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For Buckeye state residents interested in crime scene investigation and related disciplines, there are a number of quality forensics colleges in Ohio. After graduating from a program, these professionals typically help in solving crimes by collecting evidence from crime scenes; performing laboratory analyses; collaborating with various experts in fields such as ballistics, handwriting, and metallurgy; and even testifying in court.
In Ohio, there are a variety of top programs—including flexible online options—for those who want to become involved in this exciting line of work. In order to become a forensic scientist, candidates typically pursue a bachelor’s degree in the natural sciences. Others, including many crime scene investigators, may get their careers started in a police academy, garnering many of the necessary skills in the field. There are a variety of paths for aspiring forensic scientists detailed below.
Forensic science is a relatively high-paying career, especially in Ohio. According the the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2014), these professionals—classified jointly as “forensic science technicians”—make an average of $58,610 annually, significantly higher than the average salary for all occupations in the country ($47,230). There’s especially good news for forensic scientists in Ohio, as the annual average salary for forensic science techs in this state—$58,650—is slightly higher than the national average. The BLS (2014) estimates that there are currently 320 forensic science technicians employed in Ohio, although this figure is expected to grow in coming years. Between 2012 and 2022, the number of forensic science techs in the U.S. is expected to climb 6%, with a number of those job openings in Ohio.
To learn about degree programs, certifications, and the job outlook for forensic scientists in Ohio, read on below.
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In order to become a forensic scientist in Ohio, there are a variety of educational and experiential paths, although a four-year college degree is a typical requirement. Here is one typical route for a career in forensic science:
Therefore, in Ohio, aspiring forensic scientists can expect to complete four to six years of postsecondary work, in addition to completing optional certification requirements. Again, while registering as a forensic scientist is not required for practice in the state of Ohio, it may be desirable to enhance one’s credentials at various employing organizations. By passing aptitude tests or fulfilling membership criteria in organizations such as the ABC, candidates may enhance their candidacy for various jobs.
Also, by taking electives such as toxicology, psychology, or physical anthropology, forensic scientists can hone their skills in specific areas. According to the AAFS, there are a number of specialized disciplines within forensic science, including the following:
Taking electives in these subjects may help forensic scientists secure jobs with more specific skill requirements. For more information, the ForensicsColleges.com education blog offers a detailed breakdown of how to become a forensic scientist.
According to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Laboratory Division, there are over 160,000 pieces of evidence processed annually in crime scene investigations. In order to become a crime scene investigator (CSI) in Ohio, candidates typically do the following:
Therefore, crime scene investigators (CSIs) in Ohio can expect to complete six months to four years of postsecondary work, in addition to optional certification requirements. Again, while certification by agencies such as the ICSIA is not a requirement for CSIs in Ohio, it may be desirable as a show of a candidate’s aptitude when applying for jobs.
Prior to seeking a crime scene investigator program or a certification, candidates in Ohio should be sure to check the requirements of their intended place of employment. For more information, the ForensicsColleges.com education blog features a detailed breakdown of how to become a CSI.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes both forensic scientists and CSIs under its “forensic science technician” categorization. According to the BLS (2013), there were 310 forensic science technicians working in Ohio. The BLS projects that openings in this field will grow 6% between 2012 and 2022, with a number of these openings in Ohio. In 2014, the average salary for those working in forensic science in Ohio was $58,650, slightly higher than the national average for this occupation ($58,610).
The BLS (2014) provides the salary range for forensic science technicians in Ohio:
The top-paying metropolitan regions and the reported annual average salaries for forensic science technicians were:
The top-employing metropolitan regions (and number of forensic science techs employed) were:
Typically many of the jobs in forensic science may be found in the larger cities due to higher crime rates and a greater need for crime-solving teams. For example, the Miami Valley Regional Crime Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio employs forensic scientists to assist local law enforcement agencies. It also has the distinction of being the first crime lab in the state of Ohio to be accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD-LAB). Having this national accreditation may be an indicator of the integrity, consistency, impartiality, and quality of the laboratory services. Other employing organizations for forensic science technicians in Ohio may include:
Forensic scientists and CSIs in Ohio typically work in laboratories, crime scenes, police stations, classrooms, medical examiner offices, hospitals, or morgues. There are also a number of positions available in federal, state, and local governments.
For those seeking professional support on a regional level, the Ohio Identification Officers Association may offer an additional sense of community with its annual training conference.
There are a number of top undergraduate programs for forensic science in Ohio. After graduating from high school and completing typical prerequisites such as chemistry, mathematics, and biology, students in Ohio may be eligible to apply. Please note that many employing organizations also require that their candidates be of “strong moral character,” and may ask for background checks, reference letters, or other measures to ensure students’ ethical behavior and suitability for the work.
Forensics schools in Ohio include:
In addition to the various forensic science program offerings in Ohio, students also have a number of resources at their disposal including the Forensic Science Institute of Ohio and the National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC).
Some students in Ohio may have full-time jobs or family commitments that prevent them from attending a traditional “brick-and-mortar” school. Online and hybrid programs can provide additional options and flexibility. One of the more convenient online options for studying forensic science in Ohio is North Central State College.
Please note that many forensics programs in Ohio require classroom participation since many laboratory procedures require sophisticated equipment that can’t be used from home.
Students may be able to find additional online options and coursework through campus-based forensics colleges in Ohio, or by checking out the national listing of online forensics and CSI programs.
There are a number of organizations that provide accreditation to forensics programs in Ohio. Schools that have received accreditation typically undergo a rigorous process to ensure they are meeting standards of quality in instruction, program content, student outcomes, and other measures. The Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) is the primary organization which accredits programs in forensic science. At an institutional level, schools such as the Central Ohio Technical College are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the North Central Association. Although it’s not necessary to graduate from a FEPAC- or another agency-accredited program to practice forensic science in the state of Ohio, it can be a useful indicator of program quality prior to enrolling.
Finally, forensic science professionals do not need any special certification to practice in the state of Ohio, but some employers may express a preference for certified job candidates. Here is a list of some of the organizations offering certifications for forensic scientists, technicians, and CSIs in Ohio:
|School Name||City||Website||Degrees Awarded||Certificates Awarded||Total Forensics Grads|
|University of Northwestern Ohio||Lima||www.unoh.edu||12||0||12|
|Ohio Northern University||Ada||http://www.onu.edu||10||0||10|
|Central Ohio Technical College||Newark||www.cotc.edu||10||0||10|
|Belmont College||Saint Clairsville||www.belmontcollege.edu||10||0||10|
|Youngstown State University||Youngstown||www.ysu.edu||6||0||6|
|The University of Findlay||Findlay||https://www.findlay.edu||6||0||6|
|Sinclair Community College||Dayton||www.sinclair.edu||3||2||5|
|University of Akron Main Campus||Akron||www.uakron.edu||0||3||3|
|North Central State College||Mansfield||http://www.ncstatecollege.edu/cms/index.php||0||2||2|
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