Forensic science informs criminology and criminal justice through scientific inquiry within the framework of civil and criminal laws. Forensic scientists collect, preserve, and evaluate evidence, assisting investigators and legal teams to bring offenders to justice. As one of the fastest-growing fields in the United States, forensic science offers diverse and lucrative career opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that forensic science technician positions will increase by 17% from 2016 to 2026, meaning 2,600 new jobs.

By pursuing a forensic science degree, you can prepare for crime scene positions and laboratory roles. You can specialize in a type of crime (like arson or homicide) or a particular kind of evidence (like blood splatter or ballistics). Outside the criminal justice system, forensic science professionals hold positions as business analysts, college educators, and government researchers.

This guide provides you with information on occupational opportunities and professional development resources. You will also gain insight into program options, degree concentrations, and strategies for career entry.

Skills Gained in a Forensic Science Program

While academic programs may vary in their curricula and focus, core competencies exist for all forensic science degrees. Students examine the structures and operations of the U.S. criminal system. They also learn to conduct research, applying quantitative and qualitative analysis methods that abide by industry best practices and legal procedures for admissible evidence. Due to the multiplicity of forensic science careers, practitioners often obtain certification or licensure in addition to their college credentials.

Criminological Theory
Forensic science students learn theories about crime, deviance, punishment, and rehabilitation. They draw on psychology, sociology, and other social sciences to identify and explain criminal behavior with regard to an individual's upbringing, education, socio-economic status, and mental state. Criminological theory lays the foundation for both research and practice-based occupations.
Criminal Justice Administration
The criminal justice system is composed of legal codes and government regulations embedded in the framework of a democratic political system. Students learn to identify major steps in the judicial process, including the individuals and agencies involved. They also develop an understanding of the roles that forensic investigators play in the criminal justice system.
Forensic Investigation
Here, learners develop a theoretical understanding of forensic science practices including DNA identification, trace evidence analysis, and microscopy. They learn to secure scenes of interest, identify potential evidence, and collect samples for laboratory testing. They also must learn chain of custody and evidence submission procedures. Forensic professionals often are called to be trial witnesses.
Integrative Communication
Communication is a fundamental skill for all professionals because it enables them to convey ideas through oral, written, and multimedia formats. Students must develop the ability to clearly explain technical information to diverse audiences that include law enforcement, judges and juries, and civilians. Forensic scientists often work in teams, which makes communication and collaborative skills vital.
Ethical Leadership
In addition to understanding the criminal justice system's positive effects, forensic science students examine its shortcomings as a structure of social organization and control. They learn to advocate for victims, families, and ex-offenders. They also learn the importance of maintaining ethical standards when leading teams and developing programs.

Why Pursue a Career in Forensic Science?

You can access a variety of forensic science careers by obtaining a bachelor's degree. The median salary for forensic science technicians is $58,230, an amount that exceeds the average U.S. worker's annual pay by more than $20,000. Additional career opportunities in this high-growth field exist at all degree levels and across multiple industries, providing students the freedom to pursue occupations that align with their goals and interests.

The median salary for forensic science technicians is $58,230, an amount that exceeds the average U.S. worker's annual pay by more than $20,000.

You can also pursue numerous career paths in computer forensics. Due to the dangers of domestic and global terrorism, cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S. Practitioners can work for private corporations as forensic accountants or information security analysts.

The rapid evolution of technology and scientific research means that all forensic professionals must keep abreast of emerging theories and practices through continuing education. Certification and licensure programs are also efficient means for acquiring advanced skills.

How Much Do Forensic Science Majors Make?

The average salary for professionals with a bachelor's degree in forensic science is $51,000. According to the BLS, forensic science technicians earn an average annual salary from $34,600 (the bottom 10%) to $92,700 (the top 10%). Industry affects salary rates, with local and state government agencies comprising the highest-paying employers.

Furthermore, your level of education affects salary potential. Individuals with a master's degree enjoy over $12,000 more in median annual salary than those with baccalaureate credentials. They also benefit from a significantly lower unemployment rate.

Interview

Cindy Murphy

Cindy Murphy

Rt. Police Detective

Cindy Murphy is a retired police detective with over 20 years' experience in cybercrime investigations and digital forensics. Cindy worked in law enforcement for 31 years, starting her career in 1985, then joining the Madison, Wisconsin Police Department in 1991. She began investigating computer-related crimes in 1999 before being promoted to detective the following year.

