How to Become a Forensic Scientist in New York

Forensic scientists in New York are vital to solving criminal cases, even those that have gone cold. For example, in 2013 the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office Crime Laboratory assisted in solving a homicide from 1998 that had occurred in the Onondaga Indian Nation Territory, where a skull was discovered but no other remains. The family of a Syracuse woman who had disappeared came forward in 2010 with DNA evidence, which the county crime laboratory entered into a national DNA database. A match to the skull was found, confirming that the skull had come from the missing woman. Furthermore, a DNA match was linked to a man who was already in prison for a sexual assault case where he died in 2006, believed to be the perpetrator in this case.

Forensic scientists in New York are often rewarded with the positive feelings that come from solving challenging cold cases like this one.

Forensic science jobs found in New York include:

  • Criminalist
  • Chief Medical Examiner
  • City Medical Examiner
  • Forensic Science Faculty Position
  • Forensic Technology Services Managing Director
  • Laboratory Preparation Technician
  • Digital Forensics Director

Forensic Science Degree Programs in New York

Forensic science jobs range from those for laboratory technicians, which may require a certificate or two–year degree – to those for forensic scientists, which need a four-year degree or beyond.

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Forensic science degree programs in New York and online include:

  • Associate of Science in Forensic Science Studies
  • Associate of Science in Forensic Investigations
  • Bachelor of Science in Forensic Chemistry
  • Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science
  • Master of Science in Forensic Science

Organizations that Employ Forensic Science Professionals in New York

  •  New York State Office of Forensic Services – The main forensic science department for the State of New York administers the state’s DNA databank, supports the New York State Commission on Forensic Science by accrediting public forensic labs in the state, offers technical training, and works with other forensic laboratories in New Jersey. It includes:
  • New York State Police Crime Laboratory System – The main crime laboratories used by New Jersey State Police. Laboratories in this system include:
    • Forensic Investigation Center in Albany (where the NY DNA Databank is located)
    • Mid-Hudson Regional Lab in Newburgh (analyzes toxicology and controlled substances)
    • Southern Tier Regional Lab in Port Crane (examines controlled substances)
    • Western Regional Lab in Olean (examines controlled substances and trace evidence)
  • Onondaga County Forensic Laboratories – Located in Syracuse, these forensic laboratories support the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office and provide analyses including firearms, latent prints, DNA and forensic biology, digital evidence, and forensic chemistry.
  • Monroe County Crime Laboratory – Located in Rochester, this regional forensic laboratory serves that city and seven surrounding counties. It examines vehicles; manages evidence; and analyzes drug chemistry, firearms, toolmarks, fire debris, trace evidence, DNA, and forensic biology.

Professional Training for Forensic Science Jobs in New York

Once one becomes a forensic scientist in New York, continuing education and professional training is sometimes necessary in order to keep or advance in a forensic science job. Organizations that offer such training include:

  • New York State Office of Forensic Services – provides training for technical crime laboratory workers, and helps identify federal grant opportunities for forensic laboratories in New York, so that they can acquire new technology and training.
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