What You Should Know About This Degree
Forensic science is a bachelor’s-level entry field, meaning a bachelor’s degree is typically the minimum level of education needed to qualify for most jobs. A master’s degree can help you advance to mid or senior-level positions, although on-the-job training is also highly valued. Consider your career goals and the qualifications needed for the type of job you are seeking when deciding if a master’s degree is the best route for you.
Depending on your interests, there are several related degrees that you may want to explore including a master’s in computer forensics, master’s in criminal justice, master’s in forensic psychology, and master’s in crime scene investigation. All of these programs involve different methods for investigating and solving crimes, and they can help law enforcement professionals enhance their resumes with specialized skills.
If you are planning on becoming a private investigator, you should note that most states require private investigators and detectives have a state-issued license. The licensure regulations vary based on state, and may or may not include education in forensics or crime scene investigation. If you are interested in pursuing a private investigator license, you should confirm the requirements with your state prior to enrolling in a master’s program.
Here are some questions to ask when researching Online Master’s in Forensic Science programs:
- Does the program offer tuition discounts for law enforcement professionals? Some programs may offer tuition discounts to individuals who already work in public safety or criminal justice as sworn police officers, firefighters, or other related roles. Find out if any of the programs you are considering offer discounts, and if so, what the eligibility requirements are.
- Does the program offer the specialization I want? You may be considering a specialization within forensic science, such as forensic analysis, forensic biochemistry, or field investigative techniques. If so, find out if the programs you are considering will give you the opportunity to specialize through electives or focused tracks.
At this point, you should start keeping track of deadlines for application and other steps in the admissions process. Now is also a good time to collect your application materials and take any required standardized tests.
You should consider your options for funding your graduate degree as well. Financial resources include student loans, scholarships, assistantships, and tuition benefits from your employer.