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Forensics Colleges in Georgia

Georgia (GA), also known as the Empire State of the South, offers abundant opportunities to forensic science people. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) 2022 Crime Statistics Summary Report, there were 825 reported murders across the state.

However, these aren’t the only cases requiring careful evidence collection, documentation, and analysis by a skilled forensic scientist. According to the report, a majority of the crimes committed in Georgia were nonviolent and related to the theft of personal property. There were 4,231 cases of robbery reported, 2.09 percent of all crimes in the state. In these cases, forensic scientists assist in collecting biological, chemical, or physical evidence to discover the perpetrator’s identity.

For people interested in crime-solving, there are many forensic science schools in Georgia to provide 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 and the occupational demand, featured forensic science colleges, program accreditation, and professional certification.

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How to Become a Forensic Scientist in Georgia

There are several paths to becoming a forensic scientist or forensic science technician in Georgia. 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, it is becoming increasingly common to pursue one’s education and credentials before joining any number of investigative occupations.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most forensic science technicians have at least a bachelor’s degree to qualify for entry-level positions.

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

Step 1: Graduate from high school (four years).

Due to the science-heavy nature of the profession, aspiring forensic scientists are advised to apply themselves in classes such as biology, chemistry, and physics. Training in statistics can also prove useful for future data-gathering responsibilities. 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.

Step 2: Pursue a bachelor’s degree in forensics or a related branch of science such as biology, chemistry, or physics (four years).

Some colleges offer full forensics programs, while others provide forensics as a minor for students in other science departments. Students must complete criminalistics, criminal justice, and forensic bio-traces courses for schools with forensics programs. Some programs have additional specialized courses or seminars in more specific areas, such as handwriting or blood-spatter analysis.

Step 3: 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 June 2024, nine certification organizations are accredited by the Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board (FSAB) with unique admissions processes that typically involve an application and an examination to demonstrate one’s forensic specialty competencies. A list of some of the FSAB-recognized certification agencies is at the bottom of this article.

Step 4: Pursue a master’s degree in forensic science or a related discipline (optional, two years).

For those seeking more advanced training in forensic analysis, 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 opportunities to conduct original research and add to the academic canon of the discipline. They also provide more in-depth training in the rapidly evolving worlds of microbiology, chemical analysis, and microscopy, to name a few of the fields.

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Forensics Career Outlook & Salaries in Georgia

There is excellent news for aspiring forensics professionals in GA: forensic science is a field on the rise. As proof of point, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2024) projects that openings for forensic science technicians nationwide will increase 13 percent between 2022 and 2032, much faster than the growth rate expected for all occupations during that time period (3 percent). This expected addition of 2,300 positions nationally is only one career possibility for people trained in forensic science.

The outlook is even brighter for residents of GA. Projections Central (2024) found that demand for forensic science technicians in Georgia specifically is expected to grow 19 percent between 2020 and 2030.

Some of the common employing organizations across the state include:

  • Georgia Bureau of Investigations Forensic Science Division
  • Diagnostics and medical labs
  • Consulting agencies
  • Hospitals
  • Local police and fire departments
  • Universities

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.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2023), 550 forensic science technicians are employed in Georgia. This is one of many occupations that people trained in forensic science pursue. Alternatively, graduates from forensic science colleges in Georgia become crime scene investigators (CSIs), detectives, laboratory managers, handwriting analysts, forensic pathologists, and other related professions.

