How do I Choose a Forensic Science College?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

At a forensic science college, students learn the skills they need to work as forensic scientists and technicians. Degrees in the forensic sciences can be applied in a number of ways, not just criminal investigation, and thinking about how one plans to use a forensic science degree or certificate is an important thing to consider when reviewing education options. It is important to select a college with a program which will allow someone to work in his or her desired field after graduation or completion.

Someone who wants to become a medical examiner and perform autopsies will need a medical degree.
Someone who wants to become a medical examiner and perform autopsies will need a medical degree.

The first thing to consider is what kind of work one wants to do, and where one wants to do it. A medical examiner, for example, is a forensic science who conducts autopsies, and entry into this field requires a medical degree. On the other hand, someone who performs basic work in a forensics lab may be able to work with a two year degree. While exploring forensic science careers, people should take note of the standards required by organizations which accredit people in these fields, because these will dictate where one goes to school.

Choose a school that offers hands on lab experience.
Choose a school that offers hands on lab experience.

When evaluating a forensic science college, a potential student should confirm that the college offers a program in the area of forensics the student is interested in, and that the program meets the requirements of an organization which certifies forensic scientists in that field. After determining which schools meet these criteria, students can start to narrow down their selections to find a forensic science college which will suit them.

Schools that offer forensic science courses should be equipped with plenty of lab space for students.
Schools that offer forensic science courses should be equipped with plenty of lab space for students.

Entrance requirements are often an important consideration, as are the requirements for graduation. The school should clearly spell out how many classes are required to graduate, which classes are needed, how much lab work is required, and how long the average student takes to complete the program. Students may also want to consider going to a school which offers job placement services after graduation.

Students should make a point to attend an accredited forensic science college. Attendance at an accredited college is usually required for professional certification and membership in professional organizations, and accredited colleges offer a high standard of education which is independently reviews. Accreditation information is available from admissions departments, and students can also contact accrediting agencies to determine whether or not a school is accredited. College rankings may also be of importance, as a school with good ratings may offer a better forensic education.

Finally, students should think about convenience when they apply to a forensic science college, to make sure that they will be able to complete the program. Scheduling flexibility is often important to students, especially if they are raising children or working while in school, which means that a school which offers night classes, classes in multiple time slots, and generally flexible schedules may be more appealing. The location of the school can also be important; people should think about whether they are willing to relocate to go to a forensic science college, and where they would feel comfortable relocating to.

Forensic science requires careful analyses of secretions and cells.
Forensic science requires careful analyses of secretions and cells.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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