How to Become a Forensic Scientist in North Carolina

If criminals knew there were 440 forensic lab technicians working across North Carolina they may think twice before breaking the law. These experts do everything from examining digital evidence to performing chemical analysis of drugs or conducting firearm ballistic tests; all while working in a controlled lab environment. The requirements for becoming a forensic scientist in North Carolina vary from city to city, with some general overlapping education requirements.

Forensic scientists commonly work with the following agencies throughout North Carolina:

  • Winston-Salem Police Department’s Forensic Services Division
  • Durham Police Department’s Forensic Services Unit
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Crime Lab
  • Fayetteville Police Department
  • Cary Police Department
  • High Point Police Department
  • Wilmington Police Department
  • State Crime Lab in Raleigh, with two other branches:

    • Western Regional Crime Lab in Asheville
    • Triad Regional Crime Lab in Greensboro

Preparing for Forensic Science Jobs in North Carolina

Forensic science jobs in North Carolina can be found with agencies across the state. Because of the breadth of the field, there are a variety of fields in which forensic scientists can specialize, and the education for these specializations varies accordingly. What is common for all forensic scientist positions at the state level is a bachelor’s degree, and other forensics jobs require either a higher level degree or additional certification.

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The following requirements are for state-level forensic scientist positions, whose requirements can be extrapolated to be similar at municipal- and county-level forensic positions. Bachelor degrees in the following subjects or an equivalent combination of education and experience are required:

  • Drug Chemistry Analyst:

    • Chemistry or a closely related subject
  • Digital Evidence Technician:

    • Computer Science
    • Networking
    • Digital Forensics
    • IT or a closely related subject
  • Latent Evidence Technician:

    • Physical Science
    • Forensic Science Degree
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Biochemistry or a closely related subject
  • Firearms and Toolmarks Specialist:

    • Chemistry
    • Forensic Science Degree
    • Mechanical Engineering or a closely related subject
  • Trace Evidence Technician:

    • Textile Chemistry
    • Physical Science
    • Chemistry or a closely related subject
  • Forensic Biology:

    • Medical Technology
    • Animal Science
    • Zoology
    • Biochemistry
    • Genetics
    • Biology
    • Molecular Biology
    • Microbiology

Candidates who are interested in attending forensic science schools can check with their local universities and with online forensic science colleges; there are a number of options for residents of North Carolina.

Forensic Scientists Recently Solve North Carolina Cold Case

Using capabilities available through technological advances, forensic scientists were able to recently link the fingerprints found at the scene of a 1981 murder in Raleigh to a suspect who was determined to have probable cause. Although in some ways the advances in technology came too late as the primary suspect died over a decade ago, forensic scientists were able to bring a sense of closure to the friends and family of the victim. And as criminals learn about the abilities of modern technology they may also reconsider breaking the law.

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