Criminalistics Degrees and Training Programs

Criminalistics is the study of the physical evidence related to crime identification and investigation. Read on to learn more about undergraduate degree programs and coursework related to criminalistics. Find out what jobs you could gain with a degree in criminalistics and how much you could earn annually. Schools offering Criminology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Training Programs Are Available in Criminalistics?

The U.S. Department of Education lists more than 80 schools with associate's degree programs in criminalistics and criminal science (nces.ed.gov). This is the most common degree level for criminalistics programs; certificate and bachelor's degree programs are also available, but less common.

Degree Options Associate's degree, bachelor's degree, certificate
Common Courses Statistics, bodily fluids evidence, organic chemistry, genetics, forensic psychology
Median Annual Wage (2014) $55,360 (for forensic science technicians)*

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Classes Could I Take?

In a crime scene technology certificate program, you might take classes in biology, substantive criminal law, criminal investigation, crime scene photography, forensic science, fingerprint classification and rules of evidence. In a bachelor's degree program in criminalistics, forensic science or criminal justice with a criminalistics specialization, you'll study course topics including evidence collection, evidence preservation and scientific writing. Some specific courses you might take include:

  • Statistics
  • Bioethics
  • Organic chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Bodily fluids evidence
  • Genetics
  • Forensic psychology

What Jobs Could I Get?

One possible career for someone with criminalistics training is forensic science technician, a job that typically requires a bachelor's degree. In this position, you might collect and analyze evidence at crime scenes. You might collect hair, biological tissue, body fluids or building materials. After analyzing evidence, forensic science technicians typically prepare reports on their findings. According to the BLS, forensic science technicians earned a median annual salary of $55,360 as of May 2014.

To begin your entry-level career in criminalistics, you might hold a certificate or associate's degree. Some employers may want you to have a bachelor's degree in criminalistics or a closely related field, such as forensic science or physical anthropology, or a natural science, such as biology, chemistry or physics. To work as a criminalistics professor or a lab director, you might pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in one of these fields. Graduate degree programs in criminalistics itself are relatively rare, according to the Department of Education.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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  • Strayer University

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  • Colorado Christian University

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  • Ohio Christian University

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  • New England College

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