If you enjoy television shows about crime scene investigations, a career in forensic analysis might be the right choice for you. While many forensic science jobs require a bachelor's degree, the first step toward making this goal a reality is education. Many community colleges offer degree options that can help you get a start on such a career.
Community colleges offer various types of certificates and degrees in forensic study. Certificates generally require one or two semesters but often build on previous associate degrees, focusing on technical study, such as the Digital Forensics certificate option from Richland College in Dallas. Students can achieve an Associate of Science degree in forensic science, which typically takes about two years to complete, from community colleges such as Hostos Community College in New York and Scottsdale Community College.
Students working toward an A.S. degree in forensic analysis or otherwise wanting to transfer to a university to complete a bachelor's program must typically take general education courses. Such classes give students an educational base in areas such as communications like speech and composition, humanities such as literature and history, social sciences like psychology and sociology, science such as chemistry and biology, and math -- typically higher level classes like trigonometry or calculus. The specific courses required vary by school.
Beyond the basics, coursework depends upon the specific program. In a digital or computer forensics program, for instance, classes teach about tools and strategies to cull information from electronic devices. A forensic technician or crime scene analysis A.S. program, however, generally requires heavy science courses in chemistry, physics and biology. Such degrees often include classes about basic criminal justice systems, evidence,collection and preservation techniques and criminology. Programs may require students to perform an internship, project or other hands-on experience.
Choosing a forensic science major at a community college provides a strong educational base for completion of a bachelor's degree at a four-year college or university. The A.S. degree may allow students to work as assistants in crime labs. Employers determine the amount of schooling needed for crime scene investigators and technicians outside a lab, so these are possible career options. You may find work as an evidence custodian or property specialist, for instance, for a government or private agency, law firm or insurance provider.