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Forensic Science Degree Programs in Alabama
What Can I Do with a Forensic Science Degree in Alabama?
Within the field of criminal justice, forensic science is one of the fastest growing specialties. Technology is constantly advancing, providing criminal justice professionals with new ways to respond to crime, collect evidence, and solve cases.
Studying forensic science at the postsecondary level is a great way to study current technology and learn how to apply it to today's criminal justice issues.
Are you ready to start or advance your career in the field of forensic science? Keep reading to learn more and contact forensic science schools to take the first step.
Taking a look at the news demonstrates that forensic science is always evolving. Forensic science researchers recently uncovered a hair protein analysis method that allows forensic scientists to identify suspects and perpetrators (Tech Times, 2016). This technology is as accurate as DNA identification. The number and pattern of hair protein markers are unique, so this finding is hugely relevant to the world of criminal justice.
As a criminal justice graduate, you may be able to pursue a number of different careers.
Options depend on where you live in Alabama and which type of degree you earn. Some graduates opt to become forensic science technicians, while others work as coroners. As a criminal investigator or police officer, you may use your forensic science education on a daily basis.
Forensic Science Degrees in Alabama
In the state of Alabama, there are several colleges with forensic science programs. No matter what level of education you are at, you may have local options.
The shortest option for new students is an Associate's degree in forensic investigations. This degree generally takes about two years of full-time study. It covers a broad range of general education topics and general forensic investigation topics. It is a solid foundation for future criminal justice study and certain entry-level jobs. By the time you graduate with an Associate's degree, you should know how to maintain law and order, collect evidence, and conduct criminal investigations.
Associate's-Level Forensic Science Courses
- Criminal Law and Procedure
- Criminal Evidence
- Constitutional Law
- Criminal and Deviant Behavior
- Criminal Investigation
- Fingerprint Science
Another option for new students is a Bachelor's degree in forensic investigations. In many ways, this degree overlaps with an Associate's degree. However, since it is designed to be completed in four years, it explores forensic science topics at a more complex level.
With this type of degree, you may get more practical experience in the laboratory or in an internship. Professors focus on learning outcomes like mastery of criminal investigation procedures, extensive knowledge on various types of crimes, the ability to handle crime scene processing procedures, and techniques for collection of physical evidence.
Commonly Required Bachelor's Degree Courses
- Introduction to Law Enforcement
- Introduction to Forensic Investigations
- Homicide Investigation
- Criminal Investigations
If you already have a Bachelor's degree, a Master's degree in forensic science may be a great way to advance your career. You do not typically need a Bachelor's degree in forensic science to study this field at the Master's degree level. Many graduate students have backgrounds in biology, chemistry, and other scientific fields.
Master's degree programs concentrate heavily on laboratory work, evidence analysis, use of evidence in legal proceedings, and safe handling of physical evidence.
Depending on the school you attend, you may be able to focus on computer forensic science at this level. This involves collecting digital evidence and using it to catch and charge perpetrators.
A Master's degree in forensic science typically requires about two years of coursework beyond a Bachelor's degree, although it may take longer for students who have not completed undergraduate coursework in biology, chemistry, and scientific processes.
Master's-Level Forensic Science Coursework
- Forensic Toxicology
- Elements of Forensic Science
- Conventional Criminalistics
- Forensic Drug Analysis
- Biological Methods in Forensic Science
- Law, Evidence, and Procedure
The combination of theory, legal expertise, and laboratory skills provided in these degree programs can prepare you for many career options.
If you're ready to get started in the field of forensic science, Alabama schools are ready to talk to you. Check out options below and contact schools that interest you.
Working as a Forensic Scientist in Alabama
After completing your education at one of the forensic science programs in Alabama, you may be ready to apply your knowledge in the workforce. Different career paths are available at each level of study, so your career goals may heavily influence your school choice.
With an Associate's degree in forensic science, you may know how to safely handle and process evidence to make sure it is admissible in court. Many graduates choose to become police officers. Since police officers are the first to respond to major crime scenes, they have a duty to keep the scene clean and prevent others on the scene from contaminating evidence. They may also collect various types of physical evidence and transport it to the lab for processing.
In Alabama, demand for police officers is expected to increase 6% between 2014 and 2024 (O*Net, 2016). The average salary for an Alabama police officer is $42,400 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016).
Associate's and Bachelor's degree graduates may work as coroners. Coroners often see the aftereffects of violent crime. They may direct or conduct autopsies, look for unusual injuries or markings, determine cause of death, and collect evidence while examining bodies. Job openings for coroners may swell 3% by 2024 (O*Net, 2016). The average salary for a coroner is $66,070 annually (BLS, 2016).
If you pursue a Bachelor's degree or Master's degree, there are several relevant career paths to consider. As a forensic science technician, you may spend most of your time working directly with physical evidence. Technicians are often responsible for collecting, identifying, and analyzing evidence collected from bodies and crime scenes.
A great deal of critical thinking is required for this job, since you must be able to evaluate whether or not evidence is significant in an investigation. At times, you may testify in court about what you have seen and what evidence you have processed.
Forensic science is also well-suited to the role of criminal investigator. Criminal investigators may handle evidence at the scene of a crime or pick up the investigation after initial evidence has been collected and processed. This role seamlessly blends criminal justice and forensic science, as it requires you to use your knowledge of criminology, Alabama law, and law enforcement to interpret evidence and locate perpetrators.
If you're ready to make Alabama safer and ensure that justice is served, this is the right time to learn how to become a forensic scientist. Compare degree options below and get in touch with Alabama schools today.
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