Do you hate crime and want to bring criminals to justice? Do you wish to help families identify the remains of their beloved persons that lost their lives in accidents? And, do you want an excellent, science-based career that also helps investigators to crack criminal cases?
If your answer to all these three questions is a ‘yes,’ then you should seriously consider a career as a forensic expert.
For many of us, the term ‘forensic expert’ might sound foreign or even strange. You might wonder, what are forensic experts? Therefore, I will tell you how to become a forensic expert and which are the best forensic science colleges in the USA.
Understanding Forensic Science
In simplest words, forensic science is more of an art. It involves the scientific investigation of criminal acts and finding evidence that can help sleuths to track down criminals or hold them responsible for the crime.
Additionally, forensic science also helps in solving accident cases, especially complicated air crashes. Moreover, forensic experts help grieving families to find the mortal remains of their relatives that perished in an air crash.
Furthermore, forensic science is helpful to insurance companies too: their reports can help an insurer to pay or withhold payment for a vehicle or house gutted by fire or any other such cause that can appear suspicious.
Basically, forensic science tries to give scientific evidence about every occurrence – regardless of whether it’s natural or man-made – that requires some level of investigation.
The Job of Forensic Experts
Now that we know what forensic science means, in simple words, let’s explore what are the tasks that a forensic expert performs. There’re several actually.
As I mentioned earlier, the job of studying the scientific angle of a crime or a disaster is done by a forensic expert. This means they analyze all sorts of samples, from human remains to burnt chassis of vehicles, spent bullets to cigarette stubs, and almost everything to find whether it has any connection with a crime or some occurrence.
They try to find the connection between such material collected from crime spots and accident zones. The reports they make, help investigators to find out who was responsible for a crime or any other occurrences.
Forensic experts also visit these scenes of crime and disasters to collect evidence if necessary. They accompany police teams or are called later if the cops suspect there’s a need for forensic investigations.
You can safely say that the job of a forensic expert is something of a mix between an investigator and a scientist or analyst.
Best 10 Forensic Science Colleges in the USA
Actually, forensic science is a very interesting field. Therefore, if you have that scientific bend of mind and yet want to become an investigator or help cops and common people, you can become a forensic expert.
Where to study forensic sciences? Of course, at any of the top 10 forensic science colleges in the USA. In this article, I will write briefly about these top 10 forensic science colleges in the country.
Department of Sciences, Mercyhurst University
Mercyhurst University is located in Erie, Pennsylvania. It has one of the topmost forensic science courses in the USA. You will get a Bachelor’s degree in forensic sciences from this college. They train you in all sorts of forensic investigations including crime, accidents, archeology, and other fields. This degree is useful to get jobs in various industries as well as in law enforcement.
University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida is located in Orlando, better known for its various theme parks. This university is known to have one of the topmost Bachelor's courses in forensic sciences. This is a four-year course and you can learn all basics and essentials of forensics to work as an expert with any organization of your choice.
Texas A&M University
Located at College Station in Texas, offers the four-year Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program. This is a very sophisticated program that helps you to become a forensic scientist that can work in different fields, including crime investigation, archelogy, insurance and even geology. You will learn everything about collecting samples to preservation, investigations and filing complex reports.
Pennsylvania State University
Located in University Park, PA, the four-year degree from Pennsylvania State University. Their course focuses on criminal investigations and has various subjects relevant to this field. As a matter of fact, a lot of forensic experts employed by Federal agencies in USA are graduates of this college. If you’re interested in a career in forensic sciences, this is one college you should definitely consider.
Institute of Agriculture and Natural Sciences
The Institute of Agriculture and Natural Sciences at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln offers three distinct programs for forensic sciences. One of these is specialized in crime scene investigations. The other is forensic biology and the next, is forensic chemistry. While the first course aims at those who wish to join investigation and law enforcement work, the other two can help you enter agriculture, geology, metrology and archelogy fields, among others.
School of Science
Another fabulous course in forensic sciences, especially crime scene investigations, analysis of evidence and similar subjects is available at the Indianapolis University-Purdue University in Indianapolis. The four-year forensic and investigative science program mainly prepares you for work at a forensic lab that test crime scene evidence as well as specimens from accidents and sabotage scenes.
The Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio, offers an exciting forensic science course that’s based on Christian principles of justice and peace. As part of the course, you will also be working at a forensic lab and analysing samples. This course is said to involve extensive lab work and workshops, among other curricular activities. Additionally, you would also be solving various kinds of riddles and puzzles to sharpen your analytical skills.
Anthropology, chemistry, and biology are the main subjects that you will learn as part of the forensic science course at Loyola University in Chicago, IL. This university functions under a Jesuit order and hence incorporates such teachings as part of the curriculum, which includes justice and equality. You can get a superb job as a forensic expert in law enforcement, agriculture, geology and other fields with a degree from this university.
Ohio Northern University
Also among the best forensic science colleges in the USA is the Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio. According to their official figures, between 96 percent and 98 percent of their forensic science graduates find immediate employment upon completion of the course. Their forensic science course is very elaborate. In the sense that you can learn all the skills and subjects necessary to work as a forensic investigator with law enforcement, military, geology, agriculture and other fields. Here, you can learn a lot about the subject in a single course.
Madonna University is located in Livonia, Michigan. It is one of the academies in the USA to be accredited to the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission of the USA. This means, upon graduating, you can look for certifications from this commission to work as an investigator or field worker in various fields that require forensic experts. The course is said to be among the best of its kind in the US.
Salary of Forensic Experts in the USA
There’re no fixed levels of salary for forensic experts in the USA. However, Glassdoor.com, one of the most famous job boards in the world pegs the median salary of a forensic expert at $60,562 per year, which is higher than the median pay in the USA which stands at a little over $51,000 a year.
However, salaries of forensic experts can be as low as $41,223 per year to as high as $111,954 per year, depending on where you work and the nature of your job. Forensic experts working in the field of geology and employed by petrochemical companies are said to have larger salaries in this field.
Forensic science is a rather rare subject and not many people wish to enter this field. As a result, there’s always a huge demand for qualified and skilled graduates of forensic sciences in the American and international job markets.
Doing a degree in forensic sciences can ensure you year-round employment because very often, labs face an acute shortage of manpower because enough graduates aren’t available for hire. Therefore, you can easily do a degree in this field and look for work. Most graduates of forensic science find jobs immediately upon leaving college.