GA

Search For Schools

FORENSICS COLLEGES IN GEORGIA

Georgia—also known as the Empire State of the South—offers abundant opportunities to people interested in forensic science. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI), there were 606 murders across the state in 2015, although these aren’t the only cases which require the careful evidence collection, documentation, and analysis of a skilled forensic scientist. A majority of the crimes committed in Georgia in 2015 were non-violent and related to the theft of personal property. There were 208,826 cases of larceny reported, 62.2 percent of all crimes in the state. In these cases, forensic scientists assist in the collection of biological, chemical, or physical evidence in order to discover the identity of the perpetrator.

For people interested in crime-solving, there is a wealth of forensic science schools in Georgia to receive proper training. Coincidentally, the state motto embodies the core of a successful forensic investigation: “Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation.” Read on to discover how to become a forensic scientist in Georgia, as well as the occupational demand, featured forensic science colleges, program accreditation, and professional certification.

Programs for Georgia Students

Stevenson University

Coursework online. Capstone on-campus.

Online Master's in Forensic Studies

  • Criminalistics Track
Utica College

Online MS in Financial Crime & Compliance Mgmt

Online MS in Cybersecurity

  • Cyber Intelligence Specialization
  • Computer Forensics Specialization
Southern New Hampshire University

BA in Psychology - Forensic Psychology

MS in Psychology - Forensic Psychology

Maryville University

Online MS in Cyber Security

Online BS in Cyber Security

Regis University

Online BS in Criminology

Jump Down to Georgia Forensics Programs >>

HOW TO BECOME A FORENSIC SCIENTIST IN GEORGIA

In Georgia, there are several paths to becoming a forensic scientist or forensic science technician. Some candidates receive hands-on crime training at a police academy and pursue associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees in forensics later on. As access to quality forensic science programs increases—especially with the recent explosion of online offerings—it’s becoming increasingly common to pursue one’s education and credentials prior to joining any number of crime-solving occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS Dec. 2015)—the main data organization affiliated with the U.S. Department of Labor—a majority of forensic science technicians have at least a bachelor’s degree to qualify for entry-level positions.

Here is one possible path to becoming a forensic scientist in Georgia:

  • Graduate from high school. Due to the science-heavy nature of the profession, aspiring forensic scientists are advised to get high grades in classes such as biology, chemistry, and physics. If available, training in statistics can also prove useful for the data-gathering responsibility. Finally, some high school students may volunteer with their local police force, fire department, or various types of laboratories to receive valuable experience and enhance their college admission credentials.
  • Pursue a bachelor’s degree in forensics or a related branch of science such as biology, chemistry, or physics (4 years). Some colleges offer full forensics programs while others offer forensics as a minor for students in other science departments. For schools with full forensics programs, students must complete courses such as criminalistics, criminal justice, and forensic bio-traces. Some programs have additional specialized courses or seminars in more specific areas such as handwriting or blood-spatter analysis.
  • Apply for certification from a national organization (optional, timeline varies). Depending on one’s college degree and training, it may be advisable to seek certification. This process can indicate a certain baseline of skills to prospective employers or college admissions committees (for those interested in graduate studies). As of April 2017, there were ten certification organizations accredited by the Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board (FSAB) which have unique admissions processes, but typically involve an application and some sort of examination to demonstrate one’s forensic specialty competencies. A list of some of the common, FSAB-accredited certification agencies is at the bottom of this article.
  • Pursue a master’s degree in forensic science or a related discipline (optional, 2 years). For those seeking more advanced training in forensic analyses—particularly for those interested in more leadership opportunities, responsibilities, and possibly higher pay—it may be necessary to enroll in graduate studies in forensic science. These degrees offer not only opportunities to conduct original research and add to the academic canon of the discipline, but they also provide more in-depth training in the rapidly evolving worlds of microbiology, chemical analyses, and microscopy, to name a few of the fields.

OCCUPATIONAL DEMAND IN GEORGIA TODAY

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2016), there are currently 450 forensic science technicians employed in Georgia. This is one of many occupations that people trained in forensic science pursue. Alternatively, graduates for forensic science colleges in Georgia go on to become crime scene investigators (CSIs), detectives, laboratory managers, handwriting analysts, forensic pathologists, and other related professions.

The BLS (2016) provides a breakdown of the annual salary ranges for the 450 forensic science technicians in Georgia, who commanded an average annual salary of $49,260 and the following percentiles:

  • 10th percentile: $28,500
  • 25th percentile: $35,140
  • 50th percentile (median): $47,060
  • 75th percentile: $59,900
  • 90th percentile: $73,150

In hourly figures, these equated an average of $23.68 per hour and these percentiles:

  • 10th percentile: $13.70/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $16.89/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $22.62/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $28.80/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $35.17/hr.

It’s no surprise that the regions with the highest employment tend to be located around major urban centers. In fact, 370 of the 450 forensic science technicians in GA worked in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell area and earned an average annual salary of $49,910, slightly higher than the state average (BLS May 2016). Here were the annual salary percentiles for that region of Georgia:

  • 10th percentile: $28,230
  • 25th percentile: $34,610
  • 50th percentile (median): $46,510
  • 75th percentile: $59,330
  • 90th percentile: $73,300

Additionally, there is a number of employment opportunities for those trained in forensic science in Georgia. In fact, the BLS (Dec. 2015) projected a 27 percent explosion in job openings nationwide for forensic science technicians between 2014 and 2024, much more robust than the average growth expected across all occupations during that time period (6.5 percent).

Some of the common employing organizations across the state include:

Finally, there are many resources to provide support and further training to forensic scientists in Georgia. The American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) offers a comprehensive list of societies, professional organizations, conferences, publications, employment opportunities and more, all related to the varied fields of forensics.

