How to Become a Forensic Scientist in Idaho

Forensic science services in Idaho are provided by the Idaho State Police (ISP) Forensic Services, a full-service laboratory, which provides services for the criminal justice system at the local, state, and federal levels. ISP Forensic Services, which was established in 1963, is now a nationally accredited laboratory that consists of 39 employees responsible for providing analyses of physical evidence and for training state and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and hospital personnel, from Boise to Idaho Falls.

Forensic scientists within the ISP Forensic Services division are also called upon to provide court testimony, assist with crime scenes and clandestine drug labs, and manage statewide breath alcohol testing and training.

There are three laboratories within the ISP Forensic Services division (Meridian, Pocatello, and Coeur d’ Alene) that provide the following services:

  • Alcohol/Volatiles
  • Breath Alcohol
  • Controlled Substances
  • Crime Scene
  • Clandestine Labs
  • DNA Biology
  • DNA Database
  • Fire Evidence
  • Firearms/Toolmarks
  • Footwear and Impressions
  • Serial Number Restoration
  • Toxicology

Forensic Science Degree Programs in Idaho

Forensic science degrees in Idaho can be attained through a number of avenues. For example, students may pursue a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with a concentration in Forensics. Because forensic science in based in biology and chemistry, an undergraduate degree in one of these sciences, with a concentration in forensic sciences as to gain an in-depth understanding of life in the laboratory, is a common route taken by individuals who want to learn how to become a forensic scientist in Idaho.

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Common coursework requirements for a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with a concentration in Chemistry include:

  • Organic Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Chemistry Lab
  • Forensic Methods
  • Biochemistry
  • Calculus
  • Cell and Heredity
  • Probability and Statistics
  • Criminalistics

A similar program often pursued by individuals interested in forensic scientist jobs is a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science, which provides training for laboratory work, although it includes a strong foundation in biological sciences, physics and chemistry.

Coursework in this type of program typically includes:

  • Clinical Microbiology
  • Anatomy
  • Microbiology
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Criminal Justice Administration
  • Forensic Anthropology
  • Criminal Procedures
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Bloodstain Evidence

Forensic Science Jobs in Idaho

A position as a forensic scientist in Idaho requires a specific set of requirements, including a bachelor degree in physical science, natural science, criminalistics, or a closely related field. Further, candidates for forensic scientist jobs must show proof of the completion of college coursework in general chemistry, organic chemistry, and quantitative analysis/analytical chemistry.

Forensic scientists in Idaho seeking more advanced positions must possess experience as a scientist in a professional laboratory environment, and they must be nationally certified through the American Board of Criminalists.

The American Board of Criminalists requires applicants to meet a set of minimum requirements before they can apply to take the proficiency exam and become certified. Requirements include:

  • A bachelor’s degree in a natural science or an appropriately related field
  • At least two years of full-time experience and actively working in the field of criminalistics
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