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Key Infor­ma­tion:

  • A degree in foren­sic sci­ence can lead to var­i­ous roles in law enforce­ment, crime lab analy­sis, and legal settings.
  • The study com­bines mul­ti­ple dis­ci­plines includ­ing chem­istry, biol­o­gy, psy­chol­o­gy, and law.
  • Foren­sic sci­ence pro­grams often require a deep under­stand­ing of sci­en­tif­ic and inves­tiga­tive techniques.

Foren­sic sci­ence is one of the fastest-grow­ing occu­pa­tion­al fields, as devel­op­ments in tech­nol­o­gy and crim­i­nol­o­gy have made crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tions high­ly tech­ni­cal and sci­en­tif­ic. The era of the “gut feel­ing” is long over – crimes are solved with sci­ence today, and thanks to shows like CSI, true-crime doc­u­men­taries, and inves­ti­ga­tion pod­casts, every­one wants to be a foren­sic sci­en­tist, and a foren­sic sci­ence degree is the place to start.

The study of foren­sic sci­ence uses inter­dis­ci­pli­nary tech­niques and spe­cial­ized pro­to­cols to appro­pri­ate­ly gath­er and scru­ti­nize data in sup­port (or refute) of poten­tial accu­sa­tions, which are most often decid­ed in a court­room or relat­ed legal set­ting. It’s an edu­ca­tion that is at once broad and high­ly spe­cial­ized, and stu­dents are turn­ing to crim­i­nal foren­sics in droves.


Do you find your­self wondering:

  • What can I do with a Foren­sic Sci­ence degree?
  • Is Foren­sic Sci­ence a good major for my career goals?
  • Is Foren­sic Sci­ence hard?
  • Is Foren­sic Sci­ence a good major?
  • What can I do with a Foren­sic Psy­chol­o­gy degree?

First, it is worth not­ing that with a degree in foren­sic sci­ence, you will be able to per­son­al­ly con­tribute to mak­ing the world a safer place by work­ing with mem­bers of law enforce­ment using cut­ting edge inves­tiga­tive techniques.

A Clear Forensic Science Definition

The field of Foren­sic Sci­ence began in Europe, dur­ing the lat­ter part of the 19th Cen­tu­ry. The use of the art of fin­ger­print­ing explod­ed when law enforce­ment pro­fes­sion­als real­ized the ease in which sci­en­tif­ic data facil­i­tat­ed the solv­ing of crim­i­nal investigations

A foren­sic sci­ence def­i­n­i­tion finds its roots in Latin. Foren­sis, which means a pub­lic forum or pub­lic dis­cus­sion that, is argu­men­ta­tive and rhetor­i­cal in nature. The word foren­sic has been used as a sub­sti­tute for the term “court-relat­ed” in the past. Recent­ly, though, the con­cept of foren­sics has evolved to include a strong sci­ence correlation.

Foren­sic Sci­ence encom­pass­es many fields of study that com­bine to define how sci­en­tif­ic knowl­edge and tech­nol­o­gy are used in the fields of crime and law. Those inter­est­ed can opt for col­lect­ing and cat­a­loging evi­den­tiary data, while oth­er stu­dents pre­fer posi­tions in crime labs ana­lyz­ing sci­en­tif­ic data.

Foren­sic Sci­ence is an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary approach that draws from the best prac­tices from the fields of:

  • Anthro­pol­o­gy
  • Biol­o­gy
  • Chem­istry
  • Engi­neer­ing
  • Genet­ics
  • Med­i­cine
  • Pathol­o­gy
  • Pathol­o­gy
  • Psy­chi­a­try
  • Tox­i­col­o­gy

So let’s answer the ques­tions not­ed above.

What can I do with a Foren­sic Sci­ence degree? A Foren­sic Sci­ence degree opens up a wide vari­ety of poten­tial occu­pa­tions as the pro­fes­sion using tech­niques from the fields of chem­istry, biol­o­gy, and com­put­er sci­ence, among many others.

