Note: Please do not contact us in regards to careers or internships.


Because of the numerous requests we receive for information about Careers in Forensic Science, we have posted some of the most commonly requested information on this page. Sheer volume prevents us from responding to individual inquiries. We hope the following will be helpful in your quest to obtain a position in a crime laboratory.





You will need, at a minimum, a Bachelors degree (or coursework equivalent) in a physical science such as chemistry, biology or physics. Coursework should be heavy on chemistry and ideally include microscopy and statistics.


Whether or not you pursue a graduate degree or a degree specifically in forensic science should be based on your personal situation and preferences. There is no general industry standard. If you are interested in a specific lab, call the director to ask what they are looking for.


Schools offering degrees in forensic science can be found through these Forensic Education Links.


The following articles contain information about educational requirements for jobs in forensic science:


Furton, K., Hsu, Y-H., Cole, MD. What educational background do crime laboratory director require from applicants? J Forensic Sci, 1999;44(1):128-132.

Higgins, LM, Selavka, CM. Do forensic science graduate programs fulfill the needs of the forensic science community? J Forensic Sci, 1988;33:1015-21.

Siegal, JA. The appropriate educational background for entry level forensic scientists: a survey of practitioners. J Forensic Sci, 1988;33:1065-8.

Gaensslen, RE, Lee HC. REgional cooperation and regional centers among forensic science programs in the United States. J Forensic Sci, 1988;33:1069-70.

Lee, HC, Gaensslen, RE. Forensic science laboratory/forensic science program cooperation and relationships: the view from the forensic science laboratory. J Forensic Sci, 1988;33:1071-3.

Smith, FP, Lui RH, Lindquist CA. Research experience and future criminalists. J Forensic Sci, 1988;33:1074-80.





Familiarize yourself with the forensic science literature in general and in your area of interest. Start with Criminalistics: An Introduction to Forensic Science by Richard Saferstein. For a consolidated listing of forensic science literature, visit our Criminalistics Bookstore.


Consider taking the General Knowledge Examination (GKE) given by the American Board of Criminalistics. You may study for and take this exam even if you are not yet currently employed in the profession.





Consider doing a low or non-paid internship in a crime laboratory to gain experience in the forensic application of science. There is no official "listing" for such opportunities. You will need to make some phone calls to labs in which you are interested.



Professional contacts


Join your regional association of forensic science professionals. A listing of these organizations can be found on the ASCLD page.