Forensic Science Degree Programs in Colorado
As you compare career paths in the field of criminal justice, you may find that there are dozens of areas of specialized study that have a growing need for educated professionals.
One of the fastest growing specialties in criminal justice is forensic science. Like other areas of concentration in this industry, it requires a thorough knowledge of criminal justice tenets, ethics, and standards. However, it also demands a comprehensive understanding of the use of forensic evidence and the physical sciences that create forensic science.
Are you ready to find out how you can use a forensic science degree in a new career?
What Can I Do with a Forensic Science Degree in Colorado?
Recent advances in forensic science show how quickly this field evolves and advances. A body was found in El Paso County thirty years ago; at the time, the case baffled investigators, as no one came forward to identify the victim (The Gazette, 2016).
Now, forensic science has changed enough that scientists are confident that they’ll be able to identify the body soon. With forensic science, they have already determined the age, race, height, and dental history of the victim.
Thanks to Colorado’s well-developed crime labs, the state is even able to take cases from neighboring states. The Coin Shop murder case in Wyoming required that evidence be sent out to Colorado (Wyoming News, 2016). While that case remains unsolved, investigators remain optimistic they will find the killer of the two men murdered in the Cheyenne coin shop in broad daylight.
Forensic Science Degrees in Colorado
Rapid growth in this field has created several educational pathways for those hoping to start working in forensic science. If you have a postsecondary degree or certificate to your name, you may want to advance your education with a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree. Each type of degree offers specific hands-on training in the field of forensic investigation.
A Certificate of Completion is a short-term program that may allow you to start exploring job opportunities fairly quickly. You may be able to complete your Certificate of Completion with less than one year of full-time study.
Certificate-Level Forensic Science Courses
- Crime Scene Investigation
- Introduction to Forensic Science and Criminalistics
- Policing Systems
An associate degree is a bit more intensive than a certificate program, generally requiring 60 credits completed over a period of two years. Some of this degree’s credits come from general education courses, but over half of your credits should come from forensic science classes. At this level, you often get some hands-on study in the form of laboratory courses or an internship.
Coursework in Associate-Level Programs
- Criminal Justice Research Methods
- Forensic Aspects of Death Investigation
- Forensic Aspects of Drug Identification
- Fire and Arson Investigation
The most comprehensive undergraduate option in forensic science is a bachelor’s degree. Like an associate program, this program involves some general education coursework. It goes into much greater detail than associate-level programs, providing you with a better understanding of core forensic science concepts.
Overall, this degree involves earning 120 credits over a period of four years. Many of these programs require an internship, while others simply recommend it. This experience can help you prepare for the workforce or graduate-level study in criminal justice. Your curriculum may include laboratory courses that give you practical experience with forensic science tools and equipment.
Bachelor’s Degree Requirements in Forensic Science
- Laws of Evidence
- Advanced Crime Scene Forensics
- Forensic Photography and Crime Scene Documentation
- Medico-Legal Death Investigations
- Criminal Profiling
- Fingerprint Science and Ridgeology
Regardless of which type of degree you decide to pursue, you should learn about the history of forensic science as well as the latest developments in this field. Being able to apply the scientific principles of this field may prepare you for work in crime labs, criminal justice agencies, and research facilities.
Forensic science Colorado programs may put you on the path to an exciting, cutting-edge career in forensic science.
Get more information on your options now by contacting schools below.
Working as a Forensic Scientist in Colorado
The career paths available to you vary based on education level, geographic location, and work experience.
With a certificate or associate degree, you may choose to start your forensic science career as a police officer. Police officers are often first to respond to crime scenes, so they play a big role in the processing of evidence. The average salary for a Colorado police officer is $71,270 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). Job openings for police officers may jump 16% through 2024, a rate significantly higher than the national average of 7 percent growth (O*Net, 2017).
An associate degree or bachelor’s degree may give you the skills you need to become a criminal investigator. Investigators claim an average annual income of $86,330 (BLS, 2017). Between 2014 and 2024, job openings for investigators may increase 12% in Colorado (O*Net, 2017).
If you want to work hands-on with forensic evidence and technology, you may find your calling as a forensic science technician. The statewide average income is $61,980 per year (BLS, 2017). O*Net predicts a 17% boost in job openings by 2024 (2017).
Coroners must also have a thorough knowledge of forensic science, anatomy and physiology, and biology. Many Colorado counties employ one or more coroners to ensure that remains are promptly assessed and prepared for burial. Colorado coroners earn an average of $70,200 annually (BLS, 2016). Job openings may see a 20% increase by the year 2024 (O*Net, 2016).
Clearly, it’s important to get some type of practical experience prior to beginning your career. At many forensic science schools, strong academic performance may qualify you for competitive internship placements. The more time you spend working with experienced forensic science professionals, the more you may be able to transition smoothly into a forensic science career.
This is a great time to compare forensic science degrees and discover which option makes the most of your education.
Request information from Colorado schools to learn more.
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