Degrees in Forensic Science in Ohio

ohio forensic science degree

Forensic Science

Forensic science combines science and investigation in order to aid and support  the prosecution or defense in criminal and civil investigations. While the profession has been widely romanticized by various TV shows, make no mistake – this job is most likely different that you expect.  In contrast with popular perception, this is a highly scientific role, which often involves detailed, painstaking work. Field duties are limited to a few areas of expertise, and most often than not a forensic scientist will spend his time in the lab.

If you made it this far, though, congratulations! You’re taking the first steps in joining a very rewarding profession and itsGOV is here to guide you through what you need to know and what you need to do to join a forensic science program in Ohio.

Depending on the type of forensic science practiced, different degrees and educational backgrounds may help a candidate get a job and excel in this field. Regarding formal education, requirements vary across jobs, but you should definitely have a solid background in mathematics, biology and chemistry.

The National Institute of Justice, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, offers guidelines for model undergraduate and graduate forensic science degree programs. According to the American Academy of Forensic Science, strong programs should offer a curriculum that concentrates on scientific writing, laboratory skills, public speaking, and computer software application training.

Forensic Science Requirements in Ohio

The state of Ohio has a large number of forensic science professionals when compared with some of the other states in the country. According to 2012 information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 310 forensic science technicians working in the field in the state. The average salary for those who are working in forensic science jobs in Ohio is $55,730. When one looks at the field over the past several years, it is easy to see that things are going quite well for forensic science in the state.

In 2010, the state had 280 forensic science pros working, and it seems that the field is still growing. In fact, employment opportunities are expected to grow state and nationwide from 2010 to 2020. During that period, job growth in the state is projected to increase 13 percent while nationwide the job opportunities for forensic science technicians are expected to grow by 19 percent, according to Career One Stop, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. Most of the jobs may be found in the larger cities due to higher crime rates and a greater need for forensic teams. Some of the locations that have forensic science techs working are crime labs.

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.

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. 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. 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.


Forensic Science Training 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 Science Salary in Ohio

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services predicts that the number of forensic science technician positions in the state will increase 13.3% from 2010 to 2020.  Seventy-six percents of these jobs are projected to come from people leaving the workforce. ccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 310 people had jobs as forensic science technicians in the state in 2012.  Their average salary was $55,730 with those in the 90th percentile earning $78,760. In 2013, a forensic scientist – chemistry position in Richfield paid from $47,299 to $76,107 a year.

Ohio has several crime labs, including those of the high profile Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) Laboratory Division that processes more than 100,000 pieces of evidence a year.

Many forensic scientists work in the field instead of the lab.  They process crime scenes – documenting the site and preserving evidence for further analysis.  These crime scene investigators (CSIs) come from a variety of backgrounds.  Some are sworn officers who have formal law enforcement academy training, while others are civilians with college training in criminal justice or forensics. Crime scene investigator salaries vary widely, depending on the type of the position and the background of the CSI.  The 2013 salary for a police evidence technician in Columbus ranged from $21,798 to $33,925 a year.


Forensic Science Schools and Colleges in Ohio

Bachelor’s Programs


University Ohio University, Forensic Chemistry B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $15,268 in-state; $29,750 out-of-state per year
Program link

Forensic chemistry is the application of chemistry and related sciences to criminal investigation. The program prepares the student to work in crime laboratories or other law enforcement agencies, such as FDA, OSHA, and EPA, or for graduate work in forensic chemistry, forensic science or analytical chemistry. The forensic chemistry program is accredited by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) through the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC). Students wishing to change or add a chemistry major or minor at Ohio University should go to the Undergraduate Student Services Office in the College of Arts and Sciences located on the first floor of Wilson Hall (Main Green).

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, in the College of Arts and Sciences, offers B.S. and B.A. degrees in Chemistry, and B.S. degrees in seven other programs of study. It is important to note that with a B.S. degree in Chemistry, students are eligible for professional status in the American Chemical Society, but not with a B.A. in Chemistry. Laboratory research is a beneficial and valuable experience for all undergraduates. Getting involved in undergraduate research within the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is simple. Aside from specialty programs, there are numerous avenues for participating in research, including earning course credit during the academic school year or being paid by a professor sponsoring the research.

