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Information on Associate Degree Program in Criminal Science

Majors Overview April 16, 2013

Criminal science is a field of study devoted to the scientific analysis and processing of evidence at crime scenes in order to investigate and reconstruct those crimes. Criminal justice associate degree programs are offered at community colleges that prepare students to transfer to a bachelor degree program or for an immediate career.

Criminal Science Associate Degree Program

Associate degree program in criminal justice usually offers concentration options on topics such as police evidence, criminal investigation, and criminal science. Students will gain an understanding on investigating crime scenes through analyzing, preserving, and collecting evidence. The trainings are usually completed through an internship or in laboratories with simulated crime scene evidence.

Students who have earned their Associate of Science (A.S.) or Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree may transfer their credits to a bachelor degree program in criminal justice. Individuals who are interested in starting a career in crime scene investigating typically take more professional courses and fewer basic academic classes through an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) program.

Program Coursework

Criminal science programs typically have liberal arts requirements in natural sciences, psychology, and public communications. Most programs cover specific evidentiary techniques that include ballistics and firearms identification, crime scene photography, and fingerprinting. Depending on the programs, students may be trained in police communications, criminal law, and case preparation. Program course topics may include:

•Interrogation and interview techniques
•Forensic science
•Fingerprinting
•Criminal justice technology
•Evidence collection
•Legal documentation

Career Options

Criminal science careers generally falls under the typical umbrella of law enforcement. Detectives and police in a majority of states are required to be appointed in accordance with civil service regulations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS – www.bls.gov). Additionally, many professions in this field require individuals to complete a police academy training program to become certified law enforcement officers. Common entry-level job titles may include:

•Detective
•Fraud and insurance investigator
•Crime scene investigator

Information on Continuing Education

Students who have earned their associate degree may transfer credits to a four-year bachelor degree program in related fields, including criminal science or criminalistics. Alternatively, depending on the associate degree programs, students will be prepared to transition directly into a police academy training program.

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