Is Foren­sic Sci­ence a good major for my career goals? If one’s career objec­tives relate to the fields of law enforce­ment, tech­no­log­i­cal appli­ca­tions, or crime, then a major in Foren­sic Sci­ence is the right fit.

Is Foren­sic Sci­ence hard? The con­cept of dif­fi­cul­ty is rel­a­tive. That is, it is imprac­ti­cal to deter­mine ‘how hard’ the course­work will be with­out know­ing the inter­est­ed stu­dent. Stu­dents with incli­na­tions toward, sci­ence, law, and tech­nol­o­gy find a Foren­sic Sci­ence degree valuable.

Is Foren­sic Sci­ence a good major? For degree seek­ers who wish to work in the pri­vate or pub­lic safe­ty sec­tor, Foren­sic Sci­ence is a great major.

What can I do with a Foren­sic Psy­chol­o­gy degree? Foren­sic Psy­chol­o­gists find excit­ing careers as Vic­tim Advo­cates, Pro­ba­tion Offi­cers, Court Liaisons, or Law Enforce­ment professionals.

School and Program Accreditation for Forensic Science

Accred­i­ta­tion is the process by which insti­tu­tions of high­er learn­ing are assessed based upon a stan­dard­ized peer review. The Unit­ed States’ began accred­it­ing schools and pro­grams near the turn of the 20th Century.

Accred­i­ta­tion is per­formed by a neu­tral, ‘3rd-par­ty’ agency. Accred­i­ta­tion can cov­er gen­er­al divi­sions, depart­ments, and schools, or spe­cif­ic degree pro­grams. The process of accred­i­ta­tion is con­duct­ed by deter­min­ing if a school or pro­gram meets the stan­dards set forth by over­sight agen­cies and local law. From a student’s per­spec­tive, the accred­i­ta­tion process helps ensure the degree pro­gram meets the indus­try cri­te­ria, and thus, the stu­dent receives the edu­ca­tion promised.

In the Unit­ed States, accred­i­ta­tion denotes that the insti­tu­tion that a stu­dent is plan­ning to attend is rou­tine­ly assessed by an inde­pen­dent agency regard­ing the qual­i­ty and stan­dards of the edu­ca­tion it offers. There are two types of accred­i­ta­tion: the first type is insti­tu­tion­al, which refers to the entire insti­tu­tion of high­er learn­ing. The sec­ond accred­i­ta­tion is pro­gram-based and direct­ly relat­ed to indi­vid­ual pro­grams of study with­in a school.

Regional vs. National Accreditation

Region­al accred­i­ta­tion dif­fers from nation­al accred­i­ta­tion. The main dif­fer­ence between the two types of accred­i­ta­tion is that region­al­ly accred­it­ed cred­it hours are more wide­ly accept­ed and thus, more eas­i­ly transferable.

A region­al­ly accred­it­ed col­lege or uni­ver­si­ty is typ­i­cal­ly a school that is either aca­d­e­m­i­cal­ly ori­ent­ed, non-prof­it, and/or a state-owned insti­tu­tion. A region­al­ly accred­it­ed insti­tu­tion reluc­tant­ly accepts trans­fer cred­its from a nation­al­ly accred­it­ed insti­tu­tion. The fun­da­men­tal rea­son is due to the fact that a nation­al­ly accred­it­ed school has not met the more strin­gent cri­te­ria of region­al accreditation.

Region­al accred­it­ing agen­cies over­see a par­tic­u­lar geo­graph­ic region of the Unit­ed States. Some of these agen­cies pro­vide over­sight to larg­er region­al zones. Region­al accred­i­ta­tion agen­cies accred­it post­sec­ondary insti­tu­tions as well as pri­ma­ry and sec­ondary schools.

