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Wyoming Forensic Science Degrees

The Equality State features a diverse topography to explore from mountain ranges to high plains. With six national parks, Wyoming (WY) is an ideal location for outdoor enthusiasts and future forensic science and cybersecurity students. Six of the colleges and universities in Wyoming offer associate and bachelor’s degrees in forensic studies and certificate programs in fields related to forensic science including criminal justice, cybersecurity, and pre-law.

The forensic science field calls for professionals with good judgment, integrity, knowledge of criminal and civil law, and a solid foundation in the sciences (chemistry, biology, physics, anatomy, and physiology). Professional opportunities in the forensic science field include working in crime scene laboratories and units with county sheriff’s departments, local police, state highway patrol, city police departments, federal law enforcement, and private crime lab and investigation practices.

Those seeking to study forensic science in Wyoming have several options, although as of 2024, none are accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC). This is not necessarily a reflection of program quality, as FEPAC accredits relatively few programs nationally and only those in forensic science. There are also out-of-state forensic science program options for residents of Wyoming.

Read on to learn more about how to become a forensic scientist or a certified cybersecurity professional in Wyoming.

How to Become a Forensic Scientist in Wyoming

As with most careers, aspiring forensic scientists have a variety of unique pathways to the profession. However, the majority of forensic scientists and technicians prepare for their careers by earning a four-year degree in natural science, chemistry, biology, or forensic science. Here is a step-by-step guide for students interested in pursuing a career in forensic science in Wyoming and the estimated timeline for each step.

Step 1: Graduate from high school or earn a GED (four years).

Students wanting to pursue careers in forensic science should have a strong academic background in mathematics and physical science courses (in the case of forensic science technicians) and/or computer science (in the case of cybersecurity professionals).

Step 2: Earn an associate or bachelor’s degree in forensic science, a natural science, or a specialized, related degree (two to four years).

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for forensic science techs and some positions may require a master’s degree. Most forensic scientists have academic backgrounds in biology, molecular biology, chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, or even computer science and information security for digital forensics roles.

Step 3: Apply for an internship or apprenticeship in a forensic laboratory (timeline varies).

Applicants with prior professional experience in a forensic laboratory stand out in a competitive job market. Specializations in specific subfields of forensic science such as fingerprinting, toxicology, controlled substances, firearms, trace evidence, DNA, information security, or digital evidence can provide valuable on-the-job training, as well. Some internships allow students to earn college credit or financial stipends while gaining valuable on-the-job experience.

Step 4: Apply for professional licenses or certifications through regional or national organizations (requirements and duration vary by credential).

Requirements for forensic licensing and certification vary by state and may or may not be necessary for employment. The Forensic Specialities Accreditation Board (FSAB) offers ten professional certifications including forensic anthropology, odontology, and toxicology. Data from Career One Stop shows 24 available licenses for forensic science technicians in Wyoming, including certified forensics claims consultant, bloodstain pattern examiner, and forensic photography and imaging certification.

Step 5: Pursue a master’s degree in forensic science, cybersecurity, or a related field (optional; two years)

Advanced degrees in forensic science and cybersecurity can allow professionals to specialize in a specific branch of forensics and increase their employability and future earning potential. Exposure to research opportunities, professional networking, and theoretical frameworks offered in advanced degree programs prepares professionals for leadership opportunities in forensics, as well as higher salaries.

Occupational Demand and Salary Details for Forensic Scientists in Wyoming

Occupational data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS 2023) shows that openings for forensic science technicians are on the rise, growing at a rate of 13 percent nationally between 2022 and 2032, which is much faster than the average for all U.S. professions (3 percent). Taking a closer look at state-specific data from Projections Central (2024), a website sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Wyoming is projected to have no change in its current number of forensic scientists between 2020 and 2030, currently employing between 50 and 60 forensic science techs—one of many positions related to forensic science.

Please note that the multidisciplinary field of forensic science can lead people into a variety of related roles, including criminal investigator, medical scientist, special agent, and cybersecurity professional.

The multidisciplinary forensic science profession comprises roles in various settings such as medical and diagnostic laboratories, state and government agencies, architectural and engineering firms, and the federal executive branch of government (Career One Stop 2024).

