Forensic Science Associate’s Degrees
An associate’s degree in forensic science is very valuable. Often the obtaining of such a degree is enough to qualify one for an entry level position within this field. Typically, those entry level positions are forensic science technicians. These professionals perform a wide variety of job functions. However, their primary responsibility is to analyze evidence found at crime scenes and other locations in order to successfully investigate criminal activity. Quite frequently, these professionals work in a capacity that is subordinate to forensic scientists, most of whom have bachelor degrees or graduate level education. Still, forensic science technicians are vital to the process of carrying out forensic science. They are charged with storing and collecting evidence in a manner so that it will be of use in the investigation of a crime. They often have to analyze evidence to see how it may have played a part in any sort of criminal behavior. The key distinction between a forensic scientist and a forensic science technician is that the latter is decidedly more pragmatic, since they essentially function to assist the former. Therefore, forensic science technicians are responsible for cleaning equipment, keeping files and records of progress on cases, as well as maintaining and operating laboratory equipment (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
The vast majority of associate’s degree programs in forensic science can be found at technical institutions, trade schools and at vocational schools. They usually necessitate candidates perform two years of full time study in order to graduate. All associate’s degree programs are part of a liberal arts education, meaning that candidates will take subjects that are not directly related to their area of concentration. However, most of the classes that students will take within this discipline will be inherently related to science classes such as applied chemistry and/or physics, as well as math classes of all levels. What’s really helpful about a number of these programs is that often they are actually created so that students (if they choose to) can further their education by attending a bachelor’s degree program. Students who select this option typically have to only do a pair of years (if they study full-time) to achieve a bachelor’s degree. This can be quite advantageous for students looking to be a forensic scientist, because students who have not previously earned an associate’s degree must typically fulfill four years’ worth of full-time study to earn this degree (BLS).