The BLS (May 2023) provides a breakdown of the annual salary ranges for the 550 forensic science technicians in Georgia, who commanded an average annual salary of $59,420 and the following percentiles:

United States Georgia
Number of Forensic Science Technicians Employed 17,520 550
Annual Mean Wage $71,540 $59,420
10th percentile $41,410 $37,320
25th percentile $50,480 $44,350
50th percentile $64,940 $56,500
75th percentile $84,720 $70,770
90th percentile $107,490 $81,600

Unsurprisingly, the highest employment regions tend to be located around major urban centers. In fact, 370 of the 550 forensic science technicians in GA worked in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell area and earned an average annual salary of $61,700 (BLS May 2023). Here are the annual salary percentiles for the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell area of Georgia:

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell
Number employed 370
Average Annual Salary $61,700
10th percentile $36,960
25th percentile $46,180
50th Percentile (Median) $57,960
75th percentile $73,290
90th percentile $84,730

The national figures were slightly different according to another source of data, PayScale (June 2024), which relies on self-reported salaries. Among the forensic science techs reporting their annual salaries, Payscale found these percentiles for the US:

  • 10th percentile: $30,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $55,654
  • 90th percentile: $73,000

When reviewing any state or local salary data, it is important to consider the cost of living in that area. For instance, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2024), Georgia ranked 11th in affordability, making it more affordable than the majority of states.

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

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.

This 124-credit program includes courses such as organic chemistry; scientific mathematics; quantitative analysis; principles of genetics; forensic photography; forensic serology; forensic chemistry; controlled substance; introduction to criminal justice; and evidence collection in scientific crime investigation.

This program prepares graduates for professional careers in crime laboratories as trace evidence specialists, criminalists, DNA specialists, serologists, drug analysts, toxicologists, staff photographers, evidence technicians, and firearms and fingerprint examiners.

  • Location: Albany, GA
  • Accreditation: Forensic Science Education Programs Commission (FEPAC); Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Four years

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

Savannah State University

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, several electives are offered to accommodate more specialized interests, such as computer forensics, lab biotechnology, and forensic photography. Students must complete a total of 123 credits to graduate.

Courses in the forensic biology track include microbiology; genetics; cell biology; organic chemistry; elementary statistics; and principles of chemistry. The forensic chemistry concentration includes courses such as physical chemistry; instrumental analysis; analytical chemistry; chemistry research methods; and principles of biology.

  • Location: Savannah, GA
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Four years

Ogeechee Technical College

Ogeechee Technical College in Statesboro provides a crime scene investigation (CSI) certificate through its criminal justice program. Students complete fundamental courses such as methods of criminal investigation and crime scene processing. This hands-on program may be ideal for those looking to work in police departments.

This 12-credit program introduces students to several careers in this rapidly growing field of forensic science. Additionally, students will gain introductory exposure to skills and knowledge that may encourage further academic preparation in forensic technology careers such as death investigation, crime scene investigation, evidence technology, laboratory technology, general forensic science, forensic computer science, or criminal justice fields.

The college’s associate of applied science degree in criminal justice technology prepares students for entry-level positions in security, corrections, police administration, and investigation. To graduate from this associate program students must earn a minimum of 60 semester credits. Courses include introduction to criminal justice; corrections; criminal procedure; criminal law for criminal justice; constitutional law for criminal justice; juvenile justice; methods of criminal investigation; crime scene processing; and probation and parole.

  • Location: Statesboro, GA
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: AAS (five semesters); certificate (one semester)

Georgia Piedmont Technical College

Georgia Piedmont Technical College offers a crime scene investigation (forensics) technical certificate program providing students with introductory exposure to skills and knowledge that relate to evidence collection, crime scene reconstruction, courtroom testimony, and documentation and report writing. Graduates of this program will be prepared to pursue diverse opportunities in forensic technology careers such as death investigation, crime scene investigation, evidence technology, laboratory technology, general forensic science, and criminal justice fields.

Made up of 22 credits, the program includes courses such as introduction to forensic science; crime scene investigation; documentation and report preparation; case preparation and courtroom testimony; and composition and rhetoric.

  • Location: Clarkston, GA
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: One semester

Southern Crescent Technical College

Southern Crescent Technical College of Griffin, Georgia, offers a 64-credit forensic science degree with coursework in criminal justice; anatomy and physiology; crime scene investigation; death investigation; methods of criminal investigation; crime scene processing; and documentation and report preparation, among other classes.

