How to Become a Forensic Scientist in Missouri

The Crime Lab Division (CLD) of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, which was established in 1936—one of the first of its kind in the country—provides forensic science services and technical support to all local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in Missouri, from Kansas City and St. Louis to Springfield and Independence, through the utilization of state-of-the-art equipment and techniques.

The CLD’s central laboratory is located in Jefferson City, with regional labs located in:

  • Macon
  • St. Joseph
  • Carthage
  • Park Hills
  • Springfield
  • Willow Springs
  • Cape Girardeau

Forensic scientists of the Missouri CLD provide the following services to criminal justice and law enforcement agencies within the state:

  • DNA Coursework
  • Drug Chemistry
  • Firearms and Toolmarks
  • Latent Prints
  • Toxicology
  • Trace Evidence

Forensic Science Colleges in Missouri

According to recent statistics by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Division of Career Education, the most common degree for forensic science technicians (45.7 percent) is a bachelor’s degree. It is therefore easy to find a number of degree-granting schools offering bachelor’s degrees in forensic science and related disciplines in Missouri.

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Many forensic science bachelor’s degrees also allow students to focus their undergraduate degree on a specific area, thereby preparing them to work in specialized areas of forensic science, such as DNA, toxicology, and latent prints, just to name a few.

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science

A Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science prepares students for careers in forensic science laboratories. This type of degree draws from a number of areas, including the biological sciences, physics, chemistry, and the criminal justice system. As such, it is often considered a cross-disciplinary program, as study is focused in both the scientific and social environments of crime and criminal justice.

Core coursework in a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science may therefore include:

  • Principles of Biology
  • Ethics and Morality in Criminal Justice
  • Research Design in the Sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Criminalistics
  • Calculus and Analytic Geometry
  • College Physics

In addition to the above core requirements, students focusing their studies in the following areas pursue requirements in their desired track:

Chemistry Track

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry Laboratory
  • Calculus-Based Physics

Biology Track

  • Genetics
  • Genetics Laboratory
  • Molecular Biotechnology
  • Methods in Molecular Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry Laboratory

Working as a Forensic Scientist in Missouri

Forensic scientists in Missouri are responsible for collecting, identifying, and analyzing physical evidence related to criminal investigations. They may perform tests on weapons or substances to determine their significance related to an investigation, and they may also be called upon to testify as an expert witness.

Entry-level forensic scientists must possess at least 60 college credit hours from an accredited college or university, and all candidates must be able to pass a polygraph examination and submit to periodic random drug testing. Further education, professional certification and/or experience may be required for specialized or advanced forensic scientist jobs in Missouri.

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