Forensic Science Degrees

The Advantages To Earning An Online Forensic Science Degree

The field of forensic science is an important aspect of the criminal justice system. Professionals in the field are responsible for collecting, analyzing, and reporting evidence during an investigation. Individuals interested in a career in forensic science may gain the knowledge necessary to meet professional and personal goals by expanding their education within an online program. A forensic science degree gives students a solid educational background necessary to function as a qualified professional within the field.

As many students manage work or family responsibilities while completing their degree, many colleges and universities have developed online forensic science degree programs. Online degree programs provide nearly the same educational experience as their traditional, on campus counterparts. Online courses give groups of 25 students virtually the same class materials, instruction, and information as on-campus courses. Online courses generally consist of groups of 25 students with 24 hour access to course materials and information. Online courses also give students the added benefit of flexibility in course scheduling and one on one access to classmates and instructors through Internet chats. Online forensic science degree programs are often one of the best paths to advance personal and educational goals necessary to build successful careers.

What Students Learn Within An Online Forensic Science Degree

Students enrolled within an online forensic science degree program gain the skills and training necessary to work within the criminal justice field as qualified investigators. Students pursuing a forensic science degree learn how the criminal justice system functions, the methods of collecting and reporting evidence, and other skills necessary for employment. Graduates with a forensic science degree collect, classify, identify, and analyze evidence related to criminal investigations. They also perform tests on weapons and substances to determine its relationship to a crime within an investigation. Most forensic science degree graduates report their findings by serving as expert witnesses during investigations.

Students enrolled in an online associate’s degree program within forensic science participate in courses like: introduction to criminal justice; introduction to law enforcement; criminal investigation; criminal evidence and procedure; criminalistics; forensic science; computer forensics essentials; advanced computer forensics; introduction to sociology; introduction to psychology; basic photography; biology; anatomy and physiology; and chemistry.

Graduates who complete a two year degree in forensic science may advance to entry level employment or higher degree programs. Courses at a bachelor degree level within the discipline of forensic science include: comparative criminal justice system; crime victim studies; constitutional law; cultural diversity in criminal justice; ethics and criminal justice; criminal justice research methods; applied statistics; advanced topics in corrections; criminalistics; aspects of forensic psychology; medical and legal death investigation; cybercrimes; human anatomy and physiology; physical evidence; analytical instrumentation; behavior science; blood distribution and splatter; and chemistry.

Graduates who complete a bachelor degree program in forensic science may advance to employment or advanced degree programs. Students enrolled in a master degree program within the field of forensic science participate in courses like: biological evidence and serology; forensic toxicology; literature survey in forensic science; principles of forensic science; applied statistics in forensic science; biosecurity and microbial forensics; weapons of mass destruction; advanced criminalistics; blood distribution and splatter; drug biotransformation and molecular mechanisms of toxicity; environmental forensics; forensic analysis of DNA; forensic genetics; forensic anthropology; forensic immunology; forensic medicine; general toxicology; forensic toxicology; molecular biology and genetics; mammalian pharmacology; natural medicinal products; medicinal chemistry of drugs of abuse’ metabolic biochemistry; pharmaceutical analysis; structure and function of necleotides; synthetic medicinal chemistry’ toxic substances’ forensic entomology; and organic structure elucidation.

Graduates from a masters degree program in forensic science often qualify for research or consulting positions. Other graduates may advance to doctoral degree programs within the field of forensic science to become experts in the field upon completing a degree in a related field with a concentration in forensic science. Courses at a doctoral level include core courses in chemistry, law, biochemistry, or a related field with specialized courses like: analysis of forensic evidence; chromatography, forensic toxicology; pharmacological analysis; mass spectrometry; fundamental DNA typing; and trace analysis.

Graduates of a doctoral degree program are considered experts in the field of forensic science and work as lead researchers within facilities or as professors within universities and colleges. Many graduates refine their skills with specialized courses related to ballistics, DNA analysis, substances, and related fields to expand and specialize education necessary for future employment.

Prospective Jobs For Forensic Science Degree Graduates

Graduates from forensic science degree may gain employment within a variety of fields related to criminal justice and law. Factors like geographic location, level of education, area/s of specialty, and related work experience impact prospective jobs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) expects job growth to increase by 20 percent and at a much faster rate than other occupations through 2018. The BLS reports that growth is due to technological advances, the increase in applications of forensic science techniques (like DNA analysis), and changes in the criminal justice system. Jobs opportunities for state and local governments are expected to be most favorable for graduates with forensic science degrees. Additionally, graduates who gain on the job work experience are preferred over candidates without hands on training. Graduates with associate’s degrees may work as assistants to forensic science technicians within state or local crime labs and in the field collecting evidence from crime scenes. Graduates who obtain a bachelor degree in forensic science often work as technicians within state and local crime labs analyzing and collecting evidence then reporting findings to other experts, technicians, investigators, and law professionals. Graduates who obtain masters degrees in forensic science often work as independent consultants and experts within the field. Graduate with doctoral degrees specialized in forensic science generally work as professors within colleges, universities, or police academies. Many also work as researchers within crime labs and other facilities.

Salary For Graduates With A Forensic Science Degree

Graduates who complete a degree program in forensic science earn salaries dependent upon organization of employment, the level of education obtained, related work experience, and other specialized skills. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports the average median salary of forensic scientists ranges from $51,490 to $ 72,990 annually. Graduates who earn advanced degrees and those who work for unionized or governmental agencies often have higher earnings in comparison to those with lesser degrees who are employed within other fields.

Career Outlook And Advancement For Graduates With A Forensic Science Degree

Graduates with forensic science degrees are expected to have stable and steady job opportunities per reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS). The demand for qualified professionals within the field of forensic science is expected to increase at a much faster than average rate through 2018. The BLS also reports that job growth is predicted to increase by 20 percent within the field of forensic science due to changes within the criminal justice system, advancing technology, the expanding application of forensic science techniques, and an increased demand for qualified professionals. Graduates who obtain an advanced degree in forensic science are expected to have an increased number of job opportunities in comparison to those with lesser degrees. Graduates who specialize or continue their education within related fields like computer science, law, criminal justice, ballistics, or DNA analysis are generally preferred over candidates who do not. Most graduates advance to cases which are more complex as they gain experience. Some technicians advance to jobs with increased responsibilities and higher salaries upon gaining related training and on the job experiences. Other graduates with forensic science degrees, upon gaining necessary funds and experience, work as independent consultants within their own businesses.

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