of General and Continuing Studies) was formed in 1998 to provide a unified approach to and enhanced focus on the adult learner and to continue to position FDU as a leader in providing learning opportunities in a strong academic foundation for students of all ages.

University Saint Peters University, Computer Science and Crime Forensics  B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $32,170 per year
Program link Program link

The Department of Computer and Information Sciences offers four programs (Computer Information Systems, Management Information Systems, Computer Science, and E-commerce) leading towards the Bachelor of Science degree in computer science as well as minor programs in management information systems and computer science. Students majoring in criminal justice can pursue a concentration in computer science and crime forensics. The core modules are:

  • Elementary Calculus I
  • Fund Comp Prog: Html Javascript C++
  • Advanced Programing Techniques Using C++
  • Mathematics of Finance
  • Capstone for Computer Science
  • Introduction to Criminology
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Forensic Science
  • Intro Computers & Information Processing
  • Computer Ethics
  • Intro to Forensics Techniques
  • Cryptology

Saint Peter’s University, inspired by its Jesuit, Catholic identity, commitment to individual attention and grounding in the liberal arts, educates a diverse community of learners in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs to excel intellectually, lead ethically, serve compassionately and promote justice in our ever-changing urban and global environment.

Saint Peter’s University remains faithful to its commitment to the education mission of the Society of Jesus.  Saint Peter’s University, inspired by its Jesuit, Catholic identity, commitment to individual attention and grounding in the liberal arts, educates a diverse community of learners in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs to excel intellectually, lead ethically, serve compassionately and promote justice in our ever-changing urban and global environment. Today, President Eugene J. Cornacchia leads the University onward toward a promising future.  Saint Peter’s University is a landmark on Kennedy Boulevard in Jersey City, and also offers several off-campus locations for adult undergraduate and graduate students.

University The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Forensic Investigation Concentration  B.A.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $31,613 per year
Program link Program link

The forensic investigation concentration is designed to give students an overview of career options in crime scene investigation, blood spatter examination, crime scene photography, fingerprint examination, ballistics, and criminal behavior. Students interested in careers in law enforcement, and the legal profession will find this unique track challenging and rewarding. The core modules are:

  • Introduction to Forensic Science
  • Criminal Procedures: Investigations or Evidence
  • Forensic Behavior Analysis
  • Advanced Forensic Science
  • Forensic Science Internship

Stockton College is committed to building a community that values differences of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, national origin, socio-economic status, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, ability or disability. We accept our responsibility to create and preserve an environment that is free from prejudice and discrimination. A diverse college environment is also necessary for students to gain a greater understanding of themselves. This process of self-discovery requires that students interact in a safe, respectful and affirming environment with people--faculty and staff as well as other students--who have different life experiences than their own. This interaction teaches that people are individuals who cannot be characterized by stereotypes and overgeneralizations. Engagement with diversity prepares students to become cooperative and productive contributors to our society. Stockton values diversity and the differing perspectives it brings. Accordingly, we are unequivocally committed to implementing the principles of affirmative action in the composition of our student body, faculty and staff.

University The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Forensic Psychology Concentration  B.A.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $31,613 per year
Program link Program link

Forensic psychology is a burgeoning field in the social and behavioral sciences. It explores the application of the science and the profession of psychology to questions and issues relating to the law and legal systems. Research and practice in forensic psychology have been approached from a broad range of theoretical perspectives, from psychoanalytic to behavioral-genetic. Forensic psychologists explore issues ranging from the criminal mind to the origins of rules that govern the structure of societies. The core modules are:

  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Theories of Criminality
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Sex Crimes
  • Personality
  • Forensic Behavior Analysis

Stockton College is committed to building a community that values differences of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, national origin, socio-economic status, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, ability or disability. We accept our responsibility to create and preserve an environment that is free from prejudice and discrimination. A diverse college environment is also necessary for students to gain a greater understanding of themselves. This process of self-discovery requires that students interact in a safe, respectful and affirming environment with people--faculty and staff as well as other students--who have different life experiences than their own. This interaction teaches that people are individuals who cannot be characterized by stereotypes and overgeneralizations. Engagement with diversity prepares students to become cooperative and productive contributors to our society. Stockton values diversity and the differing perspectives it brings. Accordingly, we are unequivocally committed to implementing the principles of affirmative action in the composition of our student body, faculty and staff.

