Forensic Science Programs in Louisiana
What Can I Do with a Forensic Science Degree in Louisiana?
You're interested in a criminal justice career, but you're not sure which specialty is right for you. We get it. So here's why it's important to learn more about forensic science to find out if you may be a good fit for this specialty.
Forensics is one of the most in-demand specialties in criminal justice, since it changes so quickly and professionals must be thoroughly trained in all new techniques and technology. You may want to pursue forensic science degrees if you are detail-oriented, able to maintain your calm in the face of stressful situations, and a team player.
Learn more about how to become a forensic scientist now. Keep reading for more information, and then…
Use our list of Louisiana schools to contact forensic science programs in your area.
The need for forensic scientists is expanding rapidly all over the country as technology advances. Technology makes it easy to process evidence more quickly, which leads to a quicker turnaround time for cases. Victims and their families get closure more quickly when forensic science steps in.
Louisiana is enjoying much of the recent growth in this field; in 2017, Shreveport built a new crime lab with the latest equipment and tools for its technicians (KTBS, 2017). The crime lab has a cooler that can fit up to 100 bodies, which slows the decay of evidence and helps the lab more quickly process crimes that claim multiple victims. The lab is being paid for by speeding tickets and seatbelt tickets, since it cost over $20 million to build.
Forensic Science Degrees in Louisiana
How to get where you want to be…
Education is at the forefront of all career fields, but it is especially crucial in an area of study like forensic science. Without the proper training, you run the risk of contaminating or even destroying evidence. In almost every case, there is an extremely limited amount of evidence; unintentionally damaging it could weaken an important case.
Earning a Bachelor's or Master's degree in forensic science may help you get the hands-on experience you need to work with equipment safely, appropriately, and legally.
The first level of study available in Louisiana is an undergraduate degree. With a Bachelor's degree in forensic science, you may be able to study basic and advanced scientific theories before moving on to laboratory practice. With a solid theoretical base of knowledge, you may be able to try different protocols and techniques in the lab. The more time you spend in the laboratory, the more confident you may be working independently after graduation.
This degree is a fairly sizable commitment; it takes four to five years to earn the 120 required credits.
Bachelor's Degree in Forensic Psychology
- Criminal Psychology (3 credits): Not only must you understand the physical science of forensics, you must understand the psychology of criminals and victims. This class addresses this topic.
- Social Psychology (3 credits): Learn about how social development may prime people to get involved in criminal activity or become victimized by it. This understanding may help you take apart crimes and understand how people fit into them.
- Sociology of Crime and Violence (3 credits): This course looks at how society can lead certain people to lives of crime and violence. Understanding these concepts may help you look for common traits between criminals and understand what developmental factors play into criminal activity.
- Sociology of Deviant Behavior (3 credits): Deviant behavior goes a step beyond criminal behavior, and it has deep sociological and psychological roots. Get an introduction to research in this field in this course.
- Abnormal Psychology (3 credits): In many places, mental health diagnoses and criminal activity are closely linked. An understanding of psychological diagnoses and treatment options may help you better understand those who commit or are victimized by crime.
If you have already earned a Bachelor's degree, you may be ready to take your education to the next level. A Master's degree typically includes 30 to 40 credits. Some schools only accepts those who have studied criminal justice at the undergraduate level, while others accept students from a wide variety of areas of study. Full-time students may be able to complete a Master's in forensic psychology in two to three years.
Here's what's next…
Graduate Courses in Forensic Psychology
- Psychopathology (3 credits): The field of psychopathology looks at mental disorders and what causes them, looking not at just one influencing factor but at all factors as a whole. In this course, learn how family background, physical health, genetics, and social development may all play a role in diagnosis.
- Psychological Assessment (3 credits): The skills you gain in this course may help you perform psychological assessments on suspects, perpetrators, and victims. Learn how to ask the right questions to assess a person's mental state and propensity for criminal activity.
- Proseminar in Criminal Justice (3 credits): The content of this course changes constantly to address current issues in the field of criminal justice.
- Advanced Theories of Crime and Delinquency (3 credits): This advanced course looks at what causes crime, moving beyond basic theories and concepts to more complex concepts of criminology.
- Counseling in Criminal Justice (3 credits): Counseling psychology and forensic psychology come together in this course, which helps students learn how to provide support and guidance to perpetrators and victims of crime.
Your forensic science career may begin now when you decide to find a degree that fits your needs.
Reach out to Louisiana schools to explore your educational options.
Working as a Forensic Scientist in Louisiana
Once you've finished your Bachelor's or Master's degree in forensic science, you may be able to start applying for positions in a number of careers in forensic science.
If you live in a more rural part of Louisiana, you may have an entirely different employment experience than someone who lives in one of the state's large cities. In rural areas, a handful of forensic science technicians, investigators, and coroners often handle all of the cases that happen in one county. This may lead to irregular work hours and overtime, since you may need to cover a fairly large geographical area. In cities, you're more likely to be limited to your city and bordering communities.
The experience you get as a forensic science student may prepare you for the demands of working as a forensic science technician. This career path requires extreme precision, careful work, and the ability to handle multiple tasks at once without letting any of them slack in quality.
In Louisiana, the average salary for a forensic science technician is $50,450 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). Job openings for forensic science technicians may jump 24% between 2014 and 2024 (O*Net, 2017).
If you've ever worked in law enforcement or you're interested in becoming a police officer, the field of criminal investigation may combine your professional interests into one role. Criminal investigators work directly with suspects, witnesses, and other sources of testimony, in addition to working with physical and biological evidence.
Coroners work not only with people who die of natural causes, but those who carry the most important evidence of fatal crimes. This career path demands a strong will and the ability to work professionally in disturbing situations. The average annual salary in this field is $60,090 (BLS, 2017). A 7% increase in job openings is expected by 2024 (O*Net, 2017).
Now that you know what it takes to get started in forensic science, the next step is up to you.
Compare Louisiana schools and request information from programs that fit your learning needs.
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