SCTC also provides a 12-credit forensic science fundamentals certificate and a 51-credit forensic science technology diploma. It also offers three closely related criminal justice programs that award a 12-credit criminal justice fundamentals technical certificate, a 15-credit criminal justice specialist technical certificate, a 48-credit diploma, and a 60-credit AAS degree.

  • Location: Griffin, GA
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: One to two years

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:

University of West Georgia

The University of West Georgia offers an undergraduate certificate in forensic sciences that uses lectures, fieldwork, and lab to prepare students for careers in biology, anthropology, chemistry, or criminology, with a focus on forensic applications. This 16 to 17-credit program includes courses such as forensic anthropology; human osteology; entomology; drug abuse; criminal investigations; field methods in physical anthropology or archaeological field research; and modern forensic science.

The university also offers an online 120-credit bachelor of science degree in criminal justice with courses in criminal law; criminal procedure; criminology; corrections; criminal justice research methodology; and ethical issues in criminal justice.

Notably, the university also offers an online master of arts degree in criminology that comprises 36 credits, an online 120-credit bachelor of science degree in criminology, as well as an online criminology minor.

  • Location: Carrollton, GA
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: One to four years

University of North Georgia

The University of North Georgia offers a bachelor of science in criminal justice with a forensic science concentration preparing students for various crime scene investigation positions. The program’s faculty includes former practitioners with more than 30 years of combined experience. The program offers hands-on experience and a robust internship program with many networking opportunities.

This 120-credit program includes courses such as criminal procedures; juvenile justice; corrections; criminology; research methods in criminal justice; criminal investigations; drug identification & investigation; criminal forensics; evidence; death investigation; and criminal typologies.

  • Location: Dahlonega, GA
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Four years

Augusta University

Augusta University offers a bachelor of science in chemistry with a forensic science track. The forensic science concentration emphasizes biochemical and chemical analysis providing students with a flexible curriculum allowing them to customize their education to suit their career aspirations.

This 124-credit program includes coursework in principles of chemistry; organic chemistry; laboratory management and safety; forensic chemistry; biochemistry; integrated laboratory; principles of medicinal chemistry; and judicial process.

  • Location: Augusta, GA
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Four years

Georgia State University

Georgia State University offers a bachelor of science program in criminal justice with two available academic concentrations that can be earned online or on campus: legal studies or crime and justice. The concentration in legal studies is designed for those who desire more intensive exposure to the law while the crime and justice concentration provides a blend of traditional criminal justice curriculum and forward-thinking emphasis on digital criminology.

The 120-credit program includes courses such as Introduction to Criminal Justice, Policing in America, Social Science and the American Crime Problem, Corrections, and American Criminal Courts.

Georgia State University also offers a 36-credit master of science program in criminal justice offered at the Atlanta campus. The program includes courses such as theory and practice in criminal justice; criminological theory; research methods in criminal justice; statistics in criminal justice; and legal aspects of criminal justice.

  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two to four years

Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology offers a bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice and criminology and a master’s degree in criminal justice and criminology, both of which can be completed in person or online.

The bachelor of science degree has two specialization options in criminal justice and criminology or cybercrime preparing students for careers in law enforcement, victim advocacy, corrections, probation and parole, data analyses, digital forensics, and law. Made up of 124 credits, the program includes courses such as introduction to criminal justice; introduction to corrections; legal process; ethics in criminal justice; victimology; criminal law; criminal procedure; investigations; cyber criminology; cyber criminology; and applied digital forensics.

The 36-credit master of science program also offers emphasis options in criminal justice or criminology.

Finally, the department also offers a 30-credit executive master’s degree in criminal justice (EMCJ) designed exclusively for the law enforcement community as well as an online 12-credit graduate certificate in cybercrime.

  • Location: Statesboro, GA
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: One to four years

Atlanta Metropolitan State College

The School of Arts and Sciences at Atlanta Metropolitan State College offers a bachelor of science program in criminal justice, an associate of science degree in criminal justice, as well as a certificate in forensic chemistry.

