Forensic Science Programs in Texas
When you decide to study forensic science, you make the choice to become involved in an important criminal justice specialty that is responsible for reshaping the industry and changing how professionals solve criminal cases. There are many degree options when it comes to forensic science, and each option shows you how to become a forensics scientist and serve your community.
Have you ever wondered how a degree in criminal justice could change your career prospects?
Learn more about the study of forensic science by requesting information from Texas forensic science schools today.
What Can I Do with a Forensic Science Degree in Texas?
No matter how safe a community is, there will always be crime and there will always be a need for professionals who can prevent it, stop it, and clean up its aftermath. Look at the city of Austin, Texas; the steadily rising violent crime rate in this city has led local and state officials to take drastic measures in their efforts to prevent further increases in criminal activity (US News, 2017).
Forensic science may be an important factor in cutting down on crime in Texas. Forensic science helps investigators solve more crimes in shorter periods of time, ensuring that the perpetrators responsible for crimes are caught. This may dissuade others from criminal behavior and help reduce recidivism rates.
Forensic Science Degrees in Texas
So, what does it take to make a mark in the world of forensic science? Texas schools may help you started. Education is the driving force behind most criminal justice careers, but it is particularly important in forensic science. Mishandling of equipment or evidence can lead to evidence being destroyed or contaminated, which may have a devastating effect on ongoing cases.
Attending an undergraduate or graduate program may give you the skills you need to work effectively and efficiently in crime labs.
There are two entry-level programs that may help you start working in this field in short order. The first option is a certificate. This one-year program is often an alternative to an associate’s degree, since it is shorter and does not include general education courses. If you may want to further your education with a bachelor’s degree in the future, consider earning an associate’s degree. This two-year degree includes 30 credits of general education coursework and 30 credits of forensic science coursework.
Certificate in Crime Scene Investigation
- Forensic Photography
- Latent Print Processing
- Courtroom Testimony
- Bloodstain Pattern Analysis
Associate-Level Forensic Science Classes
- Police Systems and Practices
- Criminal Investigation
- Crime Scene Investigation
The next step up from an associate degree is a bachelor’s degree. If you have an associate degree already, you may be able to earn your bachelor’s in about two years. Those who have never attended any postsecondary education programs typically need four years of full-time study to earn a bachelor’s degree. This program includes between 120 and 130 credits.
Much like associate programs, bachelor’s programs devote half of your credits to general education and half of your credits to forensic science education. Quite a few of your credits are earned in laboratory courses that broaden your practical skill set and show what it’s really like to work in a crime lab.
Bachelor’s Degree Coursework
- Forensic Soil Science
- Biotechnology and Forensics
- Applied Forensic Entomology
- Latent Print Processing
If you want to qualify for leadership and research positions in the world of forensic science, you may want to aim for a master’s degree. Graduate programs only accept students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree. Generally, you also need a high GPA and relevant work or volunteer experience to be considered.
From start to finish, a master’s degree generally lasts two to three years and results in the completion of 30 or more credits.
Graduate Courses in Forensic Science
- Controlled Substance Analysis
- Law and Forensic Science
- Pattern and Physical Evidence Concepts
- Forensic Instrumental Analysis
Learn more about which forensic science courses you need to take and what degree options are available to you by contacting Texas forensic science schools today.
Working as a Forensic Scientist in Texas
The education you earn at a Texas university, college, or technical school may put you on the path to a variety of forensic science careers. You may choose to use your skills in the crime lab, in the community, in the field of law enforcement, or in the local health department.
If you truly enjoy working with evidence and you work well under pressure and tight deadlines, why not look into becoming a forensic science technician? These professionals handle evidence for multiple cases, so they must communicate effectively with investigators, police officers, and others in law enforcement. Throughout Texas, the average salary for a forensic science technician is $49,380 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). The job growth rate for this field is high across the country, but it is extremely high in Texas. From 2014 through 2024, O*Net expects job openings for forensic science technicians to increase 42% (O*Net, 2017).
Is law enforcement a good fit for you? If you’ve worked as a police officer before or you are dedicated to solving crimes and protecting your community, you may want to take on a criminal investigator role. You may need to start as a police officer and work your way up to an investigator position. The average annual income for a Texas criminal investigator is $73,650 per year (BLS, 2017). Between 2014 and 2024, O*Net predicts a 9% increase in job openings for criminal investigators (2017).
Becoming a coroner involves working with the health department, criminal justice agencies, and the court system. Depending on where you live and work in Texas, you may be one of many coroners in your area or you may be the only one assigned to an area. Each year, coroners bring in an average of $71,750 per year (BLS, 2017). A 13% boost in job openings is expected by 2024 (O*Net, 2017).
Now that you know what it takes to get started as a forensic scientist, it’s your turn to act.
Browse our list of Texas forensic science schools and request information from schools that catch your attention.
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