To become a forensic scientist, it is important to select a decent school with a strong science program. It is also important to consider if the school has the latest technologies and gear in their laboratories. Moreover, getting into a college that provides an opportunity to do hands-on training is a great advantage for students for them to be able to gain knowledge and skills on how to use scientific tools.
Although many colleges and universities have a forensic science program, only a few colleges offer forensic science specialties such as pathology, toxicology or jurisprudence. There are also some variations to these forensic programs. Some of these programs may only be dedicated to forensic science in general while other programs are more specific within the area of forensic science such as chemical forensics.
The Forensic Educational Programs Accreditation Commission ensures that all forensic science programs meet the standard requirements. It is always best to choose an accredited program because it ensures the student’s readiness to work in forensic laboratories. A degree in forensic science is sufficient for most forensic science jobs. However, more specific jobs in the forensic pathology and forensic dentistry fields require an additional medical degree. The top three schools with the best forensic science programs are the University of Mississippi, the University of Central Florida, and Loyola University at New Orleans. However, the schools with the biggest enrollment for forensic science are the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, Sam Houston State University in Texas, and Ferris State University in Michigan.
Some of the classes that students take in forensic science programs involve lectures in Crime Scene Basics and Testimonial Evidence, Physical Evidence, Forensic Entomology, Arson Investigation, and Accident Reconstruction. Students will also learn basic vocabulary that involves crime scene analysis and how evidence is examined in a crime lab. Students also learn about the different types of physical evidences that are found in crime scenes and how it is used to help investigators. Fingerprinting basics, hairs, fibers, chromatography, blood basics, and DNA are analyzed as well. Students will learn to identify the different types of fingerprint patterns and other important details that help investigators match the fingerprints accordingly. Moreover, students will be able to have a closer look at fibers and hairs with the use of microscopes. Forensic science students will also take classes on how to analyze blood compositions, bloodstain patterns, and blood types. Additionally, students will learn how to examine an accident scene to determine how the accident started and explain the damage that resulted from the accident.