Biometrics Education and Training Program Overviews
The scientific field tasked with analyzing and measuring the characteristics of the human body for the purpose of identity management is called biometrics. Biometrics training programs, while still uncommon, can be found at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Online bachelor's degree programs in biometrics are available, but may be rare, and are more commonly offered as concentration or major options through broader programs. These programs may be available entirely online, but bachelor's degree programs vary and hybrid programs or completion programs, which would require some on-campus attendance, are common.
Graduate certificate programs in the specific field of biometrics may be more common than programs at the bachelor's degree level, but online options could be rare. Instead, students may be interested in online graduate certificate programs in related fields, like information security. A bachelor's degree in a related field is typically required for admission to such programs.
Master's degree programs in biometrics may also be rare, and students may have better odds enrolling online programs in subjects like computer information systems. These programs typically require a 4-year degree in a related field for admission, and can be completed entirely online.
- Program Levels for Biometrics Education: Bachelor's degree, graduate certificate and master of science
- Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree requires a GED or high school diploma; Graduate certificates and master's degrees require bachelor's degrees
- Length of Study: Bachelor's degree usually takes four years, a graduate certificate is only one semester, a master's degree lasts two years
Bachelor of Science Programs Covering Biometrics
Undergraduate biometric systems or biometric security programs are extremely uncommon, but may be found through computer science and electrical engineering departments. Data mining, pattern recognition, the foundations of security and the legal implications of privacy are commonly taught in these 4-year programs. Applicants are required to have completed high school prior to matriculation.
Biometric devices combine databases, which store biometric information to be compared against, with physical scanners and software to convert scanned information into cross-referenceable digital forms. As preparation for applying technological advances to health care, banking and homeland security, programs may offer training in:
- Database design
- Forensic statistics
- Image processing
Graduate Certificates in Biometrics
While keys and passwords can be lost, forgotten, replicated or stolen, biometric authentication requires an inherent part of a physiological being. Iris feature analysis, DNA matching, and voice recognition are examples of the use of human characteristics to replace passwords or make the process of logging in more secure.
Biometrics helps law enforcement professionals to perform virtual 3-D forensic facial reconstructions from 2-D images. In order to prepare graduates for careers in information security and human-computer interfacing, programs may offer courses covering:
- Biometrics computing
- Computer graphics
- Data mining
- Pattern recognition
Master of Science Programs Covering Biometrics
Training in biometrics and biometry is available through computer science and biostatistics departments. These 2-year programs offer coursework in distributed computing, bioinformatics, network security and databases. The completion of a final thesis paper or project, demonstrating a command of relevant concepts like data mining, information security and technology, is required of graduate students.
Master's degree programs with options in biometrics focus on the combination of computer applications, statistics and medical information to produce unique scientific results. Students can study concepts like:
- Database systems
- Image processing
- Interactive system design
- Programming language
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), statisticians could expect a 27% rise in employment opportunities for the 2012-2022 decade (www.bls.gov). The same source showed that these professionals earned $79,990 as a median annual salary as of May 2014.
The May 2014 BLS reports showed that the highest levels of employment for the 26,970 statisticians were in the federal government and the research and development fields. Graduate-degree holders were qualified to work as:
- Biometric intelligence analysts
- Social networking analysts
- Statistical programmers
Doctoral programs in biostatistics are available, as are Ph.D. programs in computer science and engineering, where students can focus on biometrics. Students entering doctoral programs with no prior graduate training in a relevant field may be initially placed in a master's track, but they are generally encouraged to apply.
Programs are available in the specific field of biometrics, but may be rare. Some alternate program titles may include:
- Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science
- Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering
- Graduate Certificate in Information Security
- Master's Degree in Computer Information Systems
- Master's Degree in Bioinformatics and Biostatistics