Frequently Asked Questions About Master’s In Crime Scene Investigation Programs
Earning a master’s degree in crime scene investigation requires a significant investment of time and money. However, for individuals who are passionate about working in criminal investigation and forensics, particularly within more specialized areas, earning a graduate degree can be worthwhile.
A master’s degree allows professionals to apply for leadership positions or higher-paying roles within specialty areas like forensic psychology, forensic chemistry, and digital forensics. A graduate degree also allows students to teach at a postsecondary level.
Although every organization has different staffing protocols, most crime scene investigators are affiliated with court systems or state and local police departments. They may have experience working in law enforcement positions. Professionals with highly specialized training, such as forensic odonatologists, may be on call to lend their services to a number of police departments within a specific region or district.
Some investigators work for federal agencies. These positions are often prestigious, and many federal organizations require thorough background checks. Some individuals with crime scene investigation experience can work independently as consultants or private investigators.
Criminal investigations and forensics professionals play important roles in our criminal justice system and are in consistent demand. As forensics and investigative procedures improve, demand for certain professionals will grow.
Crime Scene Investigator College Accreditation And Professional Certification
Prior to enrolling in any college, its important to check the accreditation status of the program and school as a whole. Being accredited by a recognized entity demonstrates that the institution meets expected educational standards in the field. There is a wealth of accreditation organizations which measure factors such as student outcomes, program facilities, comprehensiveness of curricula, faculty effectiveness, and other variables in their evaluation process.
There are a number of institutional accreditation bodies based on the state in which a program is located. The six recognized agencies include:
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
- Higher Learning Commission
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- Commission on Colleges for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
After successfully completing a certificate or degree program, some prospective CSIs choose to get certified. The certification process typically involves submitting an application completing a number of training hours showing proof of experience in the field and passing a competency exam.
According to the Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board , there are currently 10 approved individual certification boards in forensics. The certifying groups most closely related to crime scene investigation include:
Phd In Criminal Justice & Criminalistics Programs
Students interested in a terminal degree in criminal justice may find several options at this level. Some of these could include a Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice, Doctor of Psychology in Criminology, and Doctor of Social Work . Applicants to some may need to have earned a masters degree in a related field, and meet school-specific requisites.
Doctorate programs in criminal justice often prepare students to pursue careers in postsecondary education, research, or public policy as per O*NET. While the focus of each program will vary, they often seek answers and solutions for better crime control. Students are usually exposed to advanced research methods and criminal justice theory. In addition to all the core coursework, students typically complete a dissertation prior to graduation.
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Doctoral Degree In Forensic Science
The most common doctoral degree in forensic science is the PhD. A doctorate of philosophy in forensic science gives you the chance to further refine your skills and become an expert in a particular area of the field. As part of these programs, you’ll complete a variety of required and elective classes, most of which you’ll choose with the help of a faculty member based on your academic interests.
Bear in mind that, like all PhDs, the PhD in forensic science is a research degree. These programs best serve students who are interested in pursuing high-level research jobs or academic positions at colleges or universities. The PhD is not for the faint of heart and often requires about 3-6 years to complete. Be sure to get some advice from a trusted advisor or faculty member before applying to PhD programs.
Crime Scene Investigation Degrees Online
Crime scene investigation includes collecting and analyzing physical evidence taken from crime scenes, storing evidence, preparing reports and providing expert testimony in courts. The field is very specialized, and requires careful attention to detail. A degree in crime scene investigation will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to become a qualified crime scene investigator and help solve crimes every day.
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Suny Buffalo State University
Buffalo, New York
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SUNY Buffalo State University offers a best-value affordable forensic science degree. Its fully accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Council. The schools cheap BS in Forensic Chemistry is a great choice for students who are interested in working in the fields of criminal justice or medicine. The program provides a strong foundation in the various aspects of the field that are required for employment. This affordable forensic science degree program requires a minimum of 120 credit hours and provides flexibility in the program. Students can choose from a list of directed electives for most of their requirements, enabling them to find an interest and specialize in it. Small class sizes and individualized attention make this a great choice for most students. The school tries hard to cap the number of students in the program to ensure that all students receive the education they need to succeed in the workforce.
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University Of New Haven
The University of New Havens Forensic Science, BS offers eligible students an opportunity to achieve a crime scene investigations degree. Degrees in crime scene investigation teach students the necessary science and technology to present evidence in court. Students develop their powers of observation and learn to interpret forensic science evidence. New Havens crime scene investigation degrees are accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission .
This private university is a small school and home to nearly 4,800 undergraduate students. With an acceptance rate of 84%, the school gives most applicants an opportunity to study here. Popular majors include criminal justice, psychology and law enforcement.
Highlight: The University of New Haven ranks #16 among the best value universities in Connecticut.
Degree: Forensic Science, BS
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University 0f Central Oklahoma
The University of Central Oklahoma has a Forensic Science, BS thats among that nations best crime scene investigations degree. This is a dual program in chemistry and forensic science that has been accredited by FEPAC. Forensic science studies include chemistry, microscopy, toxicology and tons of labs. Students should plan on a comprehensive education in chemistry and some go on to pursue graduate degrees.
Located in Edmond, OK, Central Oklahoma is a public university with an undergraduate enrollment of 10,116. Nearly four out of five applicants are accepted at university, which is an above-average school. Besides degrees in crime scene investigation, popular majors include business, psychology and liberal arts.
Highlight: Approximately 81% of students agree that professors put a lot of effort into teaching their classes and 84% of students believe they can find a job with crime scene investigation degrees or other degrees offered by the school.
Degree: Forensic Science, BS
Ready To Start Your Journey
Criminal investigators analyze the circumstances surrounding crimes and draw conclusions from collected evidence. A master’s degree in crime scene investigation can prepare learners to collect evidence, collaborate with various forensic specialists, document crime scenes, and provide expert testimonies in court.
Much like in-person programs, an online master’s in crime scene investigation is a significant investment. According to the National Center for Education Statistics , the average tuition for graduate programs was $12,410 per year at public universities and about $26,600 per year at private universities during the 2019-2020 school year.
Full-time students can complete this degree in two years, while part-time students usually complete this degree in three or four years. In some cases, learners can complete accelerated programs in as little as one year. However, the exact length can vary, particularly for students enrolled in self-paced, asynchronous programs.
Graduates can work in a variety of well-paying and in-demand careers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , detectives and criminal investigators earned a median annual salary of $83,640 in 2021. In that same year, forensic science technicians earned a median of $61,930 per year. The BLS also predicts that between 2020 and 2030, jobs for forensic technicians will grow by 16%, and jobs for private investigators will grow by 13%, exceeding the average job growth rate of 8%.
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What Are Major Forensic Science Certifications
The major Forensic Science Certifications are the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners, which offers the Forensic Document Examiner certification, The American Board of Forensic Toxicology provides a certification program in forensic toxicology, The American Board of Criminalistics provides certification, The International Association for Identification offers several certifications, and Forensic Science Technicians.
Suny Genesee Community College
The State University of New Yorks Genesee Community College offers a hybrid Crime Scene Technician Certificate program, with more than 50% of the program available through the schools distance learning platform. Students enrolled in GCCs Crime Scene Tech Certificate program will complete coursework in fingerprinting, serology, death investigations, toxicology, and impression evidence, among others. GCC offers various transfer opportunities for those students graduating from the Crime Scene Technician Certification program to Wesleyan SUNY Canton, Canisius, or Hilbert College, among others.
SUNY Genesee Community College is a multiple campus community college that was established in the mid-1960s. GCCs campuses cover the NY counties of Orleans, Livingston, Wyoming, and Genesee. More than 5,450 students attend classes offered online and on-campus. SUNY Genesee Community College offers more than 15 distance learning programs that can be completed entirely online.
Program: Crime Scene Technician Certificate
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Certificate In Forensic Science
There are no legal requirements in terms of certification or licensure that youll need to meet in order to work in most forensic science roles. Depending on the position, such as some law enforcement positions or work with federal entities like the FBI, you might need to obtain certification from the National Crime Information Center . This involves taking a certification course and passing an open-book written exam.
Nashville State Community College
Nashville State Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Law Enforcement with a Crime Scene Technician Certificate concentration that prepares students for a career in the field of police administration. Nashville State Community Colleges campus-based Crime Scene Technician Certification program includes basic fingerprint and ID, evidence photography, traffic accident investigation, bloodstain evidence, introduction to legal process, and investigative photography, to name a few. The total semester credits required to complete Nashville State Community Colleges Crime Scene Tech Certificate and associate degree program is 61.
Nashville State Community College was founded in 1970 and is administered by the states Board of Regents. NSCC serves seven counties in the middle of the state that includes Stewart, Davidson, Cheatham, Montgomery, Dickson, Humphreys, and Houston. Neary 10,000 students attend classes online and the schools campuses. The main campus was once a hospital that was run by the United States VA.
Program: Law Enforcement Crime Scene Investigation Concentration, A.A.S.
