How to Become a Forensic Scientist in Kentucky

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The State of Kentucky, which is home to one of the oldest forensic science programs in the nation, has a number of undergraduate and graduate forensic science colleges and degree-granting schools, including a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science, with a Forensic Biology or Forensic Chemistry concentration.

The Forensic Chemistry option is often chosen by students seeking careers in crime labs in such specialties as toxicology, trace evidence, and firearms, while the Forensic Biology option is often chosen by students seeking forensic science careers that are focused on DNA and biology work.

Core requirements in a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science programs typically include:

  • General Chemistry
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biophysical Chemistry
  • Instrumental Analysis
  • Forensic Instrumental Lab
  • Forensic DNA Analysis

If a Forensic Chemistry option is chosen, students are required to complete a number of other courses, such as:

  • Forensic Trace Evidence
  • Forensic Analytical Toxicology
  • Drug Chemistry
  • Drugs and Toxicology Lab
  • Forensic Microscopic Analysis
  • Mass Spectrometry

If a Forensic Biology option in chosen, students are required to complete courses such as:

  • Genetics
  • Principles of Microbiology
  • Principles of Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry Laboratory
  • Experimental Approaches to Molecular Biology
  • Immunology
  • Virology
  • Bioinformatics: Principles and Applications

Kentucky Forensic Laboratories

The Forensic Laboratories of the Kentucky State Police operates under the state’s Forensic Division, which is responsible for coordinating and managing the activities of Kentucky’s six laboratories:

  • Central Laboratory: Frankfort
  • Eastern Laboratory: Ashland
  • Jefferson Laboratory: Louisville
  • Northern Laboratory: Cold Springs
  • Southeast Laboratory: London
  • Western Laboratory: Madisonville

All branches conduct examinations of evidence submitted by local, state and federal agencies, from Lexington to Owensboro to support the efficacy of the state’s criminal justice system.

Forensic science services include:

  • Toxicology and drug analysis
  • Trace analysis
  • Forensic biology
  • DNA database
  • Firearms identification
  • Breath alcohol maintenance
  • Polygraph examinations
  • Blood alcohol examinations
  • Firearms/Toolmarks/Imprint Evidence

The Chief Information Officer coordinates and manages all the activities of the Kentucky Forensic Division, as well as a number of other branches, including:

  • The Communications and Computer Technologies Branch
  • The Electronic Crimes Branch, which includes forensic-based computer examination
  • The Criminal Identification and Records Branch, which maintains fingerprints on arrested persons
  • The Intelligence Branch, which is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating intelligence information

Qualifying for Forensic Science Jobs in Kentucky

Candidates for forensic science jobs in Kentucky must possess a bachelor’s degree in one of the following programs (or a closely related field):

  • Chemistry
  • Forensic science
  • Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Medical technology
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Criminal justice

For advanced forensic scientist jobs in Kentucky, candidates must have professional laboratory experience working in a specialty area of forensic science. A master’s degree in one of the natural sciences, however, may be substituted for a portion of the experience requirement.

Achieving a forensic scientist job may also include undergoing a background investigation, drug screen, and fingerprinting, among others. Depending on the forensic science specialty, candidates may also be required to possess specific college coursework or professional certification.

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