A number of institutions offer online programs for those interested in crime scene analysis. Programs are typically available in a hybrid format. These are typically offered by a college's criminal justice or forensic science department. Award options can include a crime scene technician certificate, an associate's degree in crime scene technology or a bachelor's degree in criminal justice with an emphasis in crime scene investigation.
Due to the intensive nature of the field, most online programs require students to complete in-person field experiences at a local crime lab or other approved facility. These hands-on experiences may include processing evidence, attending mock court trials and completing other lab exercises. In some programs students may be able to forego internship requirements by completing an independent study.
Associate's Degree in Criminal Justice - Crime Scene Analysis Specialization
Advanced courses for distance learners may use multimedia technology, such as video, to teach students crime scene photography techniques and the procedures involved in gathering trace evidence such as DNA, soil remnants or fibers. Graduates of crime scene analysis programs can sit for state licensing examinations to become certified as crime scene technicians.
Degree programs that offer online courses in fingerprint analysis or forensic biology often require students to supplement their analytical skills with courses in statistics, research methods or computer science. In addition to general education courses, some common areas of study for students enrolled in crime scene analysis programs include:
- Introduction to criminal justice
- Collection and analysis of evidence
- Proper documentation of evidence
Specializations within this field can include job opportunities as crime scene photographers, latent print examiners or firearm and toolmark examiners. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted jobs for forensic science technicians will increase 27% from 2014-2024, which is which is much faster than average. However, competition will be strong because of the current popularity of this career. As of May 2015, forensic science technicians earned a median annual income of $56,320.
Online programs with crime scene analysis training typically combine online courses such as forensic biology and fingerprint analysis with field experience. Graduates may work in the field of crime scene analysis as crime scene photographers, latent print examiners or firearm and toolmark examiners.