Nation­al­ly accred­it­ed schools are typ­i­cal­ly defined as for-prof­it schools pro­vid­ing degrees and cer­tifi­cates for those stu­dents inter­est­ed in a voca­tion­al career, reli­gious edu­ca­tion or tech­ni­cal pro­grams. Nation­al­ly accred­it­ed schools gen­er­al­ly accept earned semes­ter cred­its from oth­er nation­al­ly accred­it­ed schools and region­al­ly accred­it­ed schools.

Program Accreditation

The Foren­sic Sci­ence Edu­ca­tion Pro­grams Accred­i­ta­tion Com­mis­sion (FEPAC)is tasked with the respon­si­bil­i­ty of main­tain­ing and enhanc­ing the integri­ty of the edu­ca­tion for foren­sic sci­ence. This is accom­plished by rou­tine for­mal assess­ments by a foren­sic edu­ca­tion over­sight agency.

FEPAC’s accred­i­ta­tion applies to region­al­ly accred­it­ed uni­ver­si­ties and schools. FEPAC’s mis­sion is set forth rig­or­ous stan­dards and agreed-upon stan­dards that define a high-qual­i­ty foren­sic sci­ence pro­gram and to man­age an accred­i­ta­tion process that iden­ti­fies notable pro­grams for stu­dents seek­ing a bac­calau­re­ate degree and/or a mas­ter lev­el degree.

Types of Forensic Science Degrees

The sheer num­ber of Foren­sic Sci­ence career pos­si­bil­i­ties is impres­sive. This is due to the fact that foren­sic sci­en­tists who hold a com­put­er foren­sics degree have been trained as experts in a cross-dis­ci­pli­nary field that part­ners with the tech­niques that relate to law, sci­ence, psy­chol­o­gy, tech­nol­o­gy, chem­istry, and biol­o­gy, among oth­ers. The field of foren­sic sci­ence offers career oppor­tu­ni­ties that require tremen­dous amounts of numer­i­cal analy­sis. The same field of study also offers cut­ting-edge careers that inter­pret data and evi­dence in an effort to come to a truth­ful con­clu­sion. And for the psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly mind­ed stu­dent, check out the avail­able foren­sic psy­chol­o­gy online courses.

Finding the Right Forensic Science Major Offered by a Forensic Science University

Are you con­sid­er­ing apply­ing to one of the many qual­i­ty Foren­sic Psy­chol­o­gy schools or a pro­gram offered by a Foren­sic Sci­ence Uni­ver­si­ty? Or maybe you are inter­est­ed in study­ing from a Crime Scene Inves­ti­ga­tor school instead? Do crime Scene Inves­ti­ga­tion col­leges offer spe­cial­ty pro­grams that include advanced stud­ies in a for a Com­put­er Foren­sic Degree pro­gram, a foren­sic Chem­istry degree, or a Foren­sic Psy­chol­o­gy Degree pro­gram. Have you recent­ly googled the phras­es ‘Foren­sic Sci­ence degree near me’ or ‘Where to Study Foren­sic Science’?

If so, your search for a pro­gram relat­ed to foren­sic sci­ence bach­e­lor degree pro­grams from crime scene inves­ti­ga­tor col­leges has just begun. And the good news is that these foren­sic sci­ence bach­e­lor degree pro­grams are eas­i­ly acces­si­ble from the best uni­ver­si­ties for foren­sic sci­ence in the world. There are numer­ous crime scene inves­ti­ga­tor schools from which to select a spe­cial­ty and the choice remains yours, and yours alone.

Tra­di­tion­al ‘brick and mor­tar’ schools offer face-to-face instruc­tion for stu­dents vying for a Bach­e­lors in Foren­sic Sci­ence degree. A Foren­sic Sci­ence major has the option to select from numer­ous areas and con­cen­tra­tions that include a Foren­sic Chem­istry degree, a Com­put­er Foren­sics degree, a Crime Scene inves­ti­ga­tion degree, or a Dig­i­tal Foren­sics degree.

