The forensic sciences cover a wide range of specialties from fingerprinting to chemical analysis and almost everything in between. A degree in any forensic Science can lead you to a very fulfilling career where you are assisting various organizations in law enforcement, anthropology, and other fields. This particular degree choice has boomed among students in the past few years due to the popularity of television shows such as CSI, Law & Order, and NCIS but forensic scientists are still in very high demand all across the United States and Internationally.
The high demand for people with a forensic science degree is due to population growth and crime rates that tend to rise in densely populated areas. This calls for more law enforcement agents and crime labs. Another area that is seeing increased need for forensic scientists is archeology. Each year, new discoveries are made that demand the expertise of those trained in forensics to help identify remains that could be thousands of years old. Some of the most common forensic science degrees are forensic science and technologies, forensic psychology, crime scene investigation, and computer forensics.
Forensic Science and Technologies
This degree is a broad degree that covers every aspect that you will encounter in any given forensics field. You will learn crime scene investigation, fingerprinting techniques, computer data recovery, and much more with this degree. This program focuses heavily on procedures and the application of laws and regulations to ensure the accurate collection of data. While this degree isn’t as specialized as some of the other degrees, you can get both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in forensic science and technologies. This degree is perfect for someone who is very interested in this field but doesn’t want to specialize in one particular area. It’s also a great starting point to find out if you want to specialize or not.
This degree is often confused with a forensic science degree, but they aren’t the same thing at all. A forensic psychologist uses psychological perspectives and applies them directly to matters of the criminal justice system. This degree isn’t offered at very many schools but is usually a combination of criminal justice and psychology courses. The forensic psychologist is most widely recognized as the person who determines if someone was insane or not at the time of a crime. They deal heavily with policies, laws, and interaction with accused criminals and the mentally ill.
Crime Scene Investigation
Crime scene investigation is a very broad term that can cover numerous degrees including forensic technology. Some schools have eliminated a lot of extra courses and offered a certificate and associate’s degree in this field as well as a bachelor’s degree. The certificate and associate’s programs available may appeal to a lot of people because the actual amount of coursework is cut significantly so you can begin your career much faster. Degrees and certificates for crime scene investigators can be called criminal investigations, crime scene evidence tech, criminal justice with CSI certificate, and similar titles.
Computer forensics is a relatively new field, and many schools will offer this degree as part of an information technology degree. The most common information technology degrees that can lead to working in the computer forensics field are IT security, systems security, Internet security, and cyber security. Whether you technically get a “computer forensics” degree or end up having to get a full information technology degree will depend on the school, you attend because this field is just now getting the full attention it deserves. With this degree, however, you have the opportunity to work in close cooperation with law enforcement agents on the local, state, and federal levels and work as a computer forensics specialist, IT investigator, Counterintelligence Analyst, and many more highly technical areas. This specialty area of the forensics field is one of the most highly paid and is in very high demand.
While this article covers the more traditional degrees in the forensic sciences, there are many areas you can specialize in such as DNA analysis, entomology, chemistry, and even mathematics. Many of these specialty areas will require a bit more schooling but will guarantee you will be in high demand and get the best salaries possible. Most forensic science degrees will require you to spend some time as an intern with a local agency where you will work hands-on with professionals until you are experienced and ready to go. You can take many forensics classes online if you prefer to go to school at your convenience and each school will offer a different type of degree. Make sure the school you select is accredited and if they offer internship placement and job placement, that’s always a bonus!