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How important in the Forensic Job Market is a Masters or Degree above? If it is which Graduate Schools should i be looking at?

Hello all,

I'm Adam Tuttle and I'm going to be a Senior at Tri-State University/ Trine University in Angola, Indiana. I'll be graduating with a double major in Chemistry and Forensic Science but don't really know what the next step is going to be. If ANYONE has some light to shine on these questions I would greatly appreciate the suggestions.

Thanks

Adam Tuttle

4 Replies
New Contributor

Re: How important in the Forensic Job Market is a Masters or Degree above? If it is which Graduate Schools should i be looking at?

Hi Adam,

sorry for the late reply to your question - I just recently discovered this group. I'm teaching both Forensic Sciences and Pharmaceutical Chemistry on the graduate level (MS) at the University of Florida. My impression is that many students that are currently part of the program have been working in the field of forensic sciences for years and want to move their careers to the next level - becoming a laboratory manager/supervisor or director. While a MS degree can provide you with these career advancements, it depends on what you want to do. If you plan to mainly focus on research, a PhD is usually required which can be in Forensic Sciences (the University of Central Oklahoma has an excellent program) or specific to the area you are interested in (organic chemistry, biochemistry, or analytical chemistry).

There are currently only a few graduate programs in the US specific to Forensic Sciences (list is by no means complete, but rather the programs that I know of):

University of Central Florida

University of Central Oklahoma

University of Florida

Boston University

George Washington University

University of Illinois

University of Alabama

University of Maryland

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

All of the above institutions and programs are well respected, but the list may not be up-to-date since some of these programs had low enrollments in recent years.

I hope this information is still somewhat helpful - please feel free to contact me if you have further questions. Best of luck to you.

Oliver

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New Contributor

Re: How important in the Forensic Job Market is a Masters or Degree above? If it is which Graduate Schools should i be looking at?

Outside of academia or post docs, is there a job market to pursue a career in forensic science or analytical chemistry research?  I am considering returning to school to pursue a PhD in Chemistry, but I do not want to stop working in the lab.  From what I've been told, those with PhDs and working outside of academia usually hold managerial or director-type positions; a future goal of mine, but not for the immediate future.  I am wondering if it is still possible to conduct forensic research outside of the universities or would it be better to gain more hands-on experience in industry or a crime lab before returning to graduate school.  Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Jamie Lou

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New Contributor

How important in the Forensic Job Market is a Masters or Degree above? If it is which Graduate Schools should i be looking at?

Hey Adam, I'm pretty much in the same boat as you.  I have been actively looking for Forensic Science Master's Programs for the past few months.  Some schools I keep coming across that you might want to look into are:

Marshall University

Virginia Commonwealth

Arcadia University

Michigan State University

Hope this helps and I am also interested to know how important/beneficial a MS in Forensic Science is.

James

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New Contributor

How important in the Forensic Job Market is a Masters or Degree above? If it is which Graduate Schools should i be looking at?

Hello all-

I'm Nena.  I have been working as a forensic toxicologist in the state of Florida for the past 6 years.  I was hired on with only a B.A. in Chemistry, as were most of the analysts I work with.  You do not NEED an M.S. or higher to do forensic work.  Most of your training will be on the job.  You do however need to think about who you are competing with for the position.  Many students these days are getting advanced degrees because they are unable to find a job in forensics.  I myself got my M.S. from the Univ. of Florida's online program while working full time in the field.  I would again caution you: the salary you would be making at a government lab (state, county ~40,000) may not be worth the price you will pay for that M.S.  As mentioned in another post, govt labs are overworked and underpaid.  I will say it is nice to have that advanced degree when attorneys are questioning your credibility as an expert witness in a trial, but not so nice when I have to make that student loan payment:) There are a lot of factors to consider; ultimately, you should do what you want to do.  I have my M.S. and now I have decided to apply to medical school...just goes to show you never know what will happen even a year down the road.

ncw