Crime Scene Inves­ti­ga­tion: Def­i­n­i­tion – A crime scene inves­ti­ga­tion degree pre­pares stu­dents to work in the field as crime scene inves­ti­ga­tors. In addi­tion to the basics of foren­sics, edu­ca­tion for a crime scene inves­ti­ga­tor require­ments include a strong under­stand­ing of law (so inves­ti­ga­tions are done accord­ing to reg­u­la­tion) and of the crim­i­nal jus­tice system.

Digital/Computer Foren­sics: Def­i­n­i­tion – A dig­i­tal foren­sics degree gives stu­dents a strong ground­ing in com­put­er sci­ence, but espe­cial­ly in areas like cyber­se­cu­ri­ty. Dig­i­tal foren­sics degree require­ments would include high­ly spe­cial­ized train­ing in data analy­sis, nation­al and inter­na­tion­al law, and areas like finance and mon­ey laun­der­ing, since much dig­i­tal foren­sics is about com­bat­ing white-col­lar crime.

Foren­sic Chem­istry: Def­i­n­i­tion – A Foren­sic Chem­istry degree pro­gram requires the basics of any chem­istry degree, but with spe­cial focus on the ele­ments of chem­istry that relate most close­ly to crim­i­nal jus­tice. All sorts of chem­i­cal knowl­edge can help solve crimes, from poi­sons and gun­pow­der to unex­pect­ed com­pounds that can indi­cate cause of death or crim­i­nal cover-ups.

Foren­sic Psy­chol­o­gy: Def­i­n­i­tion – A Foren­sic Psy­chol­o­gy online degree offers an online foren­sic psy­chol­o­gy degree that delves into the many facets of human nature and behav­ior. Course­work in Foren­sic Psy­chol­o­gy schools focus­es on the ways in which it impacts the psy­chol­o­gy def­i­n­i­tion and crime scene pro­ce­dures. Col­leges that offer foren­sic sci­ence majors in psy­chol­o­gy very often pro­vide foren­sic sci­ence online cours­es free; should a stu­dent have no need for col­lege cred­its. Online Foren­sic Psy­chol­o­gy degrees open career oppor­tu­ni­ties for those inter­est­ed in the world of psy­chol­o­gy, law, and crime.

Crime scene inves­ti­ga­tor require­ments and Foren­sic Sci­ence degree require­ments are set by the schools that offer the dig­i­tal foren­sics degree; whether on-cam­pus or online counterpart.

Online Forensic Science Courses & Bachelors in Forensic Science Degree Programs

For stu­dents who require a more flex­i­ble approach to crime scene inves­ti­ga­tor train­ing, there are many qual­i­fied, accred­it­ed online foren­sic sci­ence bach­e­lor degree pro­grams to choose from. There are Foren­sic Psy­chol­o­gy online cours­es or a Crime Scene Inves­ti­ga­tion degree that is avail­able by some offered by some of the best uni­ver­si­ties for foren­sic sci­ence in the world.

Most crime scene inves­ti­ga­tor col­leges that offer foren­sic sci­ence majors have devel­oped online foren­sic sci­ence cours­es and pro­grams to pro­vide stu­dents with the flex­i­bil­i­ty and con­ve­nience need­ed to accom­mo­date busy pro­fes­sion­als. So, it is like­ly that stu­dents, who wish to study for a foren­sic sci­ence degree online, will eas­i­ly meet their objec­tive of find­ing the right foren­sic psy­chol­o­gy degree (or an online foren­sic sci­ence cer­tifi­cate) by a quick inter­net search. With­in min­utes stu­dents will be able to iden­ti­fy online foren­sic sci­ence bach­e­lor degrees that meet their requirements.

A foren­sic sci­ence major that has earned their foren­sic sci­ence degree online-from a foren­sic sci­ence uni­ver­si­ty — has the option to select from sev­er­al spe­cial­ty dis­ci­plines. Remem­ber to con­sid­er the foren­sic sci­ence degree require­ments and the crime scene inves­ti­ga­tor require­ments when con­sid­er­ing crime scene inves­ti­ga­tor col­leges or crime scene inves­ti­ga­tor train­ing programs.