In terms of salary, forensic technicians in Wyoming should expect to earn wages lower than the national average. According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics (May 2023), the 17,520 forensic science technicians across the nation earned an average annual salary of $71,540. The 50 forensic science technicians working in Wyoming earned $62,030 per year.

Wages depend on several factors such as years of experience, levels of education, and cost of living in a particular area. In more detailed terms, here is a breakdown of the salary percentiles among all forensic science technicians in the country compared with those in Wyoming (BLS May 2022):

United States Wyoming
Number of Forensic Science Technicians Employed 17,520 50
Annual Mean Wage $71,540 $62,030
10th percentile $41,410 $44,720
25th percentile $50,480 $51,040
50th percentile $64,940 $59,830
75th percentile $84,720 $73,040
90th percentile $107,490 $84,020

The national figures were slightly different according to another source of data, PayScale (May 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: $20,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $50,565
  • 90th percentile: $65,000

Although the difference in mean annual salaries is significant, it is worth noting that the cost of living in Wyoming is below the national average, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2024), with utilities and housing being remarkably affordable compared to other states. Wyoming had the 18th lowest cost of living in the United States for 2023.

Featured Forensic Science Programs in Wyoming – On-campus & Online

Six colleges and universities in Wyoming offer forensic science programs. While these programs are not accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC), as of 2024, they are in good standing with their institutional and regional accrediting organizations.

Read on to learn more about the certificate and degree programs in forensic science and cybersecurity offered at these colleges and universities.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming in Laramie offers a bachelor’s degree and a minor in criminal justice, a pre-law concentration for criminal justice majors, and a certificate program in cybersecurity.

With a broad liberal arts emphasis, the criminal justice program includes coursework in sociology, psychology, and political science to help prepare students for careers in local, state, and federal law enforcement, corrections, and other career pathways. It is also an option for students continuing on to law school. On-campus and online course formats are offered in collaboration with other educational institutions. Internships are encouraged, and students may take up to 12 hours of internship credits which can be applied to their chosen degree programs.

This 120-credit bachelor’s degree includes courses such as juvenile delinquency; deviant behavior; drugs and the criminal justice system; criminal legal procedure; community-based corrections; forensic anthropology; crime causation; comparative criminal justice; victimology; and terrorism.

  • Location: Laramie, WY
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Four years

Casper College

Casper College offers a variety of associate degrees and certificate programs in the disciplines of forensic science, cybersecurity, criminal justice, and fire science. Courses are available in face-to-face and online formats.

Students at Casper College can choose to pursue an associate of science degree (AS) in forensic science or earn a certificate or associate in applied science degree (AAS) in fire science. An associate of science degree (AS) in criminal justice and an associate in applied science degree (AAS) degree in criminal justice is also available.

The forensic science associate degree, which is made up of 60 credits, includes courses such as Introduction to Criminal Justice, Law of Evidence, Criminal Investigation, Criminalistics, and Introduction to Organic Chemistry.

Certificate and associate degrees in cybersecurity are also available; the AAS in cybersecurity degree prepares students for the workforce and to sit for certification exams. The certificate in cybersecurity helps established cybersecurity professionals update their skills and training.

  • Location: Casper, WY
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Associate degrees (two years); certificate (within a year)

Central Wyoming College

With four different campuses located throughout the state in the cities of Riverton, Jackson, Lander, and Dubois, Central Wyoming College offers an associate of arts (AA) degree as well as an associate of applied science degree in criminal justice. The AAS degree (61 credits) is designed to meet the needs of pre-service and in-service criminal justice personnel as a terminal degree. Alternately, the AAA program (60 credits) fulfills the initial two-year curriculum for many four-year criminal justice programs.

Students in the associate of arts program receive a strong theoretical background in justice law, theories, and court systems and are trained to hone their critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills. In addition to general education courses in writing, state and federal government, arts, and mathematics, students pursuing an associate of arts degree in criminal justice take courses in law enforcement, criminal law, corrections, and political and judicial processes.

The college also offers the following certificate options: a 37-credit criminal justice certificate with a corrections option; a 37-credit criminal justice certificate with a law enforcement option; a 34-credit criminal justice certificate with a school resource officer option; and a 15-credit criminal justice certificate.

