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Forensic Science Colleges in Vermont

Although Vermont (VT) is 75 percent forested and one of the country’s smallest states in terms of geographic size and population, professionals are still needed to help process crime scene information, whether through a career as a forensic science technician or a crime scene investigator.

A forensic science technician typically needs a bachelor’s degree in the natural sciences to make a start in the field. However, a master’s degree in forensic science can be advantageous, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Forensic science technicians work in crime labs, processing specimens and samples from crime scenes. They may even specialize in biology, chemistry, or a related area like DNA. Although they do their scientific analysis in the lab, technicians also communicate their findings to others, whether that’s a detective, an attorney, or a court of law.

Crime scene investigators, on the other hand, spend much of their time out in the field, processing crime scenes and collecting evidence to be turned over to forensic science technicians. Although a crime scene investigator’s education may include scientific components, they need to be particularly skilled at identifying and preserving evidence at a crime scene and taking notes and details about the crime scene itself. A bachelor’s degree can be helpful to entering the field, although some people pursue CSI through a law enforcement academy.

Forensic Science Career Outlook and Salary Data in Vermont

While a forensic science career could be rewarding in many ways, it is also important to take a look at potential pay. After all, no one wants to work all day and not be able to afford a place to stay or be able to put food on the table. That should not be the case with this career.

The BLS (May 2022) reports that the mean annual wages for forensic science technicians working nationwide were $69,260, as of May 2022 data. The mean salary for forensic science technicians is higher than the mean annual wages for all occupations combined in the country, which comes in at $61,900. Wage data for the occupation is not specifically available in Vermont through the BLS.

Nationwide, job opportunities for forensic science technicians are expected to grow by 13 percent from 2022 to 2032 (BLS 2023). While this could lead to 2,300 new jobs becoming available across the country, those who could have the best opportunities include individuals with a specialty in DNA analysis or digital forensics or who have obtained master’s degrees, according to the BLS.

How to Become a Forensic Science Technician in Vermont

A college education is essential to pursuing a forensic science technician career because so much knowledge in biology and chemistry is necessary. Beyond that, forensic science technicians need to know how to work in a lab and operate the various pieces of equipment there to analyze evidence and samples. Some of the most common educational steps in forensic science include:

  • Step 1: A bachelor’s degree. Students typically can pursue either a degree in biology or chemistry or a degree in forensic science, which may feature courses in both disciplines to gain adequate knowledge for entering the field. Hands-on experiences in labs provide students with even further opportunities, and internships or field experiences also may be available in some four-year programs.
  • Step 2: A master’s degree (optional). A master’s degree often takes two to three years of full-time study to complete and can enable students to do research that aligns with their job interests if they continue working full-time, too. Both thesis and non-thesis options can be found and some master’s degrees are even offered online. This education can be important to career advancement, whether that’s in a lab or specializing in a niche area.
  • Step 3: A PhD or doctoral degree (optional). In a broader sense, the student who completes this degree is actually becoming a forensic scientist instead of just a forensic science technician. Often, students at this level can specialize in a very specific field and become involved in research. A dissertation commonly is part of the program. The duration of study can vary based on the research and individual interests of the student, but the degree may open up more career opportunities in terms of leadership, management, and teaching roles.

What other assets are important to becoming a forensic science technician? The American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) and BLS both have suggestions that include that individuals have:

  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Personal integrity
  • Strong communication skills
  • The capacity to remain unbiased

Because forensic science lies at the nexus of science and the law, attributes like these are important, particularly since findings could result in prosecution and justice being carried out in a court of law. In fact, the AAFS reports that forensic science can be “a rewarding career where the love of science can be applied to the good of society, public health, and public safety.”

Becoming a Crime Scene Investigator in Vermont

A related occupational field in forensic science is the crime scene investigator. However, the programs for crime scene investigation (CSI) can vary, with some including science classes but others emphasizing criminal justice coursework, the legal ramifications of evidence, and what might be feasible for presentation in a court of law. Some of the ways to enter the CSI field include:

  • Option 1: A certificate or associate degree. These programs typically take one to two years to complete and provide many fundamentals in the CSI field. Students may learn how to secure a crime scene, collect evidence, and preserve it for analysis in a lab, and may later use their education to work toward completing a bachelor’s degree.
  • Option 2: A bachelor’s degree. This four-year degree is typically foundational to entering the CSI field, particularly from the perspective of a civilian, according to the BLS. Students generally start their degree by completing many general electives and then work on their CSI classes as they move toward completing their degree. Hands-on experiences may be part of the program and students also may have the opportunity to complete an internship or capstone project.
  • Option 3: A law enforcement academy. Many individuals enter the CSI field by completing a law enforcement academy and gaining skills on the job. An academic CSI education may still be valuable, although instruction can be available through specific seminars or training opportunities through a particular law enforcement agency.

