Recognized for its finance, health, education, and manufacturing sectors, California is a prominent US state. It offers a number of opportunities for higher education for students coming from all over the world and having diverse educational and professional goals. There are a number of forensic science colleges in California that prepare students who are interested in exploring opportunities in forensics and law enforcement. Ranging from associate to doctoral level degrees, students interested in studying in this concentration may acquire skills and knowledge that may help them find opportunities in the field of forensic science.
Forensic Schools in California
Forensic science is the application of science to the law. Forensic scientists gather, identify, and analyze physical evidence found during criminal investigations. They also perform tests on weapons or various substances, which could include hair and tissue, to determine significance in an investigation, and they may testify as expert witnesses during a trial. Students who are interested in careers in forensic science may pursue undergraduate or graduate degrees.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), forensic science technicians need at least a bachelor’s degree in the natural sciences, such as chemistry or biology. Those who major in forensic science must make sure that their program includes course work in mathematics, chemistry, as well as biology. Aspiring forensic science technicians may want to earn an undergraduate degree in the natural sciences and a master’s degree in forensic science, the BLS notes.
Colleges in California that offer forensic science have a variety of academic programs to help students get an education in the field. These include programs ranging from associate’s degrees to PhDs. Certificate courses are also available at some forensic science schools in the state, and these may be useful for students who already hold a degree and seek to obtain additional credentials.
Undergraduate degree programs allow students to explore areas such as chemistry, chemistry, and mathematics; while advanced degree programs enable students to specialize in a particular area within forensic science.
Students who wish to pursue master’s degrees may focus their degrees in areas such as DNA analysis, fire and arson investigation, and chemistry.
Online programs are also offered at some of the forensic science universities in California. The internet-based programs may be beneficial for working professionals seeking advanced or additional training in the field, and students who reside in remote locations and seek a forensic science education. Online forensic science programs in California allow students to study using a number of tools such as email, online chat forums, online libraries, and webinars. They stay in touch with their instructors and other classmates and study in an interactive learning environment.
What Courses are Covered in Forensic Science Degree Programs?
Ranging from criminology to crime science investigation, forensic science degree programs include a variety of topics through which students learn how to apply science in order to answer legal questions through the analysis of evidence. Curriculums may include instruction in areas such as:
Technical Writing for Forensic Science
Anatomy and Physiology
Enrolling in Forensic Science Programs?
Admissions to forensic science degree programs require students to hold a high school diploma or GED. Taking courses in math, chemistry, biology, and English in high school may also be useful. Additionally, students need to provide standardized test scores and appear for interviews. Other requirements for admissions may vary by school or degree level.
Opportunities for California Forensic Science Workers
Professionals with expertise in forensic science may work in a variety of settings such as:
Law enforcement agencies
Medical examiner/coroner offices
Some of the titles that they may hold include:
Latent Print Analyst
According to the BLS, forensic science technicians may have to work outdoor regardless of weather conditions in addition to working in laboratories, but there are some who only work in labs. Crime scene investigators need to travel considerably because crimes may happen anywhere.
Demand for forensic science technicians and crime scene investigators in California is expected to grow between 2012 and 2022, according to O*Net OnLine.
How Much do Forensic Science Workers Earn in California?
According to data from O*Net OnLine, the median annual pay for forensic science technicians in California was $73,500 (2013). Location, experience, and job title are some of the factors that may determine the income of these workers.