Forensic Science Programs in Kentucky
What Can I Do with a Forensic Science Degree in Kentucky?
When you decide to pursue a career in criminal justice, there are many avenues you may choose. You may get a generalized degree in criminal justice or you may choose to specialize in a field like forensic science. While a general degree may leave you open to a variety of careers, there's a lot to be said for getting a degree in a more specific area of criminal justice.
With a forensic science major, you may get the chance to work directly with high-end forensic technology, learn about ongoing criminal cases, and find out how forensic science is being used to revolutionize the field of criminal justice.
As criminal justice evolves, the role of forensic science may continue to grow. Take advantage of this opportunity now…
Contact Kentucky schools to learn more about forensic science degrees.
One of the main areas of focus in Kentucky is the development of vehicle forensics. This is a fairly new subfield of forensic science that is quickly gaining traction. Many people pair their phones to their cars to play music, receive calls via car speakers, and get directions.
The field of vehicle forensics retrieves data left behind when a cell phone is paired to a car (Herald Dispatch, 2017). The data can be used in numerous ways. Investigators may find out when suspects or victims were in contact with people, what messages have been deleted from a phone, the travel speed at the time of death, and what apps were installed on phones at the time of death. This may help investigators get a clearer picture of a crime, establish motive, and uncover deleted data.
Forensic Science Degrees in Kentucky
Here's the lowdown…
Whether you've worked in criminal justice before or you're completely new to the field, there are many undergraduate programs that can help you start learning about the field of forensic science. If you haven't earned a Bachelor's degree yet, you may want to start with an undergraduate degree.
If you want to delve into a more specific part of forensic science, you may choose to earn a certificate in a topic like computer forensics. There are options at technical schools, colleges, and universities throughout Kentucky.
Certificate in Computer Forensics
- Introduction to Criminal Justice (3 credits): In this course, learn about the different branches of the criminal justice industry. This class should help you use the education you get in higher-level courses appropriately in various work settings.
- Criminal Investigations (3 credits): Explore the process of investigating a crime, from encountering a crime scene to narrowing down suspects and tracking down evidence.
- Criminal Justice Courtroom Procedures (3 credits): Get experience in how the courtroom works by following cases from start to finish. This helps you understand what evidence is needed in different cases and how you can create an airtight case.
- Computer Hardware and Software (3 credits): Build a strong foundation of computer knowledge that covers physical components of computing systems and the software they use to function.
- Network Fundamentals (4 credits): Computers use a variety of networks to connect to each other and to the Internet, leaving behind evidence of users' activity and access. Learn how to set up, repair, secure, and analyze networks.
As noted earlier, a Bachelor's degree may be a great first step for you if you have never studied forensic science before. A Bachelor's in forensic science includes between 120 and 135 credits.
You learn how to become a forensic scientist by exploring scientific theories, looking into the history of forensic science, working with different types of forensic technology, and discovering how to apply your knowledge to various types of cases. At this level of study, you generally spend quite a bit of time in the laboratory. By the time you graduate, you need to know how to work independently with evidence samples and work safely with forensic equipment.
Bachelor's Degree Coursework
- Forensic Professional Practice (3 credits): It's important to know the professional code of conduct whenever you start working in a new industry, which is the focus of this class. Learn how to maintain a professional presence in any forensic science setting.
- Instrumental Analysis (3 credits): In this course, delve into forensic chemistry. You should learn how to investigate analyses with the help of scientific instruments. Since this course is heavily based in practical experience, you should spend most of your time working in the lab and getting feedback on the accuracy of your work.
- Forensic Instrumental Lab (1 credit): This laboratory course provides advanced experience opportunities in the use of scientific instruments. You may learn how to carry out complex analysis processes.
- Forensic DNA Analysis (1 credit): DNA is often considered one of the most important pieces of evidence available in the field of forensic science. Learn how to collect DNA samples, process them, and match them to other samples to rule out suspects or identify the events leading up to a crime.
- Expert Witness Testimony (3 credits): In the course of your career, you may be required to serve as an expert witness during criminal trials. In this class, you learn about the expectations of judges and lawyers while providing testimony.
- Organic Chemistry (5 credits): Organic chemistry covers the study of carbon compounds. This class provides the building blocks for more advanced forensic chemistry coursework.
- Analytical Chemistry (5 credits): This chemistry specialty focuses on the analysis of matter, which helps you determine which types of evidence are present in a sample and how much is available.
Find out how you can start working toward different careers in forensic science now.
Request information from Kentucky schools to take the first step.
Working as a Forensic Scientist in Kentucky
Here's the scoop:
The scope of forensic science is always changing, which is one of the biggest benefits of starting your career in this field.
Look at the applications of computer forensics and vehicle forensics, two fields that were barely on the map a decade ago. The more that researchers learn about forensic science, the more that diverse job opportunities may become available in this area of study.
The job openings that are available to you are dependent on your level of study and what type of work experience you get while earning your degree.
Once of the most common job options for new graduates is becoming a forensic science technician. This career demands an extensive knowledge of forensic evidence protocols and evidence protection, since compromising a piece of evidence can severely hurt a legal case. If you become a forensic science technician, you may have the chance to work in crime labs, hospitals, and research facilities. Although there is no job outlook data for Kentucky, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that forensic science technicians earn an average of $41,430 per year (2017).
If you live in an area where there is a shortage of law enforcement professionals, your knowledge of forensic science could make you a great asset to the local police force. Criminal investigators respond to crime reports and are often the first responders at a crime scene, so they need to know how to properly handle evidence. In Kentucky, criminal investigators bring in an average of $65,900 per year (BLS, 2017). From 2014 through 2024, demand for criminal investigators may increase 16% in Kentucky (O*Net, 2017).
Coroners' work is closely linked with the work of forensic scientists. When working with a corpse, proper handling of evidence is key in establishing timelines, figuring out cause of death, and providing analysis to investigators. Kentucky coroners earn an average annual salary of $55,030 (BLS, 2017). By the year 2024, demand for coroners is expected to increase 18% in Kentucky (O*Net, 2017).
This is your chance to start working toward an exciting, meaningful career in forensic science.
Check out Kentucky forensic science schools and contact programs that catch your eye.
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