Today, Cindy is president of Gillware Digital Forensics and a foremost expert in the field due to her extensive experience, thirst for new and challenging problems to solve, and above all, the passion she has for her work every day.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in forensics and forensic science?

I almost literally fell into digital forensics. I started my career in the military and then became a law enforcement officer. In 1998, I was involved in a high-speed chase where an armed man ran from a stolen vehicle after he crashed it. I chased him over a chain-link fence and caught him with the help of another officer. After we tackled and handcuffed him, the other officer kindly pointed out to me that the leg of my pants was torn and I was bleeding profusely. I realized then that I had not made it over the fence unscathed but had messed up my lower back and lacerated my hamstring.

While on light duty, recovering from that injury, I caught the digital forensics bug. I worked with a now-retired detective on one of the first computer forensics cases our department did. A guy was cutting signatures out of historical books at the Wisconsin State Historical Library and selling them in newsgroups. Many years later, in 2012, I learned that Eoghan Casey (a foundational figure in digital forensics) was working the other end of that case in Boston. We solved the case using DOS commands on a DD image [cloned hard drive] of the suspect's computer. It was a new and fascinating set of problems to solve, involving some skills my dad had shown me when I was a kid. I put in a training request to go to the NW3C's basic data recovery and analysis class and ended up attending in Helena, MT in 1999.

Several months later, I was back on the streets, healed from my injuries, and a new fan of digital forensics when I got into another foot chase and injured my right knee badly. Another trip to the ER, knee surgery, and another long stretch of PT later, I came out in relatively good shape. I went back on light duty and was assigned to work on a new computer forensics case. After consultation with my family, I was promoted to detective in 2000 and became a financial crimes detective. I was also tasked to help with computer-related cases when they came in, and over the next several years, they took over more and more of my caseload. In 2003, the department created a new position in the detective bureau for computer crimes, and I was assigned to working computer crimes and computer forensics full time.

What makes a degree and career in forensic science unique?

From the moment I got involved in digital forensics, I knew it was something I wanted to do for the long haul and the reason was simple: it's an industry that is always changing. With the continued evolution and use of technology, digital forensics has had to adapt to meet the needs and answer the questions technology sparks. The constant change consistently opens doors for new research projects and specialization areas. Some digital forensics professionals may focus their efforts on mobile forensics, IoT [internet of things], incident response, intellectual property theft investigations, flash memory, and a litany of other areas.

In addition to the fact that no two days are the same, digital forensics is a great way to actively help people. In my career I have helped families find closure by answering crucial questions in unsolved murders. I've helped children who were victims of sexual abuse. I have helped businesses hold their competitors accountable when intellectual property was stolen. I have assisted countless small businesses in response and recovery from a ransomware attack so they can keep the doors open for their communities. Now you can see why no two days are the same in this field.

Can graduates of forensic science programs find careers all over the country?

Finding a career in digital forensics anywhere in the nation is very likely, and candidates for digital forensics and incident response work are in high demand. In fact, there is a staffing shortage in digital forensics, incident response, and many other areas of technology. This is partially due to the lack of awareness of digital forensics as a career path, but also the sheer volume and variation of casework. Digital forensics as an industry needs more investigators to address the questions posed by technology.

One of my passions as a digital forensics professional is to build awareness of this industry as a viable and rewarding career path -- especially to women and people of color. I serve on the advisory panel for initiatives like The Cyber Sleuth Lab, which is an educational program designed to expose young women and underrepresented and underserved high school students to digital forensics through hands-on learning experiences. These types of programs not only are eye-opening for many students when considering their career options, but they also build awareness of issues of data privacy and how technology houses and displays personal information.

What did your career trajectory look like after you graduated? How did you end up in your current position?

As I mentioned earlier, I more or less fell into digital forensics prior to completing an academic program. While some may not have pursued education after several years working in the field, I found that many of the available 40-hour training programs and certification tracks I participated in started to feel redundant and did not progress to the more advanced level I was seeking. At that point, I decided to combine something I knew I needed to do with something I wanted to do. This led to traveling to Ireland to complete my master's degree in forensic computing and cybercrime investigation at University College, Dublin in a blended online/on-site program in 2011.

After completing my degree, I continued to work in law enforcement as a detective investigating computer-related crimes. In 2016, Scott Holewinski approached me with the idea of departing from law enforcement to build a digital forensics company. While I initially resisted, his persistence, clear vision of building something special, and my own ambition led to launching Gillware Digital Forensics in 2016. Since then, we have grown into a successful digital forensics, incident response, and cyber risk management firm. With how my career has changed over the years, I am reminded that the decision to formalize my digital forensics education continues to open doors and create opportunities in my career.