Earning a Forensic Science Bachelor Degree Online

A foren­sic sci­en­tist has the option of study­ing in a brick and mor­tar class­room or by study­ing on a flex­i­ble dis­tance-learn­ing plat­form. While many stu­dents choose the more tra­di­tion­al path to earn their foren­sic sci­ence bach­e­lor degree (i.e. on-cam­pus), increas­ing amounts of stu­dent now choose among the many and var­ied dis­tance learn­ing degrees.

Upon com­plet­ing online foren­sic psy­chol­o­gy degrees, stu­dents have gained the knowl­edge required to under­stand a dig­i­tal foren­sics def­i­n­i­tion, a crime scene inves­ti­ga­tor def­i­n­i­tion, and the over­all com­put­er sci­ence definition.

Whether you are vying to delve into the com­plex­i­ties of a com­put­er foren­sics def­i­n­i­tion, search­ing for the per­fect crime scene inves­ti­ga­tor edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ty or sim­ply want to begin a foren­sic psy­chol­o­gy online degree, you can be cer­tain there will be an online foren­sic sci­ence bach­e­lor degree that sets you on a path to reach for your dream job.

Certifications and Licenses for Forensic Science Careers

To move for­ward towards a suc­cess­ful career in com­put­er foren­sics, stu­dents and pro­fes­sion­als need to rec­og­nize that employ­ers pre­fer to hire foren­sic sci­ence majors who hold a com­put­er foren­sics cer­ti­fi­ca­tion or a dig­i­tal foren­sics certification.

These cer­ti­fi­ca­tions speak to a poten­tial employee’s skills and pro­fes­sion­al­ism. Hold­ing a pro­fes­sion­al cer­ti­fi­ca­tion ensures an employee’s edu­ca­tion and expe­ri­ence are up-to-date regard­ing cut­ting-edge tech­nol­o­gy and emerg­ing dig­i­tal and cyber threats. Con­sid­er earn­ing one of the many foren­sic sci­ence cer­ti­fi­ca­tions avail­able in the indus­try as not­ed below.

ISC2: The Inter­na­tion­al Infor­ma­tion Sys­tem Secu­ri­ty Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Con­sor­tium (ISC) is a non-prof­it asso­ci­a­tion ded­i­cat­ed to the train­ing of and the pro­vi­sions of dig­i­tal foren­sics cer­ti­fi­ca­tions as well as com­put­er foren­sics cer­ti­fi­ca­tions. Most rec­og­nize ISC as the pre­em­i­nent, influ­en­tial IT secu­ri­ty orga­ni­za­tion of pro­fes­sion­als in the cyber­se­cu­ri­ty industry.

The need for an inde­pen­dent cer­ti­fi­ca­tion watch­dog arose in the 1980s when indus­try experts rec­og­nized cyber security’s incred­i­ble growth and mount­ing impact on busi­ness­es and gov­ern­men­tal enti­ties. Between the 1900s and today, sev­er­al cer­ti­fi­ca­tions were borne from the idea. Note, sev­er­al cer­ti­fi­ca­tions have been renamed and/or upgraded.

  • Cer­ti­fied Autho­riza­tion Pro­fes­sion­al (CAP)
  • Cer­ti­fied Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems Secu­ri­ty Pro­fes­sion­al (CISSP)*
  • Cer­ti­fied Secure Soft­ware Life­cy­cle Pro­fes­sion­al (CCSLP)
  • Health­care Infor­ma­tion Secu­ri­ty and Pri­va­cy Prac­ti­tion­er (HCISP)
  • Sys­tems Secu­ri­ty Cer­ti­fied Prac­ti­tion­er (SSCP)

