Forensic Technician Colleges and Degree Requirements
A degree program in forensic science allows you to utilize and improve your science and chemistry skills to help you determine the events of a crime, even when you didn't witness it. Read on to learn more about your degree options.
What You Need to Know
A forensic technician uses knowledge of chemistry, biology and physics to uncover events that occurred during a crime. They may analyze blood spatter or stomach contents and determine a time of death at a crime scene. Some technicians might focus on a specific area of forensics, such as toxicology or ballistics. There are a number of majors you can choose from to become a forensic technician, though the most common is forensic science. During your studies, you can expect to spend plenty of time in a lab gaining hands-on crime analysis experience.
|Degrees||Associate of Science in Forensic Science, Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science, Master of Science in Forensic Science|
|Certificates||Basic Applied Forensic Science and Crime Analysis Certificate|
|Courses||Physical evidence, trace evidence, latent prints, forensic analysis and explosives, forensic molecular biology, statistical analysis|
|Online Availability||Rarely fully online, though some hybrid options exist|
Which Colleges Offer Forensic Technician Programs?
Many employers require that those seeking to work as forensic technicians complete a program accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC). Nearly 50 colleges and universities across the U.S. offer accredited forensic science degree programs, including the following:
- University of Chicago - Loyola
- Indiana University Purdue University
- Albany State University
- Alfred State - SUNY College of Technology
- Eastern Kentucky University
- Florida International University
- University of Central Oklahoma
- Cedar Crest College
- West Virginia University
- Texas A&M University
Can I Earn a Certificate in Forensic Science?
Some schools provide certificate programs in forensics, such as crime analysis or crime scene technician certificates. These might be pursued once you have completed a degree program in criminal justice, chemistry, or biology. Your certificate program will cover basic investigative techniques, fingerprint analysis, forensic psychology and trace evidence analysis.
Do Colleges Offer Associate Degree Programs?
Most employers prefer forensic technicians to have a bachelor's degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. You could earn an associate's degree as a stepping-stone toward a bachelor's degree program. Some, though not many, community colleges offer 2-year degree programs in forensics. You might find programs such as those in criminal justice technology with a focus on forensic science. Coursework you can expect to take includes criminology, crime scene investigation, ethics, criminal law and juvenile justice.
What Bachelor's Degree Programs Are Available?
Because forensic technicians work in a variety of fields, you could choose from a handful of relevant majors, including forensic science, biology, chemistry, physics, anthropology, computer science, toxicology or psychology. A bachelor's degree program in forensic science will provide both the science and legal studies courses you'll need to navigate the criminal justice system, and your program may also include hands-on training through an internship. You can expect to take courses in the following areas:
- Forensic investigation
- Forensic technology
Are Graduate Degree Programs Offered in Forensic Science?
Several of the nearly 50 schools that offer accredited degree programs in forensic science or technology also offer master's degree programs. A master's degree could be required for those seeking advancement in this field. Courses address advanced topics in analysis, research methods, crime scene techniques and forensic pathology. Labs allow for the opportunity to apply advanced methods.
Are Online Degree Programs Available?
Because forensic science programs typically have lab requirements, this degree program is not widely available as an online program. There are some programs available, but they may require that you have some experience in the field. Additionally, schools offering online master's degree programs in forensic science may require that you have access to your own lab, so you'll need to hold a position in the field. Like traditional on-campus programs, online programs may also require that you complete an internship at a local crime lab.