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Forensic Science Programs in South Carolina

When you start a career in criminal justice in South Carolina, you can feel good knowing that the work you do improves lives and keeps your community safe. Within the field of criminal justice, there are dozens of specialized areas of study. One of the fastest growing specialties in the United States is forensic science, due to the fact that this subset of investigative science has been used to solve thousands of crimes across the country in recent years.

Ready to learn how to become a forensics scientist?

Get more information now by reaching out to forensic science programs in South Carolina.

The tenets of forensic science don’t just help investigators solve physical or violent crime. In fact, the field of forensics has spread to include cyber crime, identity theft, and other difficult-to-trace types of crime. A recent crime spree in South Carolina was tied to a group of Irish Travelers, who were tangled up in the world of organized crime (The State, 2017). Forensic science techniques that follow finances, digital device usage, and GPS locations can make use of the footprint left by organized crime groups.

Forensic Science Degrees in South Carolina

Choosing the right degree is the first step in your education. In South Carolina, there are several types of forensic science degrees. At the undergraduate level, you find both associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees. An associate degree requires the completion of at least 60 credits, while a bachelor’s degree involves earning at least 120 credits.

By the time you graduate, you should be well-versed in basic forensic science principles and techniques. If you pursue a bachelor’s degree, you should also be familiar with in-depth, complex techniques, procedures, and terminology. Both of these programs emphasize the importance of hands-on experience.

Throughout an associate or bachelor’s degree, you should get plenty of opportunities to work in the laboratory. By working with forensic science equipment and technology, you can strengthen your skills and develop the practical knowledge that employers look for in job applicants.

Associate-Level Crime Scene Investigation Classes

  • Criminalistics
  • Fingerprint Science
  • Forensic Photography
  • Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Bachelor’s Degree Coursework in Forensics

  • Applied Psychology for Law Enforcement Officers
  • Criminal Law
  • Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice
  • Crime Scene Investigation

Another option to consider is a certificate in forensics. There are two types of certificates offered in South Carolina schools. The first is a technical certificate, which is considerably shorter than an associate degree. You may be able to complete your 15 to 30 credit certificate in approximately one year. Technical certificate programs do not require an associate degree or bachelor’s degree; you may be able to enroll with just a high school diploma.

The other option is a graduate certificate. This option involves earning 30 to 45 credits; it also requires a bachelor’s degree. These programs build on the critical thinking skills developed at the bachelor’s degree level, and they are considered an alternative to a master’s degree program.

In both types of certificate programs, you should be ready to spend lots of your time in the crime lab. Compared to more traditional degree programs, certificate options tend to concentrate more on current techniques and employable skills, rather than building a broad base of knowledge that is applicable to many career paths.

Certificate in Forensics

  • Criminal Investigation
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Crime Scene Photography
  • Shooting Incidents

If you’ve ever wondered how you could contribute to the world of criminal justice, a degree in forensic science may be the opportunity you’ve been looking for. Explore degree and certificate options with our list of schools and reach out to programs that catch your eye.

Working as a Forensic Scientist in South Carolina

Your education is behind you and you’re ready to start looking for jobs. Before you make it to this point, it’s important to make decisions that strengthen your employability and make you a stand-out job candidate.

In addition to your laboratory experience, you may want to complete an internship or practicum course. Working with local criminal justice agencies or crime labs may help you become experienced with their equipment and show you what it’s really like to work in this industry. If you do well in an internship, you may be hired on after graduation or you may be able to use your professional contacts to learn more about other job opportunities in your community.

Some graduate choose to stay in a laboratory setting after graduation by becoming forensic science technicians. Forensic science technicians are employed by crime labs and departments all over South Carolina, ensuring that criminal evidence is processed promptly and accurately. The average salary for a forensic science technician in South Carolina is $47,450 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). Between 2016 and 2026, job openings for forensic science technicians may swell 19% (CareerOneStop, 2017).

Criminal investigators combine the fields of forensic science and law enforcement. While much of their time may be spent analyzing evidence, they also interview suspects, follow leads, and finish up cases. On average, criminal investigators earn $60,250 per year (BLS, 2017). A 6% increase in job openings is expected by the year 2024 (CareerOneStop, 2017).

Coroners work with both criminal justice agencies and human services departments. Demand is growing steadily in this field, with an anticipated 10% boost in job openings between 2016 and 2026 (CareerOneStop, 2017). If you work in a more remote part of South Carolina, you may be the coroner for an entire county. If you work in an urban area, you may work within city limits.

This is your chance to explore careers in forensic science and find out what type of training you need.

Get more information now by reaching out to forensic science programs in South Carolina.