A large number of our graduates go on to take advanced degrees in all ares of chemistry and biochemistry. In addition, some students go on to take advanced degrees in toxicology, forensic science or medicine. Jobs held by recent graduates include applications lab technician, attorney, associate chemist, criminalist, drug analyst, document examiner, environmental engineer, forensic scientist, physician, and serologist/drug analyst. The core modules are:

  • Fundamentals of Chemistry I and II
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Cromatography and Spectroscopy
  • Forensic Chemistry I: Arson, Explosives and DNA
  • Forensic Chemistry II: Procedures, Drugs and Trace Analysis
  • Basic Biochemistry
  • Forensic Biology
  • Procedures, Rules and Tests of Evidence
  • Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences
  • General Physics
  • Criminal Justice
  • Introduction to Toxicology
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering
  • Drugs and the Brain

Ohio University will be the nation’s best transformative learning community where students realize their promise, faculty advance knowledge, staff achieve excellence, and alumni become global leaders. Ohio University holds as its central purpose the intellectual and personal development of its students. Distinguished by its rich history, diverse campus, international community, and beautiful Appalachian setting, Ohio University is also known as well for its outstanding faculty of accomplished teachers whose research and creative activity advance knowledge across many disciplines.

Ohio University offers undergraduate instruction on both the Athens campus and the regional campuses. Undergraduate programs, designed to contribute to intellectual and personal development and career goals of students, emphasize liberal studies. Undergraduate major programs, preprofessional, and professional programs prepare students for employment in a variety of careers and for continued study. Two–year technical and associate’s degree programs, reflecting employment opportunities, as well as the general career interests of students, are taught primarily at the regional campuses. At the Athens campus, instruction is combined with residence life and other extracurricular programs in an effort to create a collegiate experience integrating learning and living.


Other useful information:

University Ashland University, Ohio, Forensic Biology Concentration B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $18,908 per year
Program link

The forensic biology program at Ashland University was developed to meet the needs of students interested in pursuing a career in forensic biology, which is the application of biological principles to law enforcement.

This optional concentration in the biology major provides a strong background in both biology and chemistry, along with specialized upper-level courses specifically applicable to forensics.

Course work in the University’s criminal justice department complements the science to add a foundational understanding of law enforcement. After graduation, forensic biology majors will be well prepared for either on-the-job training in a forensics laboratory or for graduate study in the area of forensics. The core modules are:

  • Human Biology
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • The Molecular and Cellular Base of Life
  • Introduction to Biotechnology
  • Forensic Science
  • Nursing Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • Evolution
  • Methods in Toxicology
  • Principles of Toxicology
  • Toxic Agents
  • Immunology
  • Advanced Topics in Toxicology
  • Emerging Pathogens

Ashland is among only a few institutions in the country offering a bachelor’s degree in toxicology, the study of how chemicals affect human health and the environment. Strong training in both biology and chemistry will prepare you for a growing number of career opportunities in industry and government as well as medical and other health professional schools.

Have you ever wondered why prescription drugs have “side effects” along with the effect the drug is supposed to produce? Or why some plants and animals are poisonous? Or how exposure to air pollutants like sulfur and nitrogen oxides might affect people’s health?

The answers to these and many other questions are found in an area of science called toxicology. Toxicology is the science that studies the effects of toxicants (in other words, poisons) on living organisms.


University Ashland University, Forensic Chemistry B.S.
Duration 24 months
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $18,908 per year
Program link

Majoring in Forensic Chemistry at Ashland will let you use state-of-the-art instrumentation and the latest problem-solving methodology. You’ll learn to analyze evidence to uncover hidden information as only investigative science can reveal it. Forensic chemists apply advanced analytical techniques such as gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, atomic absorption, and infrared spectroscopy to the analysis of trace evidence. Our labs are well-equipped with modern instrumentation that is used in modern forensic laboratories, and you will have the opportunity to use this equipment beginning your freshman year. Many of the students undertake research with their professors, co-publish their findings and present them at scientific meetings. Research by undergraduates in our department has identified problems with cadmium contamination of children’s jewelry and has resulted in several recalls as well as legislation to restrict cadmium use. Ashland graduates have secured forensic analysis positions with the FBI, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Drug Enforcement Administration and local forensic science labs and coroner offices, as well as graduate programs in Forensic Science. Access more information about job opportunities for forensic chemists. All of the faculty members have Ph.D.s and are well respected scientists who are passionate about teaching. You will have the opportunity to get to know them well as you work with them as the mentor you in the classroom and laboratory and on research projects. Several have been received awards for their teaching, as well as grants from public and private foundations to support their research. The core modules are:

– General Chemistry

– Organic Chemistry

– Quantitative Analysis

– Physical Chemistry

– Calculus

– Genetics

– Introduction to the Criminal Justice System

– Biochemistry

– Criminal Investigation

The largest college on campus, the College of Arts & Sciences includes 16 departments — everything from fine and performing arts to environmental science, mathematics to fashion merchandising. In addition to both Bachelor of Science and Arts degrees, the College offers Master degrees in Creative Writing, American History and Government, and Health & Risk Communication for those who wish to pursue additional studies. Each department is committed to giving you unlimited opportunities to shine and each is devoted to graduating students who are ready to take on the world as confident, competent leaders.
University Defiance College, Digital Forensic Science B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $29,916 per year
Program link