Master’s Degree Programs in New Jersey

University Fairleigh Dickinson University, Forensic Psychology M.A.
Duration 24 months
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $20,396 per year
Program link Program link

The broad discipline of forensic science applies empirical research to the solution of crimes or the adjudication of criminals. Forensic science is quite old, dating back at least to the time of Song Chi (1186-1249) who wrote “Collected cases of injustice rectified through forensic science.”  Forensic science embraces well over 20 professional disciplines, from accounting and anthropology to toxicology and virology. Forensic psychology / psychiatry is one of those 20+ disciplines.

Forensic psychology / psychiatry is a relative newcomer, emerging in the 19th century, primarily in response to a series of cases that deeply perplexed the courts and prompted assistance from mental health professionals (exclusively psychiatrists in the early years). Historically, the criminal justice system recognized only two elements: (1) the offense, and (2) the penalty. The 19th century brought about the emergence of a third element – the offender – and with it, the need to understand the “actor.”

Today, forensic psychology is a vigorous, flourishing sub-division of the American Psychological Association. Founded in 1981, the American Psychology-Law Society (Division 41 of APA) has roughly 2,500 members. The equivalent organization for psychiatrists, the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, was founded in 1969 and has about 1,500 members. This niche of forensic science is supported internationally by 15 or more high caliber academic journals. The core modules are:

  • Statistics and Research Methods
  • Psychopathology
  • Introduction to Forensic Psychology
  • Psychological Basis of Criminal Behavior
  • Evaluating Criminal Responsibility and Competency to Stand Trial
  • Forensic Evaluation & Assessment
  • Forensic Interviewing Techniques
  • Clinical Practice in Forensic Contexts
  • Ethical Issues in Forensic Psychology
  • Externship and Proseminar

Although many forensic psychologists are academics who teach and do research, most are full-time practitioners. Forensic psychologists are, essentially, clinicians trained to conduct specialized evaluations for the courts and testify as expert witnesses. The evaluations that the courts may request vary widely, ranging from criminal responsibility, diminished capacity and competency to child custody, disability, personal injury, death penalty mitigation, malingering, and violence / dangerousness risk.Masters-level forensic psychologists will not, for the most part, be assigned to conduct these evaluations, although they may assist under the supervision a doctoral-level forensic psychologist. Masters-level forensic psychologists most frequently are employed as clinicians who conduct therapy with forensic clients, either in forensic settings (e.g.,  jails, prisons, locked forensic units in state hospitals) or in the community with probationers or parolees. Masters-level forensic psychologists are also employed to do research with a variety of justice-related agencies and organizations. As noted, masters-level forensic psychologists may also be hired by court clinics or private practitioners to assist with evaluations under the supervision of a licensed psychologist.Our program at Fairleigh Dickinson University is designed to offer our students the maximum possible exposure to the broad field of forensic psychology while at the same time streamlining a curriculum that allows students to finish in 18 months. Students are exposed through coursework to all of the aforementioned areas of forensic psychology practice. In addition, students gain invaluable clinical experience through the completion of a 300-hour externship placement, and have the option to participate in forensic research and do a thesis.

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nebraska forensic science schools

Forensic Science

Forensic science combines science and investigation in order to aid and support  the prosecution or defense in criminal and civil investigations. While the profession has been widely romanticized by various TV shows, make no mistake – this job is most likely different that you expect.  In contrast with popular perception, this is a highly scientific role, which often involves detailed, painstaking work. Field duties are limited to a few areas of expertise, and most often than not a forensic scientist will spend his time in the lab.

If you made it this far, though, congratulations! You’re taking the first steps in joining a very rewarding profession and itsGOV is here to guide you through what you need to know and what you need to do to join a forensic science program in Nebraska.

Depending on the type of forensic science practiced, different degrees and educational backgrounds may help a candidate get a job and excel in this field. Regarding formal education, requirements vary across jobs, but you should definitely have a solid background in mathematics, biology and chemistry.