* CISSP cer­ti­fi­ca­tion offers sev­er­al sub­spe­cial­ties that include the Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems Secu­ri­ty Man­age­ment Pro­fes­sion­al (ISSMP), the Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems Secu­ri­ty Archi­tec­ture Pro­fes­sion­al (ISSAP), or the Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems Secu­ri­ty Engi­neer­ing Pro­fes­sion­al (ISSEP)

Each and every ISC Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion hold­er must com­plete a pre-deter­mined set of con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion annu­al­ly, to main­tain active cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. There are a num­ber of ways to earn the required cer­ti­fi­ca­tion cred­its. This can be accom­plished by attend­ing IT events, con­tribut­ing indus­try-relat­ed nar­ra­tives to pro­fes­sion­al mag­a­zines or by review­ing books and oth­er foren­sic sci­ence materials.

Addi­tion­al­ly, ISC Offers an Asso­ciate of ISC Des­ig­na­tion, which ben­e­fits those cyber­se­cu­ri­ty pro­fes­sion­als who are cur­rent­ly on a path to earn their cer­ti­fi­ca­tion but do not have enough expe­ri­ence to obtain a cer­tifi­cate yet. An asso­ciates degree is a great way to gain expe­ri­ence and indus­try skills while work­ing toward the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of their choice.

Ethical Requirements

Pro­fes­sion­als who hold a pro­fes­sion­al cer­ti­fi­ca­tion issued by ISC must adhere to a code of ethics. Fail­ure to do so will result in an ethics pan­el review by one’s peers. The con­clu­sion of the peer review could poten­tial­ly lead to the revo­ca­tion of a pre­vi­ous­ly issued ISC certification.

It is not­ed that one of the orig­i­nal cer­ti­fi­ca­tions — (CCFP) — issued by the indus­try is no longer avail­able. Pro­fes­sion­als can now choose from the vary­ing cer­tifi­cate options with­in the com­put­er foren­sics cer­ti­fi­ca­tion or the dig­i­tal foren­sics certification.

Careers in Forensic Sciences: What Can You Do with a Degree in Forensic Science?

Now that you have your degree, what can you do with a foren­sic sci­ence degree? Foren­sic sci­ence degree jobs in most sec­tors of the econ­o­my. Crime Scene inves­ti­ga­tor jobs are in high demand from both the pub­lic and pri­vate seg­ments across the coun­try. They can be found in rur­al, sub­ur­ban and urban settings.

A Foren­sic Sci­ence tech­ni­cian will find reward­ing careers as a com­put­er foren­sics ana­lyst, a crime scene tech­ni­cian or, a com­put­er foren­sics inves­ti­ga­tor. With­in the health­care sec­tor, a foren­sic sci­ence tech­ni­cian has the oppor­tu­ni­ty to select from var­i­ous foren­sic psy­chol­o­gy careers, com­put­er foren­sics jobs, crime scene tech­ni­cian jobs, and foren­sic psy­chol­o­gy jobs.

Crime scene inves­ti­ga­tion jobs offer employ­ment in the fields of law and police work. A crime scene tech­ni­cian will also find gain­ful employ­ment by search­ing with­in avail­able foren­sic chem­istry jobs posts and deter­min­ing which foren­sic chemist job descrip­tion best fits their career objectives.

Dig­i­tal foren­sic jobs, accord­ing to the Amer­i­can Acad­e­my of Foren­sic Sci­ences, are divid­ed into a vari­ety of foren­sic sci­ence jobs.

What Jobs Can I Get with a Forensic Science Degree?

What jobs can you get with a foren­sic sci­ence degree? The most pop­u­lar crime scene inves­ti­ga­tion jobs are shown below:

Crime Scene Inves­ti­ga­tor — Crime scene inves­ti­ga­tor jobs or crime scene tech­ni­cian jobs are what we typ­i­cal­ly think of as foren­sics – gath­er­ing evi­dence, tak­ing pho­tographs, cre­at­ing mod­els, estab­lish­ing time­lines, and oth­er on-the-scene investigation.

