Florida is the 4th most populous state with a climate that varies from subtropical in the north to tropical in the south. Tourism, agriculture, and transportation are some of the key economic drivers of the state. Florida is recognized for its amusement parks, the production of oranges, as well as the Kennedy Space Center. It also offers a variety of opportunities for higher education for students with diverse educational and professional goals. In addition to healthcare, engineering, education, art and criminal justice, there are a number of forensic science programs in Florida that prepare students for careers in the field of forensics.
Forensic science is the application of scientific principles and methods to determine facts that are of legal value. Forensic scientists are responsible for collecting, identifying, and analyzing physical evidence related to criminal investigations.
Forensic Science Colleges in Florida
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), forensic science technicians typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or biology. They may also need on-the-job training.
Ranging from the associate to doctoral degree programs, Florida forensic science programs offer a number of academic pathways for students who want to explore the field of forensic science. These programs expose students to variety of courses essential for students’ learning in the principles of forensic science. Furthermore, they learn the underlying scientific and legal concepts and develop competence in forensic science methods and instrumentation.
Types of Degree Programs
Colleges for forensic science studies in Florida offer the associate's degree in forensic science that takes two years to complete. Courses may include fingerprinting and chemistry, in addition to general education courses. Students may learn about evidence analysis through scientific methods to prepare for a career in the field.
The bachelor's degree program typically takes four years to complete and may include courses in criminal investigation, biochemistry, and psychology. In addition to classroom based instruction, students may receive hands-on training as well.
The master’s degree program allows students to specialize in a particular area within the field and may be completed in two years. Students in these advanced programs may also need to complete a thesis.
Some colleges in Florida that offer forensic science programs also offer web-based programs for the convenience of the students who cannot attend classes on-campus. Using a number of learning technologies such as online libraries, online chat forums, emails, webinars, and video conferencing, these programs allow students to study remotely at a schedule that fits their individual lifestyle.
Forensic science students in Florida study a range of topics that helps them learn the theoretical aspects as well as practical application of the discipline. Focusing on psychology, behavioral sciences and criminology, students may also acquire problem-solving and analytical skills essential for a career in the field of forensic science. Classes are offered in:
Some programs may also include instruction in subjects such as criminology, toxicology, biochemistry and forensic DNA.
Students who wish to enroll in a forensic science degree in Florida must meet the following requirements:
Hold a high school diploma or GED
Have a background in math, chemistry, biology, and English
Provide standardized test scores
Provide letters of recommendation
Other requirements for admissions may vary by school or degree level.
Forensic Science Careers in Florida
The following forensic science professionals may hold forensic science degrees:
Crime scene investigators
Forensic science technicians generally work for state and local government in police departments and offices, crime laboratories, morgues and medical examiner/coroner offices.
According to the information on O*NET OnLine, the state of Florida had 1,510 forensic science technicians in 2012. Demand for these professional is likely to grow in the coming years (2012-2022). More forensic science technicians will be required to provide forensics information to law enforcement agencies and courts. Scientific and technological advances may increase the utility, and reliability of objective forensic information used as evidence in trials. Besides, the use of forensic evidence in criminal proceedings is expected to grow.