Students also can find CSI education at the graduate level through certificate and master’s degrees, although these are rarer than undergraduate options. Typically, graduate programs help students improve their crime scene skills so that they can do a better job collecting and preserving evidence to the overall benefit of the forensic science field.

Job Opportunities in Vermont

The Vermont Forensic Laboratory is operated through the state’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) and could be one place to look for a job. In fact, according to the DPS web page, this is the only crime scene lab in Vermont and it provides services to groups including local and state police agencies as well as state attorney’s investigators, public defenders, and game wardens. Other organizations offering job opportunities could include:

The state of Vermont also maintains a listing of police employment opportunities available in the state, some of which could include careers related to CSI. In addition, the AAFS maintains a job board that can be searched by state as well as by organization and job title. Remember that many forensic science lab technician and CSI jobs are available through state and local law enforcement agencies. Still, others could be found in instruction or research at universities, work for private labs, or even employment as a consultant.

Forensic Science Programs in Vermont

There are a few opportunities to pursue forensic science or criminal justice-related degrees in Vermont. If students cannot find the specific CSI or forensic science degree they seek, they may be able to find coursework in the field, which can at least give them the learning skills they will need to pursue this career. Some of the related opportunities in Vermont are offered through:

Vermont State University

Vermont State University offers a bachelor of science program in forensic psychology where students will be able to develop a broad base in core psychology courses and then develop additional expertise through electives on topics like juvenile delinquency, correctional psychology, and criminal behavior. Students in this program will choose an internship for detailed experience in the criminal justice system or complete an independent research project under faculty guidance to prepare for advanced studies.

The curriculum includes courses such as police psychology; criminal behavior; juvenile delinquency; psychology and law; correctional psychology; forensic psychology; history of psychology in a diverse world; cognitive psychology; and biopsychology, among others.

This bachelor’s degree will serve as a foundation for careers in law enforcement, clinical forensic psychology, victim advocacy, corrections, academic research, and the practice of law.

Notably, Vermont State University also offers an associate degree in criminal justice as well as a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice.

  • Location: Randolph, VT
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Three years

Champlain College

Although requiring more of an education in computer science and information technology than science, digital forensics also can be an important part of crime-solving. Champlain College prides itself on being one of the best computer forensics colleges in the country and is recognized by the National Security Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center, and the National Institute of Justice as a premier institution for digital investigation and cyber defense.

This award-winning program allows students to begin taking their computer & digital forensics classes in their first semester. Through plenty of opportunities for internships and classroom projects, students will learn the skills needed to succeed in their field.

Made up of 120 credits, the program includes courses such as criminal law; introduction to cybercrime & digital forensics; network fundamentals; introduction to digital forensic analysis; python programming; the law of searching, seizing, and using digital evidence; introduction to forensic science; file system forensics; and network forensics and threat hunting.

Notably, Champlain College also offers a bachelor’s degree in criminology & criminal justice.

  • Location: Burlington, VT
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Four years

Norwich University

Norwich University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers a bachelor of science program in criminal justice preparing students to lead and serve in this field by emphasizing critical thinking and knowledge about criminal law, crime, the sociocultural environment in which human behavior occurs, and the criminal justice system.

A wide range of minors is also available in transnational crime, criminology, and cybercrime and computer forensics that create a truly specialized academic experience. The curriculum includes courses such as introduction to criminal justice; introduction to criminology; criminal law; criminal justice ethics; the police; the courts; corrections; and criminal procedure.

Norwich University also offers a bachelor of science program in criminology that includes courses such as introduction to forensic science; advanced criminology; criminal violence; criminal justice ethics; forensic psychology; and juvenile delinquency.

  • Location: Northfield, VT
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Four years

Alternatively, students in Vermont may want to build their forensic science knowledge by completing a bachelor’s degree in biology or chemistry. Later on, they can continue their learning with graduate-level education, which also can be found online or through hybrid programs. This may be an advantage in many ways since the BLS reports that some of the best job opportunities in the country could be available to those with a master’s degree in forensic science.

Hybrid & Online Forensics Programs

Online education can provide students in Vermont and elsewhere with the opportunity to continue their education in forensic science or even start a related career through a degree in criminal justice. While criminal justice degrees provide more of an art than a science education, they also can introduce students to various components of CSI, including crime-scene sketching, photography, and fundamentals and theories of law. Some online opportunities in the field are available through:

Vermont State University

In addition to the on-campus programs, Vermont State University also offers an online bachelor of science program in criminal justice. This criminal justice major comprises 49 credits and includes a foundational core of psychology, criminal justice, and sociology and an advanced core of the judicial process, law enforcement, law, criminology, ethics, punishment and corrections, internship, research design, and theory. Students in this program will also complete a senior thesis project and engage in community service learning.

The curriculum includes courses such as introduction to criminal justice; criminal law; criminological theory; research design and analysis; ethical issues in criminal justice; victimology; correctional philosophies and practices; death penalty; terrorism; investigation sciences; and white-collar crime.