Why did you decide to start your own company? Is this common for someone in the field?

As I said, Scott Holewinksi, Gillware's CEO was very persistent and driven to build the digital forensics operation Gillware is today. As with any career move, there was some hesitation and contemplation of whether or not it was the best decision. However, ultimately, I realized I wanted to continue growing personally and in the field. I was ready for a new challenge and wanted to team up with the impressive data recovery engineers at Gillware. I never looked back and could not be happier.

What are the pros and cons of working in the industry?

It's funny, many of the pros can also be the cons in this career field. It's an ever-changing industry, requiring consistent professional development, which is something I yearn for. The mind boggles when looking back to the beginning of digital forensics and how far the industry has come. When I started in the field, there were very few commercial tools and not many active practitioners. Keeping up with that progression and continuously learning and watching the network of professional peers grow is one of my favorite challenges I have faced.

On the other hand, a career in digital forensics and incident response work can pose a challenge in terms of avoiding burnout. I deliberately place value on my off time as much as on my work time. I know that it often feels like, in order to get everything done that needs to be done at work, we need to be there for more and more hours, but burnout is a real and extremely damaging threat. I am conscious of and place limits on my work hours and attempt to work smarter, not harder. I have found that allowing myself dedicated time to focus on my personal interests (playing music with my band; spending time with my family, friends, and dogs; spending time outside, etc.) allows me to be fully present and invested in what I'm doing when I'm at work. If I allow that balance to shift too far, I am far less productive at work because I am distracted by all of the other things in my life that I want and need to do and am less able to focus on the work in front of me.

All in all, one of the cons is also the best pro: there is no coasting in digital forensics. On any given day, something new and different is likely to turn up and present a new challenge. That's part of what makes this work so compelling. We might be dealing with a corporate customer crippled by ransomware; attempting to extract and decode data from a point-of-sale card-swiping device, GPS device, or drone for a law enforcement agency; or working on a data theft case for a small business.

What advice would you give to graduates seeking a job after graduation?

Send a thoughtful thank-you card or email after an interview. It shows that you value the time of the interviewer and the organization for their consideration. In that same vein, prioritize and hone your soft skills just as much as your technical acumen. Performing the technical work and having technical knowledge is only part of the puzzle -- many digital forensics professionals can uncover the answers but those answers are only valuable if you can clearly explain your methods and findings to technical and nontechnical audiences alike.

How to Succeed in Forensic Science

Education Required

You can access careers in forensic science at any degree level. Students who enter associate programs prepare for supportive roles as forensic laboratory technicians, coroner assistants, and evidence custodians. They can also work as police officers and paralegals. Bachelor's programs in forensic science offer the comprehensive training learners need to access the majority of careers in the field, including high-demand forensic science technician positions. Additional opportunities include biomedical chemist and toxicologist.

Professionals often pursue master of forensic science programs to enhance their career advancement prospects. These programs provide research and leadership skills needed for management positions. At the doctoral level, coursework typically centers on self-motivated research, preparing candidates for careers as postsecondary teachers and dedicated scientists.

Experience Required

In addition to earning an academic degree, you usually need to complete additional training for certain forensic science careers that require specialized skills. For example, police officers undergo physical conditioning and learn about professional conduct and ethical standards at state-sanctioned academies. Federal law enforcement officers complete rigorous training through the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center or a military station.

Regardless of your career goals, you should incorporate apprenticeships and internships into your academic preparation. These hands-on experiences allow students to build skills and cultivate professional relationships. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, over 91% of employers prefer applicants with industry-specific work experience.

Licensure and Certification

Professional licensure and certification are common requirements for forensic science careers, especially for advanced positions requiring a highly technical skill set. You should conduct research on the licenses and certificates relevant to your job interests. The following section covers certification options for two popular careers in this field.

Forensic Scientists and Forensic Science Technicians

Depending on the state in which they reside, technicians may need to obtain government certification due to nationwide efforts to standardize the forensic science field. Even in states where certification is optional, earning certification is an efficient way to demonstrate skill mastery. The American Board of Criminalistics and the International Association for Identification offer certification programs in major areas like fingerprinting, crime scene reconstruction, and blood spatter analysis. Professionals can gain computer crime certification through the High Tech Crime Network.

Private Investigators

Private investigators often come from law enforcement backgrounds, first working as local police officers, state troopers, or private security staff. To access this career, candidates complete government-sanctioned training and pass a certification exam (requirements differ by state). Private investigators can also earn optional certifications through organizations like ASIS International and the National Association of Legal Investigators.

