About Forensic Science Technician
Forensic Science Technician explains the required education to become a forensic science technician including schools, colleges, programs and degrees, and salary forensic science technician.
What Forensic Science Technician Degrees and Certifications Exist?
Below is a listing of the different types of forensic science technician programs, from technical certificates to master's degrees.
- Diploma in Forensic Science: Forensic science technician schools that offer a diploma in forensic science allow students to take fewer classes in order to receive some sort of training without having to pursue a lengthy degree program. Diploma programs may require between 75 and 90 credits and give students an adequate introduction into the field. Those who want to pursue an entry-level job as a forensic scientist assistant or who plan on receiving a forensic science technician degree later on can first try out this option.
- Crime Scene Technical Certificate: A crime scene technical certificate does not substitute for a forensic science technician degree, but it does train students in the skills needed to be a forensic science technician. Students learn how to prepare reports, work in a lab, and evaluate physical evidence found at a crime scene. If a student cannot major in forensic science at his or her college or does not have time to commit to a full-time degree program, a technical certificate will usually be a sufficient way to find entry-level work at the start of his or her career.
- Associate degree in Forensic Science: An associate level forensic science technician program is a good way to get a basic understanding of the field and position yourself for entry-level work or advanced study. Associate's programs combine general academics with natural science courses, as well as specialized technical courses. Some associate's programs will let students choose a more focused path for their degree, between crime scene investigation or forensic computer science.
- Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice: Some of the best forensic science technician colleges offer bachelor's degree programs, which adequately prepare students for the competitive industry. Students will take natural science courses, general academics courses and upper division forensic science courses. Many bachelor's degree programs are organized as criminal justice programs, which may allow students to pick a forensic science concentration within this field of study. In addition to taking forensic science courses, students will also need to take a series of core criminal justice courses, which may cover topics like juvenile delinquency, the sociology of criminal justice, and more.
- Master of Science in Forensic Science: Students wanting to be eligible for the highest paying and most well-respected jobs will want to pick a forensic science technician program that offers graduate level study. Master's degree programs may take around two years to complete, and students will receive advanced technical training in labs and in theory-based lecture classes. Students learn about the culture and sociology of crime while mastering techniques in analyzing DNA, generating toxicology reports and more.
What Are Some Featured Online Forensic Science Technician Colleges?
The following list of forensic science technician colleges features associate's programs, graduate level programs, certificate programs and more.
Saint Leo University: Online
Upper Iowa University: Fayette, IA
Major in Forensic Science: Students in this program must take specified math and science courses, as well as choose from a selection of biology and chemistry electives. Forensic Science core classes include Forensic Biology, Evidence Collection, Identification and Processing, and Introduction to Forensic Science Laboratory. This curriculum allows students to gain a solid understanding of the natural sciences and to practice real-world systems in a lab.
Virginia Commonwealth University: Richmond, VA
Master of Science in Forensic Science: This program trains students to be highly skilled forensic scientists who can work in government and private crime labs. Special topics taught include drug and DNA analysis, trace evidence, legal issues and more. The lab that is used for many courses is accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors.
Arcadia University: Glenside, PA
Master of Science in Forensic Science: This degree can be completed along with a bachelor's degree in six years or as a five-year accelerated program. Arcadia's program is one of only seven accredited graduate forensic science programs, approved by the Forensic Science Education Program Accreditation Commission (FEPAC). Students take advantage of the school's partnership with Fredric Rieders Family Renaissance Foundation and NMS Labs to gain hands-on experience and receive the training they need to become leaders in the field.
Griffin Technical College : Griffin, GA
Diploma Program: Forensic Science Technology: This program is comprised of either 77 credits or 89 credits, depending on which specific technical track the student chooses. Students can pursue the Crime Scene Investigation track or Forensic Computer Science track, but all students must complete 15 hours of general core courses and 27 hours of fundamental technical courses, like Inorganic Chemistry and Document and Report Preparation.
Associate Program: Forensic Science Technology: Students learn the basics to prepare them for entry-level careers or advanced study in areas like crime scene investigation, forensic computer science and evidence technology. The curriculum includes general math and science core courses, fundamental courses in anatomy and forensic science, and specific technical courses on either the Crime Scene Investigation track or the Forensic Computer Science track.
Florida International University : Online
Master in Forensic Science: The International Forensic Research Institute at Florida International University offers an online Master in Forensic Science degree. Eligible students will have a bachelor's degree in a natural science field and a 3.0 GPA in upper-level courses. The program requires completion of 32 credits including a thesis. Classes include Forensic Biology and Forensic Toxicology.
Alfred State SUNY College of Technology: Alfred, NY
Bachelor of Science Forensic Science Technology: This four-year bachelor's program allows students to pursue one of the following specialization tracks: biological applications with forensics or chemical practicalities of forensics. To graduate, students must complete a minimum of 121 total credit hours, including at least 46 upper division courses, and a mock trial capstone project. Technical elective courses include histotechniques, pathophysiology, genetic engineering, calculus II and essentials of pharmacology.
University of Illinois at Chicago: Chicago
Master of Science in Forensic Science: UIC's program is offered through the Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy, and students are expected to master the four forensic science laboratory disciplines -- biology/biochemistry; chemistry and trace evidence analysis; drug identification and toxicology; and pattern evidence -- and use high level analytical skills during their work. Students must complete 36 credit hours to graduate, including core courses like Forensic Chemistry, Expert Witness Testimony and Courtroom Demeanor, and Physical Pattern Evidence Analysis.
What is the Average Salary of a Forensic Science Technician?
Forensic science technicians are well-trained professionals and enjoy a healthy job outlook. The highest paid jobs are found with the federal executive branch of the government, though most jobs are offered through the local government, state government, substance abuse hospitals, and investigation and security services organizations. The average salary for a forensic science technician employed by the local government is an annual mean wage of $51,160, while federal executive branch technicians can earn $83,970 per year. States like Connecticut, California, Kansas, Virginia and New York pay the highest mean wages.
Resources to Read When Choosing a Forensic Science School
- Bureau of Labor Statistics Science Technicians: Read the BLS Science Technicians overview to learn about the general industry, educational requirements and projected job growth. You can also get an idea of the work culture and work environment of forensic science technicians, and the skills needed to be a forensic science technician.
- LifeWorks Forensic Science Technician: The National Institutes of Health Office of Science Education provides this job description and industry introduction for students wanting to become forensic scientists. You can read the job description, skills abilities and interests tab, and education requirements that describe the path you need to take to be successful.
- LA Times Career Counselor: The Los Angeles Times Career Counselor explains the skills needed to become a forensic science technician in this piece. She also describes the educational requirements and gives a recommendation for California residents who want to attend forensic science technician college in the area.
- How to Become a Forensic Scientist: The Universit of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Justice Sciences offers a valuable resource for students wanting to pursue a forensic science technician program. Their overview features a comparison between a forensic scientist and a crime scene technician. Students can also read about other forensic science careers and fields of study, like anthropology, psychology and pathology. Also included in the overview is a summary of the education requirements needed to find a job.