The National Institute of Justice, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, offers guidelines for model undergraduate and graduate forensic science degree programs. According to the American Academy of Forensic Science, strong programs should offer a curriculum that concentrates on scientific writing, laboratory skills, public speaking, and computer software application training.

Forensic Science Requirements in Nebraska

A Bachelor’s Degree in Forensic Science is the first step for individuals who want to learn how to become forensic scientists in Nebraska. Within this field, it is quite common for colleges and other degree-granting schools to offer a number of tracks or specializations.

For example, students may focus their Bachelor in Forensic Science on Crime Scene Investigations or Forensic Biology. A concentration in Forensic Biology, which is most often sought by those individuals who want to pursue forensic scientist jobs, is designed to prepare students to work in a laboratory setting, where they will identify and analyze a wide range of biological evidence, including DNA.

A Bachelor’s in Forensic Science with a concentration in Forensic Biology is an interdisciplinary program that includes coursework in the sciences, including molecular biology, forensic biology, biochemistry, and genetics, among others, along with a core curriculum typically consisting of:

  • Survey of Criminal Justice
  • Introduction to Forensic Science
  • Forensic Science Seminar
  • Comparative Analysis
  • Current Issues in Forensic Science
  • Forensic Science Seminar

Individuals who want to learn how to become a forensic scientist must first set their sights on an undergraduate degree in one of the natural sciences or in forensic science, as the minimum requirement to work as a forensic scientist in Nebraska is a bachelor’s degree in one the following fields of:

  • Natural science
  • Physical science
  • Forensic science
  • Criminalistics

Further, because forensic scientists in the Crime Laboratory are called upon to perform DNA analyses, these professionals must also complete specific coursework (at least 9 semester credit hours), in the following:

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Statistics/Population Genetics

The preferred requirement for these forensic professionals is at least one year of experience performing DNA casework within an accredited forensic science laboratory.

All candidates for forensic science jobs in Nebraska should expect to undergo an extensive background screening as a condition of their hire, and all candidates will be screened for a criminal history through a fingerprint-based check.

Forensic Science Training in Nebraska

The Nebraska State Patrol Crime Laboratory, which was established in 1971, is a full-service forensic laboratory that is responsible for performing services necessary to preserve, identify, and analyze evidence materials related to the investigation of crimes. The Crime Laboratory, which is fully funded by the government, provides services to all law enforcement agencies in the state, including local, county, state, federal and military agencies.

The forensic science services provided to the law enforcement agencies of Nebraska, from Omaha to Bellevue to Grand Island, are divided into sections:

  • Drug Chemistry Section
  • Latent Fingerprints Section
  • Biology/DNA Section
  • Trace Chemistry Section
  • Questioned Documents Section
  • Toxicology Section

Nebraska’s Crime Laboratory, which is now housed entirely in Lincoln, includes a staff of 24. It is ASCLA/LAB accredited and the forensic scientists there are often called upon to provide technical assistance and educational services to the state and local agencies regarding forensic science matters.

Forensic Science Salary in Nebraska

Forensic scientists in Nebraska made an average of $61,000 in the year preceding October 2013 according to Indeed.com.  Within Nebraska, several cities have crime labs that employ forensic scientists.

The Nebraska State Patrol’s Crime Laboratory is in Lincoln.  Two crime labs are located in Omaha:  that of the Omaha Police Department and the Douglas County Crime Lab.  The latter crime lab handles cases from across the state and even from some other states.

Because of the large number of forensic science technicians working in Omaha, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides employment and salary information for forensic scientists in this area.  Fifty such scientists were employed in the Omaha area in 2012.  They made an average of $49,710 a year in 2012 with experienced professionals in the top 90th percentile making $65,020.

Forensic scientist positions can entail either analyzing evidence in a lab or processing crime scenes.  The latter type of scientists are known as crime scene investigators (CSIs).  They document the site and collect evidence that undergoes further analysis in a lab.  The types of positions for CSIs vary greatly.

