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Top Forensic Science Schools & Colleges Online

Introduction to Forensic Science Degree Programs

Forensic science is an exciting field opportunities ranging from forensic investigation to law enforcement. From examining tiny fiber and tissue samples under a microscope to analyzing data with computer programs, the diversity of on-duty tasks will keep a quick mind busy. Pursuing forensic science education through an online program can be a good way to get basic qualifications or to further a career already in progress.

Online Forensic Science and Criminal Justice Degrees

Forensic science, or forensics, is a rapidly growing field of criminal investigation whereby forensic technicians employ their technical skills in the field. To become a forensic scientist, students must obtain at least an associate's degree in fields such as criminal investigation, forensic psychology, criminal justice, and more.

Purdue University — At Purdue University, students can get a forensic science bachelor's degree in two different concentrations: forensic psychology and crime scene investigation. No matter which program you choose, Purdue will quickly prepare you for a career in forensic science.

Liberty University — Liberty University offers two accredited degrees in the field of Forensic Science online in addition to their campus counterparts. Both the Associates and Bachelors programs in Criminal Justice offer an in-depth guide through the investigative process of the justice system. Students will come away with skills, knowledge, and resources they can apply to real-world problems and situations upon graduation.

St. Joseph’s University — The MSCJ in Intelligence and Crime Analysis from St. Joseph’s University is offered online for busy adults who may already have other commitments that keep them out of class during normal hours. The flexible program will give students the skills they need to begin a criminal investigative career after graduation.

University of New Haven — University of New Haven's investigator masters program is designed to be a fast-track masters program that will help anyone segue into a job as a crime scene investigator after only one year of schooling.

Walden University — Walden University offers their master's in forensic psychology degree program fully online. Students of this program will gain insights into how forensic psychologists work with the legal system on reducing criminal behavior within a community. A graduate of this program is well-equipped to become a psychologist in a correctional institution, mental health center, psychiatric facility, child welfare agency, and more.

Keiser University — Keiser University’s Associate of Science degree in Crime Scene Technology prepares students with competencies in the areas of locating, preserving, developing, collecting, analyzing and presenting physical evidence utilizing modern methods used in the field and laboratory for forensic identification.

Saint Leo University — Saint Leo University offers a master's degree in Criminal Justice with a specialization in Forensic Science that allows students to study at their own pace as they work their way toward becoming a criminologist or forensic scientist.

Northcentral University — Northcentral University offers a Master of Science in Forensic Psychology, providing an affordable option to students seeking education in the field of forensic psychology. This program features a curriculum that explores research and academic knowledge, ethical issues, and practical communication skills of forensic psychology and criminal investigation.

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Introduction to Forensic Science

Forensic science is an exciting field with many exciting career opportunities. Best of all, you can earn a forensic science certificate through an online program. This means you’re able to utilize your skills sooner and find full time work, even if you do not have the time or money to obtain a four-year degree. Look for a school with an accredited forensics program. The school should be accredited by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS). Accreditation is the most important thing to look for in an online school. This establishes the validity of your degree, so that it will be accepted by future employers. You can search for this accreditation by visiting the school’s website or by searching online.

Crime continues to grow in most parts of the United States, so the outlook for forensic scientists, whether working as a criminalist or forensic science investigator, are good. The majority of forensic science technicians and scientists are employed by the government. The role of a forensic science technician is to collect and analyze evidence that pertains to a crime and an investigation. Often this include testing hair and fiber samples, as well as checking for fingerprints and testing weapons. If you are interested in a higher degree in forensic science, you can also choose to specialize in a particular area, such as biochemistry, handwriting analysis, fingerprinting, or ballistics.

Types of Forensic Science Programs

Forensic Science is an exciting field with several specializations that require different skills. You could find yourself picking apart a crime scene for clues, sifting through company data and records, or recovering deleted and damaged files from a computer hard drive. Common majors include:

Forensic Science Career Options

There are a variety of forensic science careers. Below you will find the most popular and in-demand positions. This field is projected to grow, so knowing which careers are in high demand will help when you are pursuing your degree. There are also career options for someone with a background in forensic science such as:

  • Crime lab analyst
  • Forensic toxicologist
  • Forensic psychologist
  • Forensic document or computer examiner
  • Forensic pathologist

Forensic Science Technician

A forensic science technician deals with samples on a daily basis. This might be hair samples, blood samples, urine, or other bodily fluids. As a forensic science tech you collect, categorize, and analyze forensic information and conduct tests on weapons. The goal is to see where they fit into the investigation. This can be a very demanding job where you’re working against the clock to get the job done. Forensic science techs also do extensive work with impressions, such as fingerprints or footprints. For the most part, forensic science techs work a 9-5 position at a lab. Labs are sanitary, and the forensic science tech also has a desk to work at when he or she is not conducting tests. Forensic science techs average about $54,000 per year, but that number can change, depending on where you’re working. California, Arizona, Florida, Texas, and Illinois have the highest paid forensic science techs.

Forensic Scientist

A forensic scientist works the crime scene and brings samples and impressions back to the lab for a forensic science technician to analyze. It’s important to have great communication skills and be open to all walks of life as a forensic scientist. Crime scene investigations will throw you into the mix with several types of people and you should be able to adapt to any situation with ease. Forensic scientists are often called out to investigations in the middle of the night, so do not expect a 9-5 work day. This is a high-pressure job where the police and investigators are depending on you to piece together a puzzle. Forensic scientists are employed by police departments, but they are also employed by morgues, hospitals and third party laboratories. Forensic scientists earn about 60,000 per year.

Engineering Scientist

This position revolves around the math and science in a case. An engineering scientist may have a background in mathematics in addition to their training in forensic science. An engineering scientist deals with patterns and statistics on a daily basis. Engineering scientists do not deal with elaborate criminal cases, but more often civil lawsuits. Occasionally, an engineering scientist may deal with a criminal case. There are junior and senior engineering scientist positions. In both cases, you work in a lab or office assessing information from a case. Some engineering scientists have their PhD in forensic science. Engineering scientists earn an average of $98,000 per year.


A forensic scientist who enjoys working on crime scenes and dealing exclusively with physical evidence should explore a career as a criminalist; a criminalist deals only with physical evidence during an investigation and uses scientific methods to come to a conclusion on what its purpose is to the case. A criminalist comes to conclusions not necessarily reached in the lab and can sometimes testify in court for a case. Criminalists are most often employed by the government. States like California and Texas are experiencing a rise in demand for criminalists who specialize in one field. There are various criminalist positions, such as senior criminalist or a criminalist who deals specifically with DNA. Having extensive experience in one area can enable you to earn a higher salary, as you will be regarded highly as an expert. Criminalists earn about $67,000 per year.

Online Programs in Forensic Science

There are many schools that offer accredited online programs that allow students to study and earn their certificate or degree at their own pace. The length of your program will depend on the level of degree you are pursuing, as well as the number of hours you are able to commit to your education each semester. Certificate programs usually take one to two years, an associate’s degree takes around two years, and a bachelor’s degree is usually completed in four years. The higher degree you pursue, the more career opportunities that you open up, as well as the better possibility to qualify for higher paying positions. On this site you can get information from specific schools in order to find out which programs they offer, and how their courses are set up online. They can also provide information regarding costs, financial aid, and more in order for you to find the school that best suits your needs, interests, and budget.

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