Digital/Computer Foren­sics — Dig­i­tal foren­sic jobs are found in the many lev­els of gov­ern­ment and in the busi­ness sec­tor. Their spe­cial­ty is used to sup­port crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tions by ana­lyz­ing com­put­er sys­tems, search­ing for the iden­ti­ty of hack­ers, and solv­ing crimes involv­ing tech­nol­o­gy. They fre­quent­ly work in white-col­lar crime investigations.

Foren­sic Chem­istry — Foren­sic chem­istry jobs are avail­able in a med­ical examiner’s office, crime labs, and/or police depart­ments. Foren­sic chemists use their knowl­edge of chem­istry to ana­lyze every­thing from gun­pow­der residue to poi­sons and drugs.

Foren­sic Psy­chol­o­gy — Foren­sic psy­chol­o­gy careers apply the prin­ci­ples of foren­sic sci­ence with psy­cho­log­i­cal the­o­ries and tech­niques. Foren­sic psy­chol­o­gist may use their exper­tise to cre­ate a psy­cho­log­i­cal mod­el of a sus­pect, deter­mine motives, and under­stand the mind­set of a sus­pect when they com­mit­ted a crime. Foren­sic psy­chol­o­gy jobs are also avail­able prep­ping vic­tims and wit­ness­es to tes­ti­fy in court.

Your career path can go even far­ther with a master’s degree. Fur­ther job oppor­tu­ni­ties and career options include:

  • Foren­sic accountant
  • Foren­sic investigators
  • Foren­sic pathologist
  • Foren­sic engineers
  • Foren­sic anthropologist
  • Foren­sic nurse

In grad­u­ate pro­grams, you will learn more about how to trace evi­dence, bal­lis­tics, autop­sies, foren­sic tox­i­col­o­gy, DNA analy­sis, crim­i­nal­is­tics, and oth­er sci­en­tif­ic meth­ods of work­ing with phys­i­cal evi­dence. A spe­cial­iza­tion like mol­e­c­u­lar biol­o­gy or nat­ur­al sci­ences can expand your options even more.

Salary Expectations in Forensic Science

The field of foren­sic sci­ence is an ultra-fast-grow­ing indus­try. In fact, accord­ing to the fed­er­al government’s Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics, it is esti­mat­ed that the growth of the foren­sic sci­ence indus­try (and thus, the num­ber of crime sci­ence inves­ti­ga­tors need­ed) will out­pace the aver­age rate of all indus­tries combined.

A foren­sic sci­ence degree salary aver­age for 2017 was $57,850, or $27.81 per hour. How­ev­er, that doesn’t take into account the diver­si­ty and vari­ety of jobs in foren­sic sci­ence. Salaries can vary great­ly. Accord­ing to Payscale, aver­age foren­sic sci­ence jobs pay:

Crime Scene Inves­ti­ga­tor Salary: Crime Scene Inves­ti­ga­tors make an aver­age of $45,000 per year.
Digital/Computer Foren­sics Salary: The aver­age Foren­sic Com­put­er Ana­lyst makes around $71,000 annu­al­ly.
Foren­sic Chemist Salary: A Foren­sic Chemist will make around $55,000 on aver­age.
Foren­sic Psy­chol­o­gy Salary: Foren­sic Psy­chol­o­gists can expect to make some­thing on the order of $64,000 a year.

Of course, a crime scene inves­ti­ga­tion salary increas­es as a foren­sic technician’s expe­ri­ence grows, or, a more advanced degree.

The crime scene inves­ti­ga­tor salary requires a tech­ni­cian to work inde­pen­dent­ly in the field, the office or a crime sci­ence lab­o­ra­to­ry. Remem­ber, though, that a com­put­er foren­sics salary will be sim­i­lar, but nev­er will be the same when com­pared with a dig­i­tal foren­sics salary or a foren­sic chemist salary, for that mat­ter. Each crime scene job has its own required set of skills.