Some law enforcement agencies in Nebraska have investigators that are sworn officer who specialize in the collection of forensic evidence and the processing of crime scenes.  These professionals are paid according to the standard rates for law enforcement officers.

In other cases, civilians perform the crime scene investigation work.  One such position in Omaha in 2013 was for a CSI with three years of experience.  It was a crime scene investigator III position that paid from $48,080 to $60,216 a year.

Forensic Science Schools and Colleges in Nebraska

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Nebraska

There are currently no bachelor’s degree programs in Nebraska.

Master’s Degree Programs in Nebraska

University Nebraska Wesleyan University, Forensic Science M.S.
Duration 24 months
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $1o,080 per year
Program link Program link

The Master of Science in Forensic Science (MSFS) degree prepares students for leadership positions in forensic science laboratories. Emphasizing hands-on learning and coursework in the natural sciences, the curriculum is designed to provide students a solid foundation in the forensic sciences, particularly in forensic DNA and forensic chemistry. A new degree approved in 2011, the MSFS grew out of the Master in Forensic Science (MFS) degree biology/chemistry concentration, which began in 2001. The MSFS program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and by the Forensic Education Program Accreditation Commission (FEPAC).

Focus on Experiential Learning: Nebraska Wesleyan’s forensic science graduate program focuses on building real-life experiences. The university offers a designated Crime Scene House adjacent to campus. Here, faculty and advanced students (or “faux felons”) develop scenarios and create mock crime scenes. Students from all three tracks work together to process the scene, analyze blood spatter, collect DNA evidence, develop latent fingerprints and reconstruct the crime. Over the course of 10 months, students identify a suspect and testify before a mock grand jury. Research Facilities: A former microbiology lab has been reconfigured into a research lab equipped with microscopes, freezers and cameras. Students enjoy space that can be devoted to conducting their own research. The core modules are:

  •  Survey of Forensic Science
  •  Advanced Crime Scene Investigation
  •  Advanced Investigation I and II
  • Law and Evidence
  • Administration of Justice
  • Advanced Criminalistics I and II
  • Physical Analysis in Forensic Science
  • Medicolegal Investigation and Identification
  • Forensic DNA Analysis
  • Criminal Law

People planning a career in forensic science should have an aptitude for mathematics and be able to analyze, compare, and interpret facts and figures quickly. In addition communication skills, critical thinking, listening, nonverbal communication, and problem-solving abilities are valuable assets. Because legal decisions are made on the basis of their statements and services, they should have high standards of integrity.

Nebraska Wesleyan University offers a 42-credit-hour forensic science program through which graduate students may earn a Master of Forensic Science (MSFS). The first year curriculum focuses on giving graduate students a broad-based knowledge of the forensic sciences. Over the next summer, they complete a two-week internship with a medical examiner or coroner.

During the second year, students focus on biological and chemistry courses. They also participate in a yearlong crime scene investigation course that counts for two credits. The last class for most students is “Forensic Science 599”. This course involves research and internship work relevant to students’ individual interests and concentrations.

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missouri forensic science schools

Forensic Science

Forensic science combines science and investigation in order to aid and support  the prosecution or defense in criminal and civil investigations. While the profession has been widely romanticized by various TV shows, make no mistake – this job is most likely different that you expect.  In contrast with popular perception, this is a highly scientific role, which often involves detailed, painstaking work. Field duties are limited to a few areas of expertise, and most often than not a forensic scientist will spend his time in the lab.

If you made it this far, though, congratulations! You’re taking the first steps in joining a very rewarding profession and itsGOV is here to guide you through what you need to know and what you need to do to join a forensic science program in Missouri.

Depending on the type of forensic science practiced, different degrees and educational backgrounds may help a candidate get a job and excel in this field. Regarding formal education, requirements vary across jobs, but you should definitely have a solid background in mathematics, biology and chemistry.

The National Institute of Justice, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, offers guidelines for model undergraduate and graduate forensic science degree programs. According to the American Academy of Forensic Science, strong programs should offer a curriculum that concentrates on scientific writing, laboratory skills, public speaking, and computer software application training.

Forensic scientists in Missouri are responsible for collecting, identifying, and analyzing physical evidence related to criminal investigations. They may perform tests on weapons or substances to determine their significance related to an investigation, and they may also be called upon to testify as an expert witness.

