How to Become a Forensic Scientist in Ohio

With over 100,000 pieces of evidence processed each year, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Laboratory Division is just one of the agencies employing forensic scientists to analyze and process evidence in Ohio. Armed with microscopes, spectrometers, chemical test strips, and the latest advances in forensic technology, Ohio’s forensic scientists work in laboratories to solve crimes and produce evidence that will stand up in court. Forensic science specialists are employed by government, educational, and private agencies across the state. Having the right education is essential for candidates interested in these jobs.

Some of Ohio’s employers of forensic scientists include:

  • Columbus City Police Crime Laboratory
  • Cleveland Police Crime Laboratory
  • Food and Drug Administration’s National Forensic Chemistry Center in Cincinnati
  • Toledo Police Department’s Forensic Laboratory
  • Montgomery County Regional Crime Laboratory in Dayton

Education for Forensic Science Jobs

Getting the right education for jobs with Ohio’s forensic labs is critical for anyone thinking seriously about a career in the field. A forensic science degree is available at colleges throughout Ohio, both on-campus and through online schools.

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In addition to this degree, relevant fields of study include:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • DNA and genetics
  • Physics
  • Computer Science
  • Microbiology

The Ohio Bureau of Investigation’s Laboratory Division sets a benchmark for other forensic science employers in the state by requiring all of its scientists to be properly credentialed, in most cases with at least a bachelor’s degree in their field of expertise, or at minimum a combination of experience and education equivalent to a bachelor’s degree.

Working as a Forensic Scientist in Ohio

The State Bureau of Investigation’s Laboratory Division provides some of the widest range of employment opportunities for forensic scientists in Ohio. Positions include:

  • Chemistry Unit: Examines physical evidence to determine the presence of particular substances or drugs
  • DNA Unit: Provides suspect identification through DNA analysis using 15 distinct testing methods
  • Forensic Biology Unit: Examines evidence for the presence of evidence that may contain traceable amounts of DNA
  • Firearms and Toolmarks Unit: Uses ballistic tests and toolmark examinations that link bullets and weapons to crime scenes
  • Latent Print Unit: With physical, electronic, and chemical processes, this unit examines crime scene material in the lab for foot, palm, and fingerprints that can be used as evidence or to establish leads in a case

Forensic Scientists Discover Critical Evidence

Often times there are stories in the news about cold cases that have been solved by forensic scientists decades after the crimes were perpetrated, but it is less frequently that one hears about an exoneration based on new forensic evidence. That is just what happened in a recent case that saw a former Akron police chief declared innocent for the murder of his wife after spending 15 years behind bars. Forensic scientists were able to use new DNA analysis techniques to determine that the wrongly convicted man was not present at the crime scene.

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