Forensic Science Technician

Forensic Photo This certificate is designed to prepare an individual for a future career in a very specialized area of Criminal Justice. The certificate will also provide the individual who is already a professional public service criminal justice employee with the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills and provide opportunities for advancement.

Participants pursuing this certificate will be taught and trained in the basics of gathering, collecting, and analysis of evidence. Job opportunities for participants who complete this certificate will be available in local, regional, and national public service police employment.

Forensics is recognized as both an art and a science. Scientific discoveries along with advances in technology have increased the accuracy of forensic results and thus the pursuit of justice. Therefore, it is necessary that individuals who are either currently employed or are seeking future employment in the field of Criminal Justice be educated and trained in the basics of crime scene investigation procedures and evidence collection. Local, state and national law enforcement agencies, along with private detectives, attorneys and judges, rely heavily on the work of the professionally trained forensic specialist.

Education Requirements

You can start a career as a crime scene technician with only a GED or high school diploma. While some police departments require as much as a graduate degree in forensic sciences, if you start your career in a smaller department the requirements may not be as stringent. Perhaps the easiest way to realize your dreams is to start with a job in a local police department. From there you can request training in forensic science. Once you get your foot in the door you can pursue other certifications from associations such as the International Association for Identification.

Crime scene technicians often advance their careers with non-academic courses and certificates. To qualify for added certificates, they often need to pursue coursework and experience is a large part of their preparation. In fact, many certificates require that GED holders amass four years of full-time experience in any given specialty.

Most crime scene technicians will be trained by their employer, but you can also seek a crime scene certification from an independent association or a university. There are no specific requirements for these certifications, but crime scene laboratories may require a bachelor’s degree or other academic credentials.

Licensing and Certifications

While no government regulations exist for certification or licensure of crime scene technicians, these certifications may lead to more opportunities and higher pay for those who have been certified. The Forensic Science Accreditation Board (FSAB) offers three accreditations: Certified Crime Scene Investigator, Certified Crime Scene Analyst, and Certified Senior Crime Scene Analyst. Each may help a crime scene technician advance to a more-senior role. Below are some more certifications you might consider as you move into a crime scene technician role.

  • Bloodstain Pattern Analyst Certification:
    This certification comes from the International Association for Identification. To qualify for this training and examination you can have as little as a GED or high school diploma and four years of experience. Other requirements include 100 hours of training in bloodstain pattern analysis.
  • Crime Scene Certification:
    To qualify to earn this IAI certification you need to have been working full-time in a position that involves crime scenes and related activities. This credential is available through the IAI and requires no college degree whatsoever.
  • Footwear Certification:
    To qualify for this IAI certification, crime scene professionals need to have a bachelor's degree and two years of full-time experience as a footwear examiner. Alternately, you can have an associate degree and three years of full-time work or a high school diploma and four years of experience. Additionally, you will need to complete a training program and then pass an examination.
  • Forensic Art Certification:
    This aspect of crime scene investigations involves collecting descriptive data from witnesses and compiling a composite sketch or other image of a criminal perpetrator or even a lost person. The field has evolved to include computer modeling software that can digitally emulate aging or other alterations to a person's appearance. To qualify for the written exam and practical test applicants need to complete approximately 150 hours of training and two years of experience as a forensic artist.
  • Forensic Photography Certification:
    Photographic evidence is vital in making any criminal case. To qualify for this certification, you only need to have a high school diploma or a GED. You'll also need 80 total hours of photography training, 40 of which must deal specifically with forensic techniques.
  • Latent Print Certification:
  • Fingerprint evidence often is able to crack a case wide open. When a criminal leaves their fingerprints at the scene of a crime, investigators have probable cause to continue to consider them a suspect. To receive a Latent Print Certification, the educational requirements are a bachelor's degree and two years of experience or a high school diploma and four years of experience. Those with an associate degree need three years of full-time experience.


    William "Lum" Farr
    Farr began his career in 1981 as a patrol deputy sheriff for Union Parish, Louisiana. In 1982, Farr was elected Chief of Police, Marion, La., where he performed law enforcement duties until 1994 when he took an early retirement to teach law enforcement/criminal justice at the college level.

    Farr has over twenty years experience in teaching college level academics in law enforcement and forensic science, as well as technical level educational programs in both, law enforcement and forensics. Developed a college level student based forensics team that assisted local, county and state law enforcement agencies.

    Farr is currently commissioned as a Deputy Marshall for Union Parish, La. He has led many felony crime scene investigations and assisted many sheriff, city departments, state police and the FBI in local investigations. He has testified as an experty witness in prior court proceedings.

    In the late 1980's, Farr developed the Union Parish Narcotics Task Force and wrote a multi-jurisdictional (dual state/La. - Ark.) Narcotics Enforcement Grant.

    From 1993 to 2008, Farr directed the Weatherford College Criminal Justice academic programs, police academy and continuing education programs toward new leadership and curriculum enhancement. As Department Chair, Farr expanded the CJ program by including evening classes in neighboring counties. Farr also included three additional police academies that supported the working hours of neighboring county jails, thereby allowing additional training for officers. Out of approximately 100 police academies in Texas, Farr was instrumental in bringing Weatherford Colleges state testing scores from a 50% status to the upper 10% in state testing scores.

    Farr was a co-founder in the Weatherford College Forensic Science program. This program became the model for the Associate degree program for Forensic Science in the state of Texas. Farr toured the state and visited other colleges to assist in their development of a Forensic program.

    Click on the courses below for course description and further details.

    Course NameMeetsBeginsEndsFee
    Crime Scene Photography - LIVE WEBCASTTu & Th : 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM06/06/2306/15/23480.00
    Crime Scene Safety - LIVE WEBCASTTu & Th : 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM07/11/2307/20/23480.00
    Courtroom Presentation of Scientific Evidence - LIVE WEBCASTTu & Th : 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM08/01/2308/10/23480.00
    School Violence Prevention and Intervention - LIVE WEBCASTTu & Th : 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM08/22/2308/24/23199.00

    Click the course Title link for more information.

    These courses may be offered at a future date. Click the course Title link for more information.

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