FEATURED FORENSIC SCIENCE COLLEGES IN GEORGIA

Georgia is host to many quality forensic science programs, including one bachelor’s program in forensic science accredited by the prestigious Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC):

Albany State University’s FEPAC-accredited forensic science bachelor of science (BS) degree program is offered through the College of Sciences and Technology. Through its rigorous coursework and supervised externship opportunities, Albany State aims to prepare aspiring professionals in forensic chemistry, microscopy, toxicology, photography, fingerprinting, and DNA. Furthermore, this competitive program has received grants from the U.S. Departments of Education and Defense and has the distinction of being the only established forensics program among HBCU (i.e., Historically Black Colleges and Universities) institutions nationwide. For the 2016-17 school year, tuition costs $161.93 per credit hour. Additional fees may apply.

There are several other notable forensic science colleges in Georgia such as:

  • Savannah State University offers a bachelor of science (BS) in forensic science program through its College of Sciences and Technology. Students choose between two specialty tracks: chemistry or biology. This “highly marketable interdisciplinary degree” requires core coursework in personal identification with DNA, drug abuse and analysis, and a forensic science seminar. Additionally, there are several electives offered to accommodate more specialized interests such as computer forensics, lab biotechnology, and forensic photography. This program costs $2,429 per semester (2016-17) for in-state residents, and $8,839 for those from out-of-state.
  • Ogeechee Technical College in Statesboro provides a crime scene investigation (CSI) certificate through its forensic science technology program. Students complete fundamental courses such as victimology, death investigation, forensic photography, forensic firearms and toolmarks, and latent print examination. This hands-on program may be ideal for those looking to work in police departments. Tuition varies by number of units and can be found on OTC’s tuition table.
  • Georgia Southern University, also located in Statesboro, hosts a specialty track in the growing field of forensic accounting, open to students in their esteemed master’s of accounting program. This program comprises courses such as expert witnessing, law and ethics for accountants, and fraudulent financial reporting. Georgia Southern’s program is designed to prepare students for careers at law firms, public accounting firms, and professional litigation support consulting companies. Please note that GSU also has introductory courses in forensics for high school students such as Forensics: From Candy DNA to Solving Crimes. Graduate tuition at GSU varies by many factors and can be found through the Office of Student Accounts.
  • Southern Crescent Technical College of Griffin offers a 68-credit forensic science degree with coursework in criminal justice, anatomy and physiology, crime scene investigation, victimology, death investigation, crime scene processing, and latent print examination, among other classes. SCTC also provides a 12-credit forensic science fundamentals certificate or a 53-credit diploma program, as well as closely related criminal justice degree program. Please use the SCTC Net Price Calculator to estimate tuition.
  • American Intercontinental University in Atlanta hosts a 36-month bachelor of science (BS) degree in criminal justice with a forensic science specialty. Notably, this program is also offered online with training in areas such as forensic biology, psychopathology and criminality, and arson investigation. Finally, the school has an experienced professional certificate for those looking to boost specific skills in forensic science, which covers targeted topics such as medicolegal death investigations, evidence, and forensic psychology. The online program costs $302 per credit hour and the Atlanta-based program costs $4,750 per quarter.

These are only a few of the forensics programs available. Here are some other renowned forensic science colleges in GA, including some with distance-based programs:

ONLINE FORENSICS PROGRAMS

With rapidly expanding access to technology, schools have been developing distance education options for students who are unable to attend more traditional, campus-based programs. ForensicsColleges.com has gathered a compendium of online forensic science programs of varying levels and organized by specialty to meet the needs of students regardless of their location.

As mentioned above, American Intercontinental University not only offers its bachelor of science (BS) in criminal justice program through its Atlanta campus, but also provides the coursework online, with an optional specialization in forensic science, to make attending school more convenient for working professionals, parents, and people with other types of obligations.

Also, Argosy University provides an online master of science (MS) in forensic psychology with three unique concentrations: assessment and treatment, homeland security, or law enforcement. Courses common to all the specialized tracks include maladaptive behavior and psychopathology, psychology of criminal behavior, research and evaluation, and psychology of the victim. This online program costs $750 per credit hour.

These are only a few of the online forensics programs available from GA-based campuses. Again, Georgia residents may also qualify for programs located in other states and are encouraged to check out the main page for online forensic science degree programs.

PROGRAM ACCREDITATION & PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION

The primary accrediting body for forensics programs across the country is the Forensic Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC). There is currently one FEPAC-accredited bachelor’s program in Georgia at Albany State. While graduating from a FEPAC accredited program is not generally a prerequisite to employment or certifications in Georgia, it can be a useful marker of programmatic integrity, indicating to potential employers or graduate program admissions committees a student’s level of achievement. In addition to FEPAC—a program-accrediting organization—there are several institutional and regional accreditation bodies as well.

In Georgia, the primary regional accreditation body is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). SACS weighs criteria such as the quality of faculty, physical facilities, school finances, and student outcomes, among other measures.

Finally, there is a number of specialized professional certifications which aspiring forensic scientists may choose to pursue depending on their discipline. While admissions procedures vary, the process typically involves an application, verifying one’s educational and/or professional experience, and passing a competence-based examination. The Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board (FSAB) has accredited 10 organizations across the country to award professional certification. These FSAB-accredited organizations include:

School NameCityWebsiteDegrees AwardedCertificates AwardedTotal Forensics Grads
Southern Crescent Technical CollegeGriffin639
Ogeechee Technical CollegeStatesboro011

School data provided by IPEDS (2013), and includes all certificates and degrees awarded for the following programs: Arson Investigation, Computer Forensics, Forensic Accounting, Forensic Chemistry, Forensic Psychology, Forensic Science and Technology, and Law Enforcement Investigation

GA