Even though the coursework is online, the program includes a placement opportunity for students to get in-depth experience within the criminal justice system in real-world contexts.

  • Location: Randolph Center, VT
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Three years

Champlain College Online

Champlain College Online has a host of online opportunities in this field. These include an online bachelor’s degree program in economic crime investigation, an online undergraduate certificate program in forensic accounting, an online bachelor’s degree program in computer forensics & digital investigations, an online master’s degree program in digital forensic science, an online graduate certificate program in digital forensic science, an online graduate certificate program in digital forensics & incident response, and an online master’s degree program in information technology with digital forensics & incident response (MS).

The online master of science program in digital forensic science program helps students become scientists through an inspired, cutting-edge curriculum that is closely aligned with new trends and emerging technology in the digital investigation industry.

This 30 to 36-credit program includes courses such as digital forensic science; the practice of digital investigation; scripting for digital forensics; incident response and network forensics; digital investigations for civil litigation; digital forensics and encryption; computer forensics lab operation & management; and legal principles of digital investigations.

Graduates of this program will be able to take up roles such as computer forensics investigators, digital forensics examiners, digital forensics analysts, and digital forensics consultants.

  • Location: Burlington, VT
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years

Norwich University

Norwich University offers both a bachelor of science and a master of science program in criminal justice completely online.

Students with a bachelor’s degree can explore the principles behind criminal justice and understand the processes that enable courts, police, and the corrections system to function ethically and efficiently. The program allows students to transfer up to 90 semester credits and complete their degree in fewer than two years. The curriculum includes courses such as introduction to criminal justice; the study of crime; criminal justice ethics; cold case investigations; foundations in cyber law and cybercrime; drugs and gangs; and crime in literature.

The master of science program helps students hone their knowledge in areas such as the criminal justice system, cybercrime, criminological theory, corrections, law enforcement, and law adjudication. This program offers an optional, add-on concentration in cybersecurity. Courses include Law enforcement administration; contemporary issues in criminal justice: ethical leadership and technology; law and the international system; terrorism: introduction and state-sponsored terrorism; cybercrime; and cyber law.

  • Location: Northfield, VT
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two to four years

National University

Whether students seek a specific forensic science career or hope to advance their skills in lab work, law enforcement, investigation, law, or another profession, they’ll learn applicable and valuable skills in this leading-edge field with an online master of forensic sciences program offered by National University. Grounded in the study of components of death investigation, basic human anatomy, identification of unknown dead persons, and analysis of disease and trauma, students in this program will learn how to professionally interact with forensic investigators and pathologists, and how to apply scientific methods to the resolution of legal problems.

The program provides two areas of specialization: criminalistics and investigation. Core courses in this 36-credit program include forensic pathology; forensic anthropology; forensic photography; crime scene investigation; fingerprint analysis; and digital evidence.

The specialization in criminalistics includes courses such as trace evidence; advanced forensic toxicology; forensic serology and DNA; and advanced forensic DNA analysis. The investigation specialization includes courses such as advanced criminalistics; forensic psychology; law and criminal procedure; and major case investigation.

National University also offers a graduate certificate in forensic and crime scene investigations, a master of science program in forensic psychology, and a bachelor of science program in criminal justice administration.

  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years

See also our listing of online programs available at the graduate, undergraduate, and certificate levels, broken down by specialization such as computer forensics or forensic psychology.

Program Accreditation & Certification

Students may have an advantage by graduating from a program accredited through the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC), the accrediting branch of the AAFS. This might lead to better employment opportunities or garner more respect on the job, but unfortunately, there are no FEPAC-accredited programs available in Vermont.

Sometimes, this lack is due to the high rigor required to meet accreditation standards, and many schools may simply work to comply with as many FEPAC standards as they can instead of attaining accreditation. Further, it is important to note that FEPAC does not accredit criminal justice or CSI programs.

Beyond the programmatic accreditation offered by FEPAC, institutions of higher learning should have overall regional institutional accreditation. In Vermont, the main accrediting body for colleges and universities is the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

Another way to promote an individual’s knowledge and skills is to seek certification when available through a board or another certifying agency. Many graduates who have completed a graduate-level education may want to seek board certification while those with a background in CSI may be competent to seek certification through an organization like the International Association for Identification (IAI) or the International Crime Scene Investigators Association (ICSIA). Certification in areas like forensic photography, forensic crime scene investigation, and crime scene reconstruction can be found.

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

Finally, joining an association for its networking, continuing education, and conference opportunities could be valuable. There are multiple paths for attaining membership through the AAFS, and in Vermont, joining the Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists (NEAFS) could be advantageous.


Farheen Gani

Farheen Gani writes about forensics schools across the United States, and has covered topics such as forensic chemistry and forensic science and biochemistry since 2018. She writes about healthcare, technology, education, and marketing. Her work has appeared on websites such as Tech in Asia and Foundr, as well as top SaaS blogs such as Zapier and InVision. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter (@FarheenGani).