The bachelor of science in criminal justice program comprises 120 credits and includes courses such as criminal law; criminal procedures; criminology; corrections; ethical issues in criminal justice; introduction to criminal justice; introduction to corrections; introduction to criminology; and judicial process.

Notably, the School of Science and Health Professions at Atlanta Metropolitan State College offers a Forensic Science certificate with courses in introduction to forensic science; analytical methods in forensic science; and principles of biology.

  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: One to four years

Online Forensic Science Colleges in Georgia

With rapidly expanding access to technology, schools have been developing distance education options for students who cannot attend more traditional, campus-based programs. ForensicsColleges.com has gathered a compendium of online forensic science programs of varying levels and organized them by specialty to meet the needs of students regardless of their location.

As mentioned below, American Intercontinental University (AIU) offers its bachelor of science (BS) in criminal justice program through its Atlanta campus and provides online coursework. AIU offers an optional specialization in forensic science, to make attending school more convenient for working professionals, parents, and people with other types of obligations.

American Intercontinental University

American Intercontinental University in Atlanta hosts a 180-credit bachelor of science (BS) degree in criminal justice with a forensic science specialty. Notably, this program is also offered online with training in forensic biology, psychopathology and criminality, and criminal investigation.

The curriculum includes courses such as introduction to criminology; introduction to criminal law; foundations of corrections; juvenile justice & delinquency theory; constitutional issues in criminal procedures; criminalistics; medicolegal death investigation; and crime victim studies.

  • Location: Atlanta GA
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Four years

Georgia State University

The Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Georgia State University also offers a fully online master’s of information systems (MIS) degree program in criminal justice administration. In 2022, the U.S. News & World Report ranked this criminal justice program #18 on the list of best criminology schools. This online master’s in criminal justice program earned a #37 spot on the list of best online master’s in criminal justice programs in the nation (U.S. News & World Report 2024).

This 30-credit MIS program can be taken on a full- or part-time schedule requiring approximately two or three years to finish depending on the number of courses taken each semester. A capstone is required to complete this degree, and students and their advisor committee select research topics.

Graduates from this program go to work for federal, state, and local law enforcement organizations.

  • Location: Atlanta GA
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two to three years

These are only a few of the online forensics programs available from GA-based campuses. Again, Georgia residents may 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 in Forensics

The Forensic Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) is the primary accrediting body for forensics programs nationwide. Albany State University currently has one FEPAC-accredited bachelor’s program in Georgia.

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, several institutional and regional accreditation bodies exist.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) approves degree programs in Georgia. SACSCOC weighs criteria such as the quality of faculty, physical facilities, school finances, and student outcomes, among other measures.

Finally, several specialized professional certifications that aspiring forensic scientists may choose to pursue depend on their discipline. While admissions procedures vary, the process typically involves applying, verifying one’s educational and professional experience, and passing a competency-based examination. The Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board (FSAB) has accredited nine organizations to award professional certification. These FSAB-accredited organizations include:

  • American Board of Forensic Anthropology (ABFA)
  • American Board of Forensic Document Examiners (ABFDE)
  • American Board of Forensic Odontology (ABFO)
  • American Board of Forensic Toxicology (ABFT)
  • American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (ABMDI)
  • Board of Forensic Document Examiners (BFDE)
  • International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI)
  • International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists (IACIS)
  • International Board of Forensic Engineering Sciences (IBFES)

Those who wish to have detailed information on credentialing within each subfield of forensics can visit our programs or careers page.

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Jocelyn Blore is the chief content officer of Sechel Ventures and the co-author of the Women Breaking Barriers series. She graduated summa cum laude from UC Berkeley and traveled the world for five years. She also worked as an addiction specialist for two years in San Francisco. She’s interested in how culture shapes individuals and systems within societies—one of the many themes she writes about in her blog, Blore’s Razor (Instagram: @bloresrazor). She has served as managing editor for several healthcare websites since 2015.