How to Become a Forensic Scientist in Rhode Island

Last year forensic scientists working in a controlled Rhode Island lab environment participated in the analysis and extraction of evidence obtained from:

  • 35 homicide and murder crime scenes
  • 68 cases of kidnapping and abduction
  • 730 robberies
  • 182 cases of arson

Using the latest technology, forensic scientists were able to secure enough evidence in many of these cases to lead to hundreds of criminal convictions. Through their work these specialists prevent future crimes from occurring while allowing for the proper justice to be served.

Forensic scientists in the state work closely with the following agencies:

  • Warwick Police Department
  • Rhode Island Department of Health’s Forensic Laboratory in Providence
  • Cranston Police Department
  • Pawtucket Police Department
  • Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory in Kingston

Preparing for Forensic Science Jobs in Rhode Island

As candidates learn about how to become a forensic scientist in Rhode Island they will quickly encounter the position’s education requirements.

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Most forensic science jobs in the state require applicants to possess a four-year forensic science degree or a bachelor’s certificate in a closely related subject such as:

  • Life Science
  • Physical Science
  • Criminalistics
  • Genetics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry

Forensic scientists working with the Department of Health must have a bachelor’s degree in one of the above or closely related subjects, or a combination of education and experience that is equivalent to an appropriate bachelor degree.

Fortunately there are several schools throughout Rhode Island that offer degrees in the forensic science field, with additional resources available through online colleges.

The Rhode Island State Crime Lab

The Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory is one example of a forensic scientist employer. In addition to professional specialists, this lab also accepts interns and students into a special training program after they have met certain requirements including the completion of a minimum amount of relevant education and have at least a 3.0 GPA with their school. The State Crime Lab offers a number of forensic services including:

  • Fingerprint identification
  • Toolmark examination
  • Hair, fiber, glass, and paint analysis
  • Tire tread mark and footwear identification
  • Ballistics, shooting distance and trajectory, and gunshot residue

Forensic Science Gadgets Recently on Display in Providence

The International Association for Identification recently held its annual meeting in Providence, where it showcased some of the most advanced materials and technologies in the forensic science field. These include:

  • The latest facial recognition technology
  • Special lighting effects that illuminates teeth and bone fragments
  • Chemical analysis techniques that reveals everything a particular person has touched
  • Invisible and scentless fingerprint dusting powder

Over 960 forensic experts from around the country attended the recent conference, where one of the speakers demonstrated how far forensic science has come with an allegory pointing out that when Martin Luther King Jr. was shot investigators had to comb through 65 million fingerprint cards by hand to identify a suspect, whereas nowadays this same procedure can be accomplished in minutes using computer technology.

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