Entry-level forensic scientists must possess at least 60 college credit hours from an accredited college or university, and all candidates must be able to pass a polygraph examination and submit to periodic random drug testing. Further education, professional certification and/or experience may be required for specialized or advanced forensic scientist jobs in Missouri.

Forensic Science Requirements in Missouri

The Crime Lab Division (CLD) of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, which was established in 1936—one of the first of its kind in the country—provides forensic science services and technical support to all local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in Missouri, from Kansas City and St. Louis to Springfield and Independence, through the utilization of state-of-the-art equipment and techniques.

The CLD’s central laboratory is located in Jefferson City, with regional labs located in:

  • Macon
  • St. Joseph
  • Carthage
  • Park Hills
  • Springfield
  • Willow Springs
  • Cape Girardeau

Forensic scientists of the Missouri CLD provide the following services to criminal justice and law enforcement agencies within the state:

  • DNA Coursework
  • Drug Chemistry
  • CODIS
  • Firearms and Toolmarks
  • Latent Prints
  • Toxicology
  • Trace Evidence

Forensic Science Training in Missouri

According to recent statistics by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Division of Career Education, the most common degree for forensic science technicians (45.7 percent) is a bachelor’s degree. It is therefore easy to find a number of degree-granting schools offering bachelor’s degrees in forensic science and related disciplines in Missouri.

Many forensic science bachelor’s degrees also allow students to focus their undergraduate degree on a specific area, thereby preparing them to work in specialized areas of forensic science, such as DNA, toxicology, and latent prints, just to name a few.

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science

A Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science prepares students for careers in forensic science laboratories. This type of degree draws from a number of areas, including the biological sciences, physics, chemistry, and the criminal justice system. As such, it is often considered a cross-disciplinary program, as study is focused in both the scientific and social environments of crime and criminal justice.

Forensic Science Salary in Missouri

Job growth in the field of forensic sciences is promising in Missouri.  The state’s Department of Economic Development projects an increase of 14.89% in the availability of forensic science jobs from 2010 to 2020.  Of the 188 jobs they expect to become available during this ten year period, 74% are expected to be due to the replacement of people leaving the workforce.In 2012, there were 320 forensic science technicians employed in Missouri according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  The annual median wage throughout the state was $45,270 in 2012.  Those in the top 90th percentile of their wage bracket made an average of $65,970 that year.

A criminalist specializing in toxicology earned from $48,040 to $52,176 a year in 2013 in Springfield.

Other types of jobs for forensic scientists include processing the evidence at crime scenes to preserve it for further analysis.  Such crime scene investigators (CSIs) can be either police officers or detectives with training in forensics or they can be civilians who have some educational background in forensics or criminal justice.

Salaries vary for CSIs depending on their level of experience.  According to Indeed.com, the average salary for a crime scene investigator in Missouri was $56,000 in the period from September 2012 to October 2013.

Forensic Science Schools and Colleges in Missouri

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Missouri

University Colorado Technical University, Forensic Investigation Concentration B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $14,950 per year
Program link Program link

Students enrolled in Colorado Technical University's Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Forensic Investigation program have the opportunity to learn the skills needed to pursue a career in forensic investigation. Learn more about Colorado Technical University's Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Forensic Investigation program here. Prospective students who are considering applying to Colorado Technical University's Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Forensic Investigation program should have an interest in criminal justice and the process of forensic investigation. Applicants to Colorado Technical University's programs should have already earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Colorado Technical University's Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Forensic Investigation program is designed to teach students about the foundational areas of criminal justice, such as the court system, corrections, and law enforcement as well as the process and science of forensic investigation. Lab practicum experiences provide students with an opportunity to learn about forensics and crime scene investigation. The core modules are:

  • Introduction to Criminalistics
  • Advanced Crime Scene Forensics
  • Forensic Photography & Crime Scene Documentation
  • Medico-Legal Death Investigations
  • Introduction to Ridgeology
  • Interview and Interrogation
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Justice Ethics
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Criminology
  • Criminal Law
  • Victimology
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology

Colorado Technical University also offers its Virtual Campus, making it the university of choice for career-motivated students whose lifestyles and responsibilities make it impractical to enroll on a traditional college campus. Students can earn a professionally focused degree in a supportive online community that offers you an incredible amount of freedom, flexibility, convenience and one-to-one support, all courtesy of their committed, experienced faculty and staff. The CTU Online campus offers Bachelor's and Master's degree programs that can be completed in as little as 17 months*.