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Crime Scene Investigation Professional Organizations
Many crime scene investigators belong to a professional organization because it can promote growth within the profession.
These organizations establish a standard level of knowledge, skills, and abilities that criminalists across the board need to meet. Common professional organizations to consider include:
These organizations strive to promote professionalism, competency, integrity, education, collaboration, and networking among crime scene investigators.
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Southern University At New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana
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Southern University at New Orleans offers a high-value cost-effective forensic science degree program. The affordable Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science is classified as a high-need subject area and consists of 125 credit hours of coursework and practical experience. The school prides itself on focusing on students of color, providing the field with needed diversity. Students in this economical forensic science degree program will be able to find work straight after graduation or move into graduate study seamlessly. Tuition rates are kept low for students who are both in-state and out-of-state, providing a way for all students to take advantage of this program, regardless of residency status.
University Of Arkansas Community College At Morrilton
The University of Arkansass Criminal Justice Institute at the Community College at Morrilton offers an Associate of Science degree or Crime Scene Technician Certificate program that can be completed in as little as nine months, for the certificate or two years for the AS degree. The University of Arkansass campus-based based Crime Scene Tech Certificate or associate degree program requires applicants to be employed in the field of law enforcement to declare a crime scene major. Students graduate from UAs Crime Scene Technician Certification with the skills required to better serve the communities in which they are employed.
UA Community College at Morrilton was established in the early 1960s as a vocational-technical postsecondary school known as Petit Jean Vocational School. At present, UA Morrilton serves nearly 2,500 students each year. The universitys campus is about an hour to the west of Little Rock, Arkansas. Petit Jean Vocational School merged with the states university in 2001.
Program: Certificate or AS
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Should I Choose An In
When it comes to choosing an in-person or online crime scene tech certification, you will have to decide what type of class best suits your goals. Sitting in a classroom gives you an opportunity to learn in a hands-on environment. Sitting in a classroom also allows you to have unrestricted access to your instructor. It can be much easier to get the answers to your questions while they are fresh in your mind. Learning crime scene technical skills in person is beneficial if you are a hands-on learner and rely on being able to take part in laboratory-style exercises.
Online crime scene technician programs are designed to provide the same skills and abilities that in-person classes offer. The primary difference is that you are able to stay at home or study in an environment that works best for you. Online programs enable individuals who are already employed in a position they like to return to school and still maintain their regular work schedule. They can continue to care for their families and fulfill their other financial obligations while they are working to further their education.
What Can You Do With A Csi College Degree
Though the media may glamorize the image of a crime scene investigator, in reality the work is usually grueling and time-consuming. However, as with many other public service positions, the motivation for this job involves a dedication to solving crime and protecting the public. Earning a crime scene investigation degree might help a student to earn a position in one of the following public service careers:
- Crime Scene Technician
- Property and Evidence Personnel
- Crime Prevention Instructor
CSI professions are traditionally male-dominated, but as opportunities for women have increased and societal stereotypes continue to change, more and more women are making their mark in this field. Regardless of gender, crime scene investigation professionals should possess:
- Keen observational skills and an eye for the unexpected
- Strong physical conditioning
- The mentality to cope with very unpleasant and gruesome situations
- A strong interest in the sciences
- The ability to work independently and also as part of a team
- Direct and clear ability to communicate with co-workers
- Strong technical skills
- Receptivity to constantly learning new skills and technologies
Believe it or not, an appreciation for solving puzzles can also be useful in this line of work in a certain light, approaching a crime is very similar to solving a puzzle, and that perspective can sometimes be useful for coping with the horror and trauma of a crime scene.
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Suny College Of Canton
Online Bachelor of Technology in Criminal Investigation
SUNY College of Canton in Canton, New York offers an online Bachelor of Technology in Criminal Investigation degree program. The curriculum is mostly focused on the application instead of being theory-based. The degree program allows students to finish immersive courses in forensic photography, investigative interviews, fingerprinting, and crime scene processing.
For those who wish to gain practical experiences, students may take a semester-long internship where they can earn three to 15 credits for degree completion. This online school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education .
Is Crime Scene Investigation A Good Career
Whether you watch CSI on TV, or youve always been interested in doing detective work, you may be wondering if CSI as a career is a good fit for you. While a career in CSI can be exciting, its not always as glamorous a it seems on TV.
While youre wondering, is crime scene investigation a good career? its important to keep an eye on how the demand for the job changes over time. Its expected that career options in the CSI career path will grow by 14% over the coming 8 years, putting the growth level for careers in crime scene investigation higher than the average growth for most career fields.
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