How to Become a Forensic Scientist in Hawaii

Forensic scientists in Hawaii are called upon to analyze evidence resulting from criminal crime scenes. From blood splatters to DNA hair samples and forged signatures, the work of these forensic professionals involves expert analysis and sometimes court testimony to solve crimes and serve justice. Their expertise involves chemical and physical analyses that are often times instrumental to convicting or absolving accused persons.

Forensic scientists in Hawaii resolve legal issues through many scientific fields, including: anthropology, biology, chemistry, engineering, medicine, pathology, phonetics, psychiatry, toxicology, and genetics, among others.

Forensic services in Hawaii are provided by the Honolulu Police Department Crime Lab and the Scientific Investigation Section, which was recently extensively renovated and expanded as to provide all federal, state and county law enforcement agencies in the State of Hawaii, from Kailua-Kona to Hilo and beyond.

Forensic Science Colleges in Hawaii

Hawaii, even given its relatively small size, is home to a number of forensic science degree-granting schools that provide both undergraduate and graduate programs:

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Bachelor of Science in Forensic Sciences

A Bachelor of Science in Forensic Sciences involves a demanding schedule that includes study in chemistry, biology, math and physics. As such, coursework in this type of undergraduate program often includes:

  • Cellular and Organismal Biology
  • General Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Criminal Justice Systems
  • Introduction to law
  • Introduction to Forensic Sciences
  • Calculus
  • University Physics
  • Criminal Law
  • Forensic Biology
  • Crime Scene Investigations

Master of Science in Forensic Sciences

A Master of Science in Forensic Sciences provides students with the latest advances in the field of criminal investigation, while also providing in-depth instruction in criminal law and practical field experiences. In addition to independent research, a Master of Science in Forensic Sciences includes a rigorous course of study in:

  • Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedures
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Forensic Sciences
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Forensic Biology
  • Forensic Biology Laboratory
  • Laboratory Management
  • Trace Evidence
  • Bloodstain Pattern Analysis
  • Forensic Entomology
  • Firearms, Toolmarks and Ballistics
  • Fingerprint Analysis
  • Medical Examiner Investigation

Becoming a Forensic Scientist in Hawaii

Forensic scientists in Hawaii (also often referred to as police evidence specialists) must possess, at a minimum, a degree from a four-year college or university with a major in one of the biological, physical, or forensic sciences.

Further, candidates for forensic scientist jobs must possess at least one year of professional laboratory, research or analytical experience involving the application of scientific principles and procedures in physics, forensic sciences, chemistry, or biology. However, candidates possessing a master’s degree in any of the biological or physical sciences may qualify without possessing experience.

Forensic scientists must also pass an examination that is designed to assess their education and experience.

Forensic Sciences Services in Hawaii

The Honolulu Police Department’s Scientific Investigation Section, which is the only full-service laboratory in the State of Hawaii, provides the following forensic services to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies:

  • Trace Chemistry
  • Forensic Documents
  • Firearms/Toolmarks
  • Controlled Substances
  • Biology

There are a number of crime scene units that are responsible for providing distinct forensic science services:

  • Crime Scene Unit – Luminol Testing
  • Crime Scene Unit – Latent Print Processing
  • Crime Scene Unit – Evidence Photography
  • Crime Scene Unit – Technology Validation
  • Forensic Biology (Serology and DNA) Unit
  • Forensic Biology -Processing Stains for DNA Typing
  • Firearms/Toolmarks Unit
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