How Long Does Forensic Science Technician School Take?
Forensic science technicians work in crime scenes, gathering evidence and taking photographs of the scene in order to help law enforcement authorities get to the bottom of a case. They also run a laboratory analysis of the evidence gathered so that the results can aid in the investigation. They also reconstruct crime scenes and explain their findings to the law enforcement personnel who are investigating the case.
If you are interested in a career as a forensic science technician, you will need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or biology. There are also some schools that offer an undergraduate degree specifically in forensic science or forensic science technology. These provide a more direct preparation for a career as a forensic science technician. Bachelor’s degrees typically take four years to complete.
Alfred State College offers a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science Technology which is a four-year program that gives a strong foundation in chemistry, physics, microbiology, genetics and math. These courses are crucial preparations to the field of forensic science. A Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science is also offered at the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science at the University of New Haven. Students are allowed to choose either chemistry or biology as their emphasis area in this undergraduate degree that requires 125 to 126 credits to complete.
Many forensic science technicians don’t just stop at a bachelor’s degree. They also obtain a master’s degree in the field. These programs typically take a couple of years to complete. At the University of Alabama Birmingham, the Master of Science in Forensic Science (MSFS) program applies scientific methods and technologies to the legal process. Another postgraduate degree program in the field is offered by Boston University. The MS in Biomedical Forensic Sciences provides ample training in the field of investigating crime scenes and gathering evidence. For those who want to focus their forensic science career in computer crimes, the 30-credit MS in Forensic Science- High Technology Crime program at the University of Baltimore provides ample preparation. Students are expected to be proficient in investigating crimes involving computers and digital information, a fast-growing area today due to the increasing reliance of companies in computer systems and information technology.
In addition to the educational preparation necessary to perform the tasks of the job, forensic science technicians also get more training when they are first hired. They are often assigned under the jurisdiction of experienced technicians who teach them methods of gathering evidence and preparing documentation.
For students who want to take their education further because they are gunning for leadership positions in a crime laboratory or want to teach in the academe, pursuing doctoral studies will be necessary. The University of Rhode Island, for example, offers the PhD in Computer Science with a focus on Digital Forensics for forensic science technicians who also want to work as professors. PhD programs take anywhere from 4 to 6 years to complete for fulltime students. PhD programs typically require completion of a master’s degree although there are some that would admit students who have obtained their bachelor’s degree.