Forensic science programs teach prospective technicians how to gather, identify, categorize and analyze physical evidence associated with criminal investigations. In addition, forensic technicians learn how to be expert witnesses and present interpretations of ballistics, fingerprinting, handwriting or other evidence.
Schools with Forensic Science Programs
These schools offer a range of forensic science programs. Some schools offer them at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, while others only offer graduate programs in the subject.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)*|
|Alabama State University||Montgomery, AL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||$11,068 (in-state undergraduate), $19,396 (out-of-state undergraduate), $12,628 (in-state graduate), $22m516 (out-of-state graduate)|
|California State University-Los Angeles||Los Angeles, CA||4-year, Public||Minor, Master's||$6,749 (in-state undergraduate), $18,629 (out-of-state undergraduate), $8,183 (in-state graduate), $17,687 (out-of-state graduate)|
|Buffalo State University-SUNY||Buffalo, NY||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||$8,210 (in-state undergraduate), $17,990 (out-of-state undergraduate), $11,877 (in-state graduate), $23,437 (out-of-state graduate)|
|CUNY-John Jay College of Criminal Justice||New York, NY||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||$7,270 (in-state undergraduate), $14,940 (out-of-state undergraduate), $11,212 (in-state graduate), $20,362 (out-of-state graduate)|
|Michigan State University||Ann Arbor, MI||4-year, Public||Master's, Doctoral||$18,132 (in-state graduate), $35,628 (out-of-state graduate)|
|Pennsylvania State University||University Park, PA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||$18,454(in-state undergraduate), $34,858 (out-of-state undergraduate), $22,578 (in-state graduate), $38,012 (out-of-state graduate)|
|West Virginia University||Morgantown, WV||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$8,856 (in-state undergraduate), $24,950 (out-of-state undergraduate), $9,990 (in-state graduate), $25,776 (out-of-state graduate)|
|Boston University||Boston, MA||4-year, Private||Master's||$53,572 (graduate)|
|George Washington University||Washington, DC||4-year, Private||Master's, Graduate Certificates||$30,834 (graduate)|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
Students preparing to become forensic technicians can acquire training at a variety of levels of education. Programs are available at 2- and 4-year schools throughout the country. The following list of considerations should be noted when selecting a forensic technician school:
- Individuals with a bachelor's degree in a lab science such as biology or chemistry can complete a certificate program in forensic science in 1-2 years.
- Many programs include internships as part of their core curriculum or offer them as an elective option.
- All programs in forensic science should involve a legal component, but only some programs employ practicing attorneys as professors for these courses.
- Some programs have mathematics requirements, and some specific courses also have mathematics pre-requisites.
Certificate in Forensic Science or Forensic Toxicology
Some certificate programs in forensic science cover a broad range of topics related to crime scene technology. Others are more specialized, with courses in forensic death investigation, forensic toxicology or forensic DNA analysis.
Associate's Degree in Forensic Studies or Forensic Science Technology
Associate's degree programs in forensic studies or forensic science technology provide general education and forensic science courses. Some schools offer courses in specialized technical applications, such as polygraph, dental analyses or profiling techniques.
Bachelor's Degree in Forensic Science
Bachelor's degree programs in forensic science either allow students to acquire a broad range of laboratory skills across several fields, or to specialize in specific areas, such as anthropology, life sciences, genetics, toxicology, dental forensics, computer software applications or biochemistry. Some programs also include courses that train students in providing legal testimony.
Master's Degree in Forensic Science
Some master's degree programs allow for specializations in chemistry, molecular biology or toxicology. Schools often prefer applicants to have a bachelor's degree in a related field or have prior coursework in anthropology, biology or chemistry. Prospective students who have a bachelor's degree in a non-related field may be advised to take criminology and lab science courses as needed for preparation.
Individuals who are interested in pursuing a career as forensic technicians have several certificate and degree options available. These programs teach students the skills they need for physical crime scene processing and analysis, as well as proper legal procedures.