In 2009 the Computerworld Honors program named CTU's virtual campus the "Best of the Best" in the Academia and Education category. Students enroll in one of its more than 100 online undergraduate and graduate programs are able to learn from professors who have real world experience. They are also able to collaborate with their peers throughout the nation.

University Columbia College, Forensic Science B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $21,200 per year
Program link Program link

The major in Forensic Science is designed to provide training for students seeking to work in forensic science laboratories or who are planning to pursue careers in the field of forensic science. The major draws from the biological sciences, physics and chemistry as well as from the fields of criminal justice and the law. The degree is generated from a cross-disciplinary perspective, blending faculty expertise from both the criminal justice and science program areas. A principal focus of the program is to prepare students for entry-level positions and for advancement in various occupations and professions in the criminal justice and science areas. The faculty encourages wide and varied preparation in both the liberal arts and sciences to provide students with an appreciation of the scientific and social environment of crime and criminal justice. As students prepare for a career in forensic sciences, they should be reasonably informed on which area to focus. For example, if one wishes to work in a crime laboratory, most positions are of the 'criminalist' category, but various areas will require specific coursework. The core modules are:

  • Physical Evidence
  • Criminalist I - DNA
  • Trace Evidence
  • Toxicology
  • Latent Prints
  • Questioned Documents
  • Organic Chemistry I and II
  • Senior Seminar in Forensic Science
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Introduction to Forensic Science

Originally founded as Christian Female College, the college was the first women's college west of the Mississippi River to be chartered by a state legislature. The college changed its name to Columbia College in 1970 when it transitioned from a two-year women's college to a four-year coeducational college. Though Columbia College has retained a covenant with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) since its inception, the college is a nonsectarian school welcoming students of all religious denominations.

Through its network of campuses in 36 nationwide locations, the Day Campus and Evening Campus in Columbia, Mo., and the Online Campus, the college serves more than 29,000 students annually.

University University of Central Missouri, Forensic Chemistry B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $26,300 per year
Program link Program link

The chemistry degree programs at UCM provide a balanced curriculum of classroom instruction and practical laboratory experience. As a student with a major in chemistry, you will receive extensive state of the art, hands-on experience with instrumentation, such as UV-Visible, FTIR, and FTNMR spectroscopy; chromatography (GC/MS/MS/HPLC); calorimetry; fluorometry; electrochemical analysis and others. The student to faculty ratio at UCM is 17 to 1, which allows professors to get to know students and provide personalized attention. Active research, workshop and seminar participation keep chemistry faculty current in the ever-advancing field of science. In addition to a wide range of academic and professional experience, all faculty members in UCM's chemistry programs have earned doctorates in their fields of expertise. The core modules are:

  • Causes of Crime
  • Comparative International Systems
  • Criminal Evidence
  • Forensic Science
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Ballistics Expert
  • Drug Analyst
  • Forensic Psychologist
  • Homicide Investigator
  • Medical Examiner
  • Toxicology

The graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forensic Chemistry will use the knowledge and skills obtained in the program to: collect, analyze and apply information to solve problems (managing information & higher-order thinking); understand how to safely utilize laboratory instruments and employ the appropriate laboratory techniques to investigate chemical systems (technology); understand chemical concepts and use evidence to draw conclusions (higher-order thinking); use the language and concepts of chemistry to communicate effectively in oral and written form (communicating); function in independent and collaborative settings to solve problems (interacting); ethically and with integrity, apply chemical knowledge, materials, and skills that impact society (valuing); be prepared for post-baccalaureate education and employment in the public and private sectors.

Master’s Degree Programs in Missouri

There are currently no master’s programs offered in Missouri.

 

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