Those who have an interest in forensic science will find that several different programs of study are available in Maryland. Community colleges, state colleges and universities are among the institutions offering academic programs. It should be noted that Maryland could be a good state to pursue a career in as forensic science technicians working there earned mean annual wages that were above the national average.
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Maryland employs 650 forensic science technicians, according to data from the 2012 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, of all 50 states, it falls fifth in terms of highest employment of people in the occupation. Only California, Florida, Texas, and Arizona have more forensic science technicians employed.
Those in the occupation in Maryland earned mean annual wages of $65,810, according to 2012 BLS data. This is above the nationwide average of $55,730. However, pay can vary based on time on the job and level of education. In fact, nationwide, forensic science technicians earned wages as low as $32,200 and as high as $85,210. Forensic science technicians in Maryland or elsewhere can seek employment with local and state governments, medical and diagnostic labs, and even substance abuse hospitals. In Maryland, they may want to look for jobs in urban areas such as Baltimore or in any of its many metropolitan areas.
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Students will find a number of forensic science colleges in Maryland that offer education in the field. They will want to be sure to contact these school for more details, but can use the list below as a starting point in their research.
Prince George’s Community College in Largo offers an associate of science degree in forensic science that incorporates various aspects of the field, including criminal investigation, the law, and physical science. Students can use this associate degree to transfer to other institutions including the University of Baltimore and the University of Maryland University College, but should speak to an enrollment counselor first.
The University of Baltimore, in Baltimore, offers a 12-credit, four course, certificate in forensic science. Students do instrumental analysis, microscopy and crime scene recreation in the Jami R. Grant Forensic Laboratories, which was built in part with the Baltimore Police Department to train students and act as a back-up crime lab for the city. Students can also pursue a bachelor’s of science degree with a forensic concentration that allows them to work in the same laboratory and to interact with forensic science professionals.
The University of Maryland University College offers a bachelor’s of science degree in investigative forensics, which introduces students to basic investigative, laboratory-based and scientific forensics and helps them to understand both the theory behind and the practices comprising the forensics field.
Students may not have time to take all of their courses at a traditional school and may be looking for other options. Fortunately, some forensic colleges in Maryland are able to accommodate. Prince George’s Community College offers distance learning, as does the University of Baltimore. Coppin State University has online courses as well. Students can also find fully online and hybrid courses through nationally-focused schools that allow them to complete the lab portions at a campus or in another setting.
Students looking to complete a forensic science program in Maryland will want to ensure that the school they choose has received accreditation. This means that an outside agency has examined the school and finds that it meets or exceeds a certain level of standard. Prince George’s Community College, for example, is accredited through the Maryland State Department of Education. Most accreditation information can be found on a school’s website.
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
Barry is Managing Editor of ForensicsColleges.com, operated by educational web publisher Sechel Ventures Partners LLC, which he co-founded. Barry was previously VP for a financial software company, and currently sits on the board of a K-8 school and lives with his wife and daughters in the San Francisco Bay Area.