The field of forensic science is made up of a diverse selection of highly skilled criminal justice and criminal investigation professionals. To get started in a career in forensic science you may consider a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study like chemistry, biology, forensic science, or another natural science, as most forensic science technicians typically need at least a bachelor’s degree.
While a bachelor’s degree is recommended, many career specialties in forensic science may also require more training, experience, or education. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that many who seek to become forensic science technicians have an undergraduate degree in the natural sciences and a master’s in forensic science. Relevant undergraduate courses that aspiring forensic scientists should consider taking include biochemistry, toxicology and criminal justice. Both undergraduate and graduate students are typically required to complete extensive supervised lab work and pass either a proficiency test or be approved by a labor accrediting body before unsupervised casework can be done.
While there are several professional certifications that aspiring forensic scientists can pursue, they’re generally not required. Forensic certifications are usually reserved for those seeking to specialize in a specific forensic science discipline. For example, a forensic odontologist (dentist) must be certified and licensed by the state in addition to having specialized training in dentistry. Forensic scientists will often pursue certification in order to keep their skills up to date and remain competitive.