The federal government and the state of Ohio provide employment information about forensic science technicians—a category that includes both forensic scientists who work in labs and those who work at crime scenes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 130 such scientists were employed in Columbus in 2012. That represents 42% of the forensic scientists who worked in Ohio that year.
The field of forensic sciences is growing and is projected to see the number of jobs increase by more than thirteen percent statewide in Ohio during the period between 2010 and 2020 according to the state’s Department of Job and Family Services.
Forensic Science and CSI Colleges in Columbus
There are a number of colleges that offer degrees in forensic science and criminal justice in Ohio. In Columbus, prospective students can obtain an associate’s degree in criminology and forensic technology. They can obtain bachelor’s degrees in forensic science at colleges located in other parts of Ohio.
Criminal justice degrees can be obtained from colleges located in Ohio or from a number of online schools that offer them in the state. This type of education frequently includes a CSI component. Degrees in this field that can be obtained at educational institutions in Columbus include:
- Of Applied Business-Criminal Justice
- Of Arts in Business-Criminal Justice
- Criminal Justice
- Of Science-Criminal Justice
- Bachelor of Arts –Criminal Justice
There is also an option of obtaining an Associate of Science degree in Law Enforcement.
What it Takes to Become a Forensic Scientist in Columbus
The paths to become a forensic scientist differ depending on whether the goal is to become a bench forensic science or a crime scene investigator (CSI). The requirements to become a forensic scientist for the city of Columbus include having a bachelor’s degree with 21 semester or 32 quarter hours in a science such as forensics, biology, chemistry or a closely related topic.
Forensic scientists with the Highway Patrol are known as criminalists. The requirements for this position are similar to that of the city of Columbus, except that this position specifies coursework in the following areas:
- Analytical chemistry
- Forensic science
- Law enforcement
Since sworn officers process the crime scenes of Columbus, those who want to become a crime scene investigator must apply to become police officers. The minimum requirement to join the department is to have a high school education. Given the amount of competition to obtain a position as a police officer, many applicants choose to get formal training in criminal justice to enhance their chances of being chosen for this job.
Forensic Science CSI Jobs in Columbus
There are three crime labs located in Columbus that provide forensic science jobs.
Ohio State Highway Patrol Crime Laboratory – This lab provides forensic services to the Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies in Ohio. It specializes in determining if submitted evidence or blood, urine, or other bodily fluids contain controlled substances or cannabis. Also, the lab’s scientists identify the level of ethanol in human samples provided.
Columbus Division of the Police Crime Laboratory – Fourteen forensic scientists worked at this lab in 2011 processing forensic evidence that officers had collected from crime scenes. In 2010, the lab received 10,800 requests for analysis, and it is moving into larger quarters in 2013.
Franklin County Coroner’s Office, Toxicology Laboratory – This lab performs a toxicological analysis on every body that is autopsied by the Coroner’s Office.
Officers of the Columbus Police Department provide crime scene investigation services in Columbus.