At Defiance College, free-thinking problem solvers with patience, passion, and personal discipline have a home in digital forensic science. Digital forensic science (formerly called “computer forensics”) is the science and practice of preserving, extracting and analyzing digital evidence to support formal legal actions. What does that mean? It means helping to put away criminals who use computers and other digital high tech to commit their crimes. This cutting-edge bachelor’s degree program is designed to prepare students for careers in the growing fields of high-technology crime investigation and computer network defense. Majors in digital forensic science at Defiance walk away not only with a degree, but also two professional certifications, the practical experience of an internship, and the satisfaction of having directly benefited the surrounding community during the process. Digital forensics is a new and growing field in the area of hi-tech crime investigation. Students in this program develop a background consisting of general education, criminal justice, and computer technology fundamentals, while being entrenched in the culture of civic engagement. The students graduate with a major in digital forensic science, two professional certifications in hand, the practical experience of an internship, and the satisfaction of directly benefiting their surrounding community during the process. Digital evidence collection is a highly disciplined process where repeatability and accuracy are crucial for evidence to be admissible in court. You will learn how to preserve the integrity of digital evidence; extract live, static, and deleted data from various media; and thoroughly document and present your findings. The tools and techniques of digital forensics are also applied in situations where data is constantly in motion, such as while recognizing and responding to intrusions into a company’s computer network, or when recovering data from small-scale digital devices such as cell phones and PDAs. The core modules are:

– Computer Essentials

– Introduction to Computer and Digital Forensics

– Computer Security Fundamentals

– Advanced Topics in Computer Data Analysis and Recovery

– Operating Systems

– Seizure and Forensic Examination of Computer Forensics

– Network Forensics

– Fundamentals of Computer Networks

– Intrusion Detection

– National Certification

– Introduction to Criminal Justice

– Criminal Law

– Criminal Investigation

– Criminal Investigation and Procedure

– Criminology

– Financial Accounting

– Managerial Accounting

– Business Law

– Pre-calculus Mathematics

First, you will prepare to earn the CompTIA A+ certification as an IT Technician, a widely respected designation for entry-level information technology personnel. Once this foundational knowledge is achieved, you will learn about computer operating systems, security principles, and networking. You will learn the science of forensics as applied to computers that are turned off, computers that are still running, computers communicating with one another, and small-scale digital devices such as cellphones, PDAs, smartphones, and other hybrid systems. You will learn the importance of high ethics and develop your personal integrity. There will be ample opportunities to refine your skills through community service projects and an internship with an agency performing forensics work. Finally, you will earn a nationally recognized certification in digital forensics to demonstrate your competence in this field and improve your marketability. Students interested in the Digital Forensic Science major should discuss the requirements of the major and the opportunities upon graduation with Dr. Gregg Gunsch, Professor of Digital Forensic Science. The Digital Forensic Science major requires completion of 67 credit hours.

University Ohio Northern University, Forensic Biology B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $28,050per year
Program link

The major in forensic biology is a program within the Department of Biological and Allied Health Sciences. The program is a cohort of courses specifically designed to meet the needs of forensic crime laboratories in the field of forensic biology and follows the recommendations of the Forensic Education Program Accreditation Commission. Student graduating from Ohio Northern University with a major in Forensic Biology have been exposed to the direct application of science relevant to the field of forensic biology including the emerging field of forensic serology and analysis of DNA at the nuclear and mitochondrial levels. The coursework teaches students the actual procedures utilized in the modern forensic laboratory. These approaches, plus productive internships, enable the department to produce graduates prepared for the forensic and biomedical laboratory or graduate programs in the forensic sciences. The major has two goals: to provide students with a solid foundation in the forensic sciences through a core of four forensic biology courses and to provide a focused and coherent study in the practice of the scientific techniques used to analyze physical evidence found at the scene of a crime with five upper-level forensic courses. The core modules are:

