People who are interested in entering the forensic science field can look to schools in Wisconsin to help them obtain training. Both campus-based and online schools provide options to students, with forensic science education often being offered through certificates or associate or bachelor’s degrees programs. Students who want to learn more about a potential career can look to the American Academy of Forensic Science for resources and information.
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Several forensic science colleges in Wisconsin offer courses in the field that can help students to prepare for careers working with law enforcement and in crime labs. According to 2012 information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 130 forensic science technicians are currently working in Wisconsin. This includes jobs in local and state government, in substance-abuse and psychiatric hospitals, and medical and diagnostic laboratories.
In Wisconsin, the average mean wages for forensic science technicians were $55,070, as of 2012 BLS data. This falls just below the nationwide average for the job, which was $55,730 as of 2012. However, depending on the time spent on the job and level of education, forensic science technicians can earn varying levels of pay. For example, those in the lowest 10 percent of pay earned as little as $32,200 while those in the highest 10 percent earned up to $85,210, according to 2012 data. Forensic science technicians could look for jobs in the state’s large cities of Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay, but also could find jobs in smaller towns and municipalities.
Forensics colleges in Wisconsin are available all around the state and offer students a variety of academic options. This list below provides a starting point for researching schools, but students will want to call the specific institutions to find out more about available programs.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee offers a certificate program in forensic science, which trains students in the area of evidence analysis especially as related to DNA identification in criminal investigations and paternity suits. The school also provides certificates in forensic toxicology and death investigation, which are more specific branches of forensic science.
Fox Valley Technical College gives students the option of pursuing an associate degree in forensic science and gaining real-world experience through an internship. Instructors have actual professional experience in the field they teach and students may be able to use their degree to transfer to a four-year college or university due to articulation agreements.
The University of Wisconsin at Platteville offers students a bachelor’s of science degree in forensic investigations. Students learn crime-scene processing techniques that include crime-scene mapping, fingerprint identification and forensic photography. A significant number of criminal justice classes also comprise this degree.
Online courses for some areas of study are available through different schools, which can make learning much easier for those who have busy schedules. Fox Valley has online learning, but other, fully online schools have courses of study in forensics as well. Liberty University, for example, offers an online bachelor’s of science degree in criminal justice with a focus on forensics that teaches students analytical and scientific practices germane to forensics and law. In addition, National University allows students to pursue an online master’s of science degree in forensic science and graduate level certificates in forensic and crime scene investigations.
Students who are looking for forensic science schools in Wisconsin will have a number of choices, but should ensure that a school has accreditation before applying for a program. Accreditation means than an outside authority has reviewed the school’s offerings and accredited them for meeting certain expected standards. As an example, Fox Valley Technical has accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission.
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