Forensic Science Programs in Washington DC
Washington DC is one of the most important forensic science hubs in the United States. Thanks to its status as the nation’s capital, it is where many research centers and laboratories take root. Furthermore, it is a major urban center in the eastern United States, so the need for working crime labs is significant. If you’re looking for career options in the criminal justice industry, forensic science may be what you’re looking for.
Whether you’re new to the criminal justice industry or you’re looking for a way to use your skills in a new setting, learn how to become a forensics scientist now by reaching out to Washington DC forensic science schools.
What Can I Do with a Forensic Science Degree in Washington DC?
Part of working in the criminal justice industry is staying on top statistics, changing trends, and new patterns in crime. In the year 2016, Washington DC saw a 62% increase in hate crimes (NBC Washington, 2017). This finding shocked the criminal justice community and urged professionals to prioritize hate crime cases. The use of forensic science makes it easier to recover evidence from the scene of a crime and track down perpetrators, particularly in multi-offender cases that are indicative of hate crimes.
Forensic Science Degrees in Washington DC
Not only is Washington DC an important center for the criminal justice industry, it is an area that is heavily invested in the importance of higher education. For that reason, you may have quite a few schools to consider and compare when you decide to earn a forensic science degree. Even at the same level of education, programs at different schools may have varying types of lab experience, offer differing internship opportunities, and work toward specific sets of goals.
Those interested in attending a two-year program may decide to get their start with an Associate’s degree program. Associate’s-level programs are comprised of 60 to 70 credits, half of which come from general education coursework and half of which come from forensic science classes. Technical programs tend to emphasize the value of practical work skills, so you should have the chance to work with forensic equipment in your school’s crime lab.
Associate’s-Level Forensic Science Classes
- Forensic Instrumental Analysis
- Introduction to Forensic Science
- Cell and Molecular Biology
- Crime Scene Photography
The next step up is a Bachelor’s degree. This undergraduate degree is the gateway to graduate-level study, so it’s a must for those who want to pursue a Master’s degree or PhD. Those without any previous postsecondary education may earn a Bachelor’s degree in roughly four years by completing no fewer than 120 credits. The credit division is about the same as an Associate’s degree, so you may earn up to 60 credits in general education classes. While lab experience is essential at any level of education, plan on really focusing on this aspect of your training in a Bachelor’s program.
Bachelor’s Degree Coursework
- Modern Practices in Forensic Science
- Comparative Forensics
- Forensic Toxicology
- Forensic Biology
Some careers in forensics require completion of a Master’s degree. Graduate programs require a Bachelor’s degree; some Washington DC schools only accept students from criminal justice fields, while others welcome students from all areas of study. From start to finish, you may be able to finish your Master’s degree in two years. Some programs have a part-time study option, allowing working professionals to earn a Master’s degree in approximately four years.
To graduate, you may need between 30 and 40 credits. A Master’s degree may not be necessary for those who want to stick to lab work throughout their career, but it is often mandatory for management roles and research roles.
Graduate Courses in Forensic Science
- Photography in the Forensic Sciences
- Science of Fingerprints
- Digital Image Processing
- Criminal Law for Forensic Scientists
If a career in criminal justice is in your future, this is the time to find a school that fits your needs.
Browse our list of Washington DC schools and get in touch with programs that catch your eye.
Working as a Forensic Scientist in Washington DC
Where would you like to use your forensic science education? This field is interdisciplinary; while it may lend itself to laboratory work, it is also useful in quite a few other criminal justice settings. It’s important to analyze these settings throughout your education and decide on the best use for your skills and training.
It should come as no surprise that forensic science technician is one of the most popular roles in this field. It is a laboratory-based job that requires you to prioritize your workload, answer to multiple investigators at one time, and handle the demands of an ever-growing case load. In Washington DC, there are no job growth statistics or salary statistics available for forensic science technicians. However, the demand for forensic technicians is generally high throughout the country.
Another growing opportunity for Washington DC forensic science grads is criminal investigation. If you are interested in law enforcement, you may find that your forensic science skills are valuable in an investigative role. Investigators must know how to promptly process crime scenes without destroying evidence. They claim an average salary of $119,280 per year in Washington DC (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). From 2014 through 2024, job openings for criminal investigators may increase by an average of 80 positions per year (O*Net, 2017).
It takes a special set of skills to work as a coroner. Coroners may work on an on-call basis, and they may have busy stretches when they work more than 40 hours per week. Furthermore, a coroner must maintain their concentration during difficult or tedious tasks. Washington DC coroners claim an average annual income of $86,580 (BLS, 2017). A 5% boost in job openings is expected by 2024 (O*Net, 2017).
Now that you’ve had an introduction to forensic science degrees, it’s your turn to act.
Check out Washington DC forensic science schools and request information from programs in your community.
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