– Calculus

– General Chemistry

– Anatomy and Physiology

– Organic Chemistry

– Crime Scene Investigation

– General Chemistry II

– Forensic Biology

– Forensic Entomology

– Genetics

– Introduction to Criminal Justice

– Molecular Biology

– Computer Forensics

– Forensic DNA

– Criminology

Ohio Northern University is an independent, comprehensive University that distinctively combines nationally ranked sciences, arts and professional programs in its five colleges: Arts & Sciences, Business Administration, Engineering, Pharmacy and Law. Established in 1871 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1899, Ohio Northern’s beautiful, 342-acre residential campus is made up of more than 60 modern residences and academic buildings and provides a vibrant campus experience. Graduates leave prepared with an education that delivers one of the highest returns on investment in the state. The placement rates for graduates six months after graduation have averaged more than 93 percent for each of the past seven years, a rate higher than the national average. Don’t wait for graduate school to get involved with cutting-edge research. At ONU, undergraduate research is a pillar upon which future success is built. Our students partner with faculty on research that expands the horizons of human understanding, and our annual Student Research Colloquium is a showcase that attracts researchers from across the country. As an Arbor Day Foundation Tree Campus USA, ONU is firmly committed to sustainability and environmental awareness on campus. Our on-campus housing derive 30 percent of their heating and cooling from geothermal technology and three new 400 kilowatt wind turbines are expected to provide between five and 10 percent of our electricity needs. Our fleet of hybrid and electric campus vehicles reduces our dependence on fossil fuels and our many environmentally themed student organizations are consistently finding new ways make ONU a greener place to live, learn and work. Ada’s world-class hotel offers more than 70 deluxe guest rooms, luxurious amenities and more than 3,000 square feet of flexible meeting spaces. Guests of The Inn enjoy everything that the ONU campus has to offer: athletics, fine art, theatre performances and so much more.
University University of Findlay, Forensic Science B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $28,050per year
Program link

Students interested in forensic science may either select from one of two majors or decide to dual major in one of these areas: DNA/serology is designed for students who wish to pursue a career in the area of testing biological material for DNA. Toxicology is designed for students who choose a career in working with drugs, unknown materials and trace evidence analysis such as paint, glass, fibers, hairs, latent prints, ballistics and other areas. The core modules are:

– Introduction to Criminal Justice

– Criminal Investigation

– Forensic Science + Lab

– Criminal Evidence

– Statistics

– General Chemistry

– Biochemistry

– Special Topics in Forensic Science

– Forensic Entomology

– Seminar in Forensic Science

UF is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the national accrediting organizations for athletic training, environmental health science and protection, nuclear medicine technology, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, social work and teacher education. UF’s programs are authorized by the Ohio Board of Regents.​
University Tiffin University, Forensic Science B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $21,510 per year
Program link

Students earning a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Forensic Science learn the legal, ethical, natural science, and laboratory skills necessary for effective professional careers in chemistry laboratories, CSI units, forensic laboratories and/or law enforcement agencies, as well as the knowledge necessary to pursue graduate studies in the sciences.  You will also be prepared to pursue degrees in criminal justice, forensic science, law, allied health, and medicine–to name just a few examples. You will be exposed to all of the same coursework as a student following the BCJ in Forensic Science track, but you will also obtain a deeper knowledge of microbiology, genetics, organic chemistry, biochemistry, forensic anthropology, forensic pharmacology, physics, and calculus. Students in this major will acquire a basic, yet comprehensive knowledge base in the field of forensic science.  While the BCJ track requires only 7 laboratory courses, the BS track requires 12.  With this degree, you will receive the scientific background needed to work in any crime lab.  You will develop proficiency in both knowledge and application of rules of evidence handling and processing, chemical and bodily fluid analysis, and presentation/explanation in court, while also developing a broad understanding in the fields of chemistry and biology. The BS track offers students all of the same skills acquired through the BCJ track plus a more in depth knowledge of the sciences.  All students interested in a Forensic Science degree major will first be admitted to the BCJ in Forensic Science.  Students may then apply for admission to the BS track during their fourth semester or after achieving a 3.3 GPA in 9 specific core courses, if they wish to do so.  While the BCJ program requires a total of 121 semester hours (including seven lab courses), the BS track requires 127 semester courses (with a total of twelve courses).  Because of this, the BS in Forensic Science does not offer students opportunities to take open electives or to pursue a minor without significantly exceeding the 127 hours. The core modules are:

– Introduction to Criminal Justice

– Criminal Procedures

– Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice

– Research Design

– Genetics

– Microbiology

– Quantitative Analysis

– Instrumental Analysis

– Evidence Processing

– Introduction to Forensic Science

– Forensic Anthropology

– Forensic Pharmacology

– General Physics

Tiffin offers professionally-focused academic programs and grants the following degrees: Associate of Arts, Associate of Business Administration, Associate of Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Science, Master of Business Administration, Master of Education, Master of Humanities, and Master of Science. On campus and online courses offered. There are approximately 400 full-time and adjunct faculty–many of whom work in their field of study, and remain closely connected to their industry. The Richard C. Pfeiffer Library houses a growing collection of books supporting the University’s curriculum. In addition, Pfeiffer Library, as a member of OPAL and OhioLink, provides online access to an extensive and increasing collection of books, eBooks, and databases. Patrons may request books from any of the 90 other libraries. eBooks and articles are available full-text online.



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