Concentrations Available to Forensic Science Majors

Forensic science students can align their academic experience with career objectives through diverse concentrations in both bachelor's and graduate degree programs. Options differ based on the school but often include criminology, criminal justice, legal studies, and information technology/cybersecurity. Business administration and project management are good options for candidates who want to pursue careers in the private sector. Students who do not possess specific career goals can opt for a broad concentration in chemistry, biology, psychology, political science, or a foreign language. This list below details four major forensic science concentrations.

Criminal Justice

Colleges and universities commonly embed criminal justice classes into forensic science programs, and vice versa. This popular concentration prepares students to work in the U.S. justice system as law enforcement officials, lawyers, policymakers, and criminal reform advocates. Courses include judicial administration, international criminal justice, legal traditions, and the juvenile justice system.

Cybersecurity

Another popular forensic science concentration, cybersecurity trains students to identify and assess security gaps in a company's information systems. They learn to build multi-layered protections and conduct penetration tests to evaluate computer network strength. They also develop the ability to maintain systems, track offenders, and recover stolen or destroyed data.

Forensic Psychology

This concentration centers on mental illness and the psychological experiences of offenders and victims in the criminal justice system. Students examine the psychological factors that influence deviant and criminal behavior. They also delve into psychological science of the courtroom. They prepare for various careers, including jury consultant, licensed professional clinical counselor, and expert witness.

Environmental Forensics

A relatively new field of study that emerged in the 1970s, environmental forensics applies scientific methods to investigate contamination of natural areas and the misuse of resources. Scientists reconstruct events with regard to the source, timing, type, and amount of chemical and other hazardous material releases. They use this information to inform legal and regulatory agencies and assist in remediation efforts.

What Can You Do With a Forensic Science Degree?

Education level plays a large part in students' forensic science career options and salary potential. This section explores the job opportunities available to professionals with associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral credentials. You should note that while these occupations are accessible by meeting minimum criteria, employers prefer applicants who demonstrate higher levels of academic training and relevant experience.

At the associate level, students prepare for supportive positions like laboratory assistant or legal assistant. They also train to perform a specific task within the forensic science field, enabling them to gain employment as latent print examiners or fire inspectors. Bachelor's programs provide core training and enable learners to target careers through advanced coursework. By holding baccalaureate credentials, job candidates can pursue forensic science technician and analytical chemist positions. They can also work as teachers and technical writers.

Students who enroll in graduate programs build on their foundational skill set through specialized classes, leadership training, and research projects. They can pursue careers as information systems analysts and clinical practitioners. Professionals with doctoral credentials can qualify for tenured teaching positions at colleges and universities.

Associate Degree in Forensic Science

Higher education institutions rarely offer two-year forensic science degrees. However, associate programs in criminal justice, legal studies, or paralegal studies can provide you with relevant skills. Degree plans total a minimum of 60 credits, which students complete in two years. Some schools deliver online tracks that accelerate degree completion, enabling distance learners to graduate in 18 months.

You can access some entry-level positions with an associate degree. However, many popular careers, including police officer and paralegal, require additional training and state certification. Students often use associate programs as a springboard, taking advantage of low tuition offered by community colleges before transferring into a bachelor's program.

Medical Laboratory Technician

These forensic lab workers gather samples and analyze tissue, body fluids, and other substances. They operate complex laboratory equipment (like cell counters and microscopes) and catalog results. Working under the guidance of experienced scientists and laboratory managers, medical laboratory technicians also create official reports for police and criminal investigators.

Average Annual Salary: $52,330

Police Officer

As general law enforcement workers, police officers patrol assigned areas and answer emergency calls. They protect lives and property by monitoring for suspicious activity and confronting offenders. They also conduct traffic stops and gather evidence for civil and criminal investigations. Some police officers specialize in divisions like narcotics or homicide.

Average Annual Salary: $63,380

Source: BLS

Bachelor's Degree in Forensic Science

By completing a bachelor's program in forensic science, you can gain access to a wide variety of occupations in law enforcement and scientific investigation. Core classes include criminal procedure and evidence, criminalistics, and medical and legal investigations of death. Students learn to analyze fingerprints, firearms and toolmarks, and digital evidence.

A typical undergraduate curriculum totals at least 120 credits, which students complete in four years. Accelerated online programs allow learners to obtain their credentials in as little as two years.