  • Location: Riverton, WY; Lander, WY; Jackson, WY; Dubois, WY
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Associate degrees (two years); certificate (within a year)

Laramie County Community College

Located in Cheyenne, Laramie County Community College offers an associate of arts degree in criminal justice available at the Cheyenne main campus and online. Students in this program will learn about the American criminal justice system: courts, corrections, and law enforcement. They will learn the basics of criminology, juvenile justice, and criminal law.

This associate of arts degree is targeted at careers in two areas: corrections and law. Students focus on crime, the law, the way people think and act as well as general education courses. The corrections portion of the program is designed to prepare graduates for a bachelor’s degree and for careers such as parole agents, juvenile officers, adult probation officers, state and federal corrections officers, institutional counselors, and halfway house counselors.

The program’s 60-credit curriculum includes courses such as introduction to criminal justice; criminal procedure; criminology; criminal law; introduction to corrections; criminal investigation; juvenile justice; and probation and parole.

A cybersecurity associate’s degree in applied science is also available in an on-campus and online format. Credit diplomas in cybersecurity fundamentals are also available for established cybersecurity professionals wanting to pursue continuing education opportunities to keep their knowledge and practices current.

  • Location: Cheyenne, WY
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years

Sheridan College

With two campuses in the cities of Sheridan and Buffalo, Sheridan College offers three associate’s degree programs in criminal justice. Students in these programs are prepared for a variety of careers that fall under the criminal justice umbrella, including criminal investigator, private investigator, corrections officer, and park ranger.

Courses are taught by expert professionals with extensive field experience and students are able to choose courses based on their area of interest including law enforcement, juvenile justice, firearms, domestic violence, crisis intervention, and sociological principles.

  • Location: Sheridan, WY
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years

Northwest College

The criminal justice programs at Northwest College offer students an overview of the American criminal justice system and a survey of the procedures, theories, elements, and laws that guide the justice system. Students in these programs will acquire a general knowledge of the methods and origins of the courts, police, and correctional systems in America as well as their design structure and operation.

The college offers a 60-credit associate of arts degree in criminal justice, a 60-credit associate of applied science degree in criminal justice, a 30-credit comprehensive skills certificate in criminal justice, and a 120-credit bachelor of applied science (BAS) degree in criminal justice studies.

The curriculum includes courses such as introduction to criminal justice; deviant behavior; issues in policing; criminal psychopathology; interview and interrogation; victimology; homeland security & emergency management; advanced research methods in criminal justice; organized crime and gangs; terrorism; and race, class, and gender in criminal justice.

  • Location: Powell, WY
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years

Hybrid & Online Forensics Programs

For prospective forensics students who are unable to commit to a fully on-campus experience, there are still options. Both online programs and hybrid online/in-person forensic science programs are available. By taking advantage of a virtual classroom, students can complete their degrees more effectively without giving up other important aspects of their lives. Following are just a few options for Wyoming residents:

Eastern Wyoming College

Eastern Wyoming College offers an associate of arts degree in criminal justice that can be completed online. Students in this program are introduced to the criminal justice system through instruction in its legal and theoretical frameworks. The program incorporates elements of several fields within criminal justice in order to provide students with a solid foundation of coursework as well as practical skills necessary to enter the workforce.

Made up of 60 to 61 credits, the program includes courses such as current issues in criminal justice; introduction to criminal justice; criminal law; criminology; criminal investigation; introduction to corrections; and ethics in practice.

  • Location: Torrington, WY
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • 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.

Forensic Science Program Accreditation & Professional Certification

When considering whether or not to attend a college or university degree program, prospective students often inquire about the accreditation status of the institutions. Accreditation ensures that the highest standards of institutional and educational program quality are met and students applying for federal loans to finance tuition and fees are only eligible to attend schools that are accredited by regional, local, or national accrediting organizations. A discipline-specific, regional, or national organization can also offer accreditation.

All of the schools featured in this article hold current regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), an independent corporation of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) awards accreditation to an exclusive number of forensic science programs at colleges and universities in the United States. Although currently none of the forensic science programs at Wyoming colleges and universities have earned FEPAC accreditation, its absence is not necessarily reflective of the standard of educational rigor and quality.

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

Forensic scientists in Wyoming who have earned academic and professional experience have a number of certifications and licenses available to them as proof of education and professional competency. Certifications and licenses vary by discipline and job position. The Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board (FSAB) features a list of nine organizations that confer professional certification to individuals in forensic science. The list of the organizations include:

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