How to Become a Forensic Scientist in Maryland

The Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences accredits forensic science education programs that uphold the standards of the Academy. Most forensic science employers in Maryland require that applicants are graduates of FEPAC-accredited programs.

Most forensic scientist jobs in Maryland require that the applicant hold at minimum a bachelor’s degree. Usually a degree in one of the following fields is acceptable:

  • Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Medical Technology
  • Genetics
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Criminal Justice
  • Forensic Science

If an applicant’s bachelor’s degree is not in one of the above- mentioned disciplines, he or she may still be able to apply for forensic scientist jobs in Maryland. A range of 24 to 30 undergraduate credits may be required from the following fields:

  • Physical Science, such as:
    • Physics
    • Astronomy
    • Earth Science
    • Atmospheric science
  • Natural Science, such as:
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Forensic Science

All science courses listed above must include a laboratory component.

The following forensic science degrees are available at schools in Maryland and online:

  • Bachelor of Science in Forensic Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Digital Forensics Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Security and Forensics
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Forensics Management
  • Master of Science in Computer Forensics Management

Professional Certification and Continuing Education for Forensic Scientists
in Maryland

Some forensic scientists in Maryland go on to obtain additional continuing education, and often professional certification, within a specialized discipline in forensic science. This can be helpful when seeking advancement or new challenges in a forensic science career.

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Examples of organizations that provide such continuing education and/or certification include:

  • American Board of Criminalistics – offers the Forensic Science Assessment Test, which can be taken to show potential employers an applicant’s advanced knowledge in Forensic Science

Forensic Science Jobs in Maryland

Examples of titles of forensic science jobs in Maryland include:

  • Forensic Scientist I, Baltimore County
  • Forensic Scientist DNA/Serologist, Montgomery County
  • Principal Investigator, Biostatics, Frederick
  • Digital Forensic Analyst, Fort Meade
  • Genomics Technician, Frederick

Organizations That Support Forensic Science Jobs in Maryland

  • Western Maryland Regional Crime Laboratory – This professional laboratory located in Hagerstown provides forensic services to the Washington County and Western Maryland area. In addition to processing crime scene evidence, the laboratory is equipped to analyze drugs, test fire firearms, and process latent fingerprints.
  • Prince George’s County Police Department – Forensic Science Division – Included within this division of the county police department are a DNA/Serology Laboratory, a Firearms Examination Unit, a Drug Analysis Laboratory and a Latent Fingerprint Unit. Evidence from crimes occurring throughout Prince George’s County are processed within this division, located in Upper Marlboro.
  • Baltimore Police Department Crime Laboratory – The Baltimore Police Department Crime Lab processes crime scene evidence obtained from the Baltimore Police Department. It also provides laboratory services to other area law enforcement agencies. Units included within this lab involve drug analysis, photography, latent prints, mobile crime, polygraph, trace analysis, and firearms.
  • Maryland State Police Forensic Science Laboratory, in Pikesville. There are also regional laboratories in Berlin and Hagerstown that work with the MSP Forensic Sciences Division.

American Academy of Forensic Sciences

According to the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, the organization is composed of 6000 members in 11 sections of forensic science. All of these areas are viable for those who wish to learn how to become a forensic scientist in Maryland. They include:

  • Toxicology – analyzing drugs in a laboratory, from deceased individuals, crime scenes and the like
  • Document examiner – examining documents for authenticity, alterations, etc.
  • Psychiatry/behavioral science-assessing competence of criminal defendants
  • Physical anthropology – helping to identify the dead and giving an age, gender etc to skeletal materials discovered
  • Pathology/biology – performing autopsies to discover cause of death
  • Odontology – forensic dentists help to identify remains, missing persons etc through dental records
  • Jurisprudence – forensic scientists who are experts and testify in criminal and civil cases
  • General – forensic scientists who do laboratory investigation, computer investigation, education etc.
  • Engineering sciences – forensic engineers help to analyze failures, reconstruct accidents, review designs
  • Digital/multimedia sciences – forensic digital examiners of evidence
  • Criminalistics – forensic scientists who analyze in a laboratory evidence from crime scenes

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that job opportunities for forensic scientists and forensic science technicians are expected to increase by almost 20 percent from 2010 to 2020 nationwide. In Maryland, per the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, there are expected to be 95 new job openings for forensic science technicians between 2010 and 2020.

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