Forensic Science Degree
What is Forensic Science?
Forensic is defined as belonging to, used in or suitable to courts of law, or to public discussion or debate. So forensic science is bringing science into the public or courts for discussion and debates. However, most people equate forensic science, or forensics, as the search for evidence, analyzing evidence, and presenting the evidence in court for a criminal case. Forensic scientists apply scientific methods and techniques to finding evidence and analyzing the evidence. There are two main places a forensic scientist can gather and examine evidence. The first place is at the scene of the crime. The second and more common place is in a lab. Investigators will bring in the evidence for the scientists. Forensic scientists use a variety of methods to analyze evidence: run physical and chemical analyses, use complex instruments, apply scientific and mathematical theories, and use multiple problem solving methods. So how does one get into this field? There are multiple ways to becoming a forensic scientist. One popular and the most direct path is to earn a forensic science degree.
Where can I get a Forensic Science Degree?
Many four year universities offer a bachelor’s of science forensic science degree. There are multiple on-campus programs to choose from, so finding the right fit is important. If a school does not offer a specific forensic science degree they may offer other degrees in criminal justice, chemistry, or biology with a concentration in forensic science. However, a criminal justice degree with a concentration in forensic science may not be sufficient to get a job in some labs because criminal justice is not considered a true, natural science. Be sure the program offers enough lab classes and hands-on field work. If attending a four year university full time will not work into your schedule then consider taking classes online to earn your degree. Online degrees are becoming more and more popular, and the ability to earn a degree from a school that is not close by is appealing to many students. Earning an online degree allows you to work with local agencies and labs to complete coursework; therefore, you will have many contacts when you graduate.
What courses do I have to take to earn a Forensic Science Degree?
There will be many science and law courses you will have to take to earn your forensic science degree. You will have to take several law courses like Introduction to Law, criminal justice system, law enforcement, criminal law, legal writing, and courts system. Since forensic science is a science, you will have to take courses in biology and chemistry and complete lab work. Depending on what you plan to focus on will determine what types of chemistry and biology classes you have to take. For example, if you want to focus on DNA then take more classes in molecular biology and genetics. If you want to focus on drug and physical evidence then take more classes in analytical and instrumental chemistry. You may also have to take classes in anthropology if you want to focus on crime scenes.
How do I pay for my Forensic Science Degree?
Paying for school is a huge financial burden. Many students cannot afford to pay for school out of their own pockets. Financial aid is available for students who want to seek a forensic science degree. The options for financial aid include scholarships, grants, and loans. Scholarships and grants are the best option because you do not have to worry about paying back these awards. If you have exhausted your search for scholarships and grants then you can apply for loans from the government, banks, and other financial institutions.
What can I expect after receiving my Forensic Science Degree?
Getting your forensic science degree can lead to many different kinds of jobs. The jobs you can go after are crime scene analysts, crime laboratory analysts, medical examiner, police officer, field technicians, forensic anthropologists, forensic engineers, forensic toxicologists, computer forensics, forensic pathologists, and many other careers. The number and types of employers is just as numerous. You can choose to work for police agencies, legal firms, private security, federal agencies, and state agencies. The amount you can earn depends on the type of position you have, who you work for, where you work, and your experience. One example is that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics a forensic science technician earned an average of $52,960 in 2008. If you would like to earn more, then seeking a MSFS degree is highly recommended.