The major­i­ty of crime scene oppor­tu­ni­ties offer employ­ees ben­e­fits that include med­ical and den­tal insur­ance, paid time off (PTO), dis­abil­i­ty insur­ance, paid con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion, and var­i­ous forms of retire­ment planning.

Professional Organizations in Forensic Science and Criminal Justice

Pro­fes­sion­al orga­ni­za­tions in foren­sics, like asso­ci­a­tions in oth­er occu­pa­tions and indus­tries, serve many pur­pos­es. First, and fore­most, the mem­bers of an orga­ni­za­tion give back to the foren­sic sci­ence com­mu­ni­ty; they make a dif­fer­ence. Orga­ni­za­tions work towards a com­mon objec­tive with many mem­bers. The com­bined effort of many orga­ni­za­tions cre­ates enough influ­ence to effec­tu­ate change.

A pro­fes­sion­al orga­ni­za­tion offers pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment cours­es and cer­tifi­cate-grant­i­ng class­es, which are required as set forth by state stan­dards. They also orga­nize job mar­ket plat­forms for mem­bers in search of a job. The field of foren­sic sci­ence has sev­er­al pro­fes­sion­al orga­ni­za­tions, each serv­ing a spe­cif­ic purpose.

The Amer­i­can Acad­e­my of Foren­sic Sci­ences: The Amer­i­can Acad­e­my of Foren­sic Sci­ences’ (AAFS) pur­pose is to pro­vide effec­tive lead­er­ship while con­tribut­ing towards the advance­ment of foren­sic sci­ence and how it applies to the law. The AAFS stands for pro­fes­sion­al­ism, edu­ca­tion, and research through a col­lab­o­ra­tive effort by foren­sic sci­en­tists. Their indus­try bench­marks set the stan­dard regard­ing com­pe­ten­cy, ethics, and integrity.

The Char­tered Soci­ety of Foren­sic Sci­ences: The Char­tered Soci­ety of Foren­sic Sci­ences (The Soci­ety or CSFS) is a world­wide pro­fes­sion­al orga­ni­za­tion with foren­sic sci­en­tists mem­bers rep­re­sent­ing more than 55 countries.

The Con­sor­tium of Foren­sic Sci­ence Orga­ni­za­tions (CFSO) con­sists of six mem­ber orga­ni­za­tions in the field of foren­sic sci­ence. The con­sor­tium was estab­lished in 2000 and togeth­er, it rep­re­sents more than 20,000 foren­sic sci­en­tists in the nation. Mem­ber orga­ni­za­tions include:

  • Amer­i­can Acad­e­my of Foren­sic Sciences
  • Amer­i­can Acad­e­my of Psy­chi­a­try & Law
  • Amer­i­can Soci­ety of Crime Lab Directors
  • Inter­na­tion­al Asso­ci­a­tion for Identification
  • Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Med­ical Examiners
  • Soci­ety of Foren­sic Toxicologists

The Con­sor­tium of Foren­sic Sci­ence Orga­ni­za­tions was cre­at­ed to speak with a uni­fied voice of foren­sic sci­ence pro­fes­sion­als in regard to the mod­i­fi­ca­tion of nation­al pub­lic pol­i­cy, and to advo­cate for the gov­ern­men­tal fund­ing of crime labs in the pub­lic sec­tor, among oth­er issues.

The Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Med­ical Exam­in­ers: The Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Med­ical Exam­in­ers (NAME) is a non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tion that was estab­lished over a hun­dred years ago. This pro­fes­sion­al orga­ni­za­tion man­ages the Unit­ed States Med­ical Licens­ing Exam­i­na­tion (USMLE), a foren­sic sci­ence pro­fes­sion­al license process and database.

The Soci­ety of Foren­sic Tox­i­col­o­gists: Mem­bers adhere to the guid­ing prin­ci­ples set forth by the Soci­ety of Foren­sic Tox­i­col­o­gists (SOFT). These guid­ing doc­trines include Pro­fes­sion­al­ism, Clear Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Pro­fi­cien­cy, and Eth­i­cal Compliance.