Forensic Science Technician

Forensic science technicians assist law enforcement by collecting evidence and performing microscopic, chemical, and biological analysis. Some technicians specialize in crime scene investigation, securing areas of interest and gathering samples.

Average Annual Salary: $58,230

Financial Examiner

Financial examiners ensure that business governance and transactions comply with government regulations. They review operating income, balance sheets, and expense accounts for financial soundness and safety. They also work with company leaders to develop policies and procedures that bolster financial growth. As government employees, financial examiners investigate fraud, identifying white-collar and corporate crimes.

Average Annual Salary: $80,180

Technical Writer

Technical writers create developer guides, instruction manuals, and journal articles on complex or specialized information. They ensure that content is standardized across all of a company's platforms. In the forensic science field, these professionals write medical and legal content for print publications and websites. Although technical writers often work as freelancers, some find employment with a single company.

Average Annual Salary: $71,850

Forensic Nurse

These RNs offer health services to offenders and victims. They may assist investigators by collecting blood samples and taking photos of injuries. Forensic nurses typically work in emergency settings and/or on an on-call basis. Like other forensic science professionals, they also serve as trial witnesses.

Average Annual Salary: $91,765

Source: BLS

Master's Degree in Forensic Science

Master's programs in forensic science usually total 30 credits and take two years to complete. Core classes include forensic biology, chemistry and analysis of drugs, and organizational information systems. Accelerated options for distance learners offer students the ability to earn their degree in as little as 12 months.

Laboratory Manager

Laboratory managers oversee the daily operations of laboratories and establish standards of conduct for employees. They can work for medical facilities, manufacturers, and higher education institutions. Within the forensic science field, they ensure that the handling of evidence in a lab adheres to government standards and criminal justice procedures.

Average Annual Salary: $68,247

Security Consultant

Working as freelancers or for consulting firms, security consultants help clients protect digital information. These cybersecurity professionals identify security gaps and recommend solutions through systems installation and software updates. They work with company leaders to establish IT standards and best practices. They also develop employee training programs.

Average Annual Salary: $84,543

Forensic DNA Analyst

Forensic DNA analysts conduct chemical and genetic tests of samples gathered by law enforcement officials or legal teams. After initial sample assessment, they create a genetic profile of the person in question by applying DNA markers and demographic data. They also create official reports and testify as expert witnesses.

Average Annual Salary: $53,227

Forensic Toxicologist

These forensic scientists specialize in discerning how drugs and other chemicals affect the human body. They conduct tests on tissue samples and bodily fluids to determine the presence or absence of a specific substance such as alcohol, toxins, or illicit and prescription drugs. Because forensic toxicologists often work within the criminal justice system, they must take care to follow and document evidence chain of custody.

Average Annual Salary: $61,042

Source: Payscale

Doctoral Degree in Forensic Science

Ph.D. programs in forensic science total at least 70 credits, which students usually finish in 5-7 years. Candidates spend the first two or three years completing required classes and gathering resources for their dissertation project. They spend the remaining time in the program researching and writing a dissertation.

Professionals with a doctorate can occupy executive-level positions within private corporations, nonprofits, and government agencies. They can also pursue clinical forensic science occupations, which often require medical training and specialized certification or licensure.

Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychologists synthesize knowledge of law and psychology to analyze individuals involved in the criminal justice system. They assist law enforcement and legal teams by evaluating the mental state of victims and offenders. They possess strong writing, interviewing, and clinical assessment skills. Forensic psychologists often act as expert witnesses, helping judges and juries understand concepts like memory, motivation, and perception.

Average Annual Salary: $79,010

Postsecondary Teacher

College and university educators provide classroom instruction and laboratory training in their areas of expertise. They help students apply for internships, plan capstone projects, and prepare for career entry or additional education. Postsecondary teachers pursue their own research and publication. They also assist with curriculum design, student enrollment efforts, and other administrative duties.

Average Annual Salary: $78,470

Forensic Pathologist

Also known as medical examiners, forensic pathologists are licensed physicians who examine the deceased. They determine the ultimate cause of death and the manner in which a person died (natural causes, accident, suicide, or homicide). They also help investigators by conducting crime scene evaluations and preparing official reports. Forensic pathologists often specialize in an area of study, like serotology, ballistics, or trace evidence.

Average Annual Salary: $102,496

Source: BLS

Where Can You Work With a Forensic Science Degree?

Due to its position at the intersection of criminal justice, scientific research, and information technology, forensic sciences provide numerous opportunities for career entry and advancement. This section examines how factors like industry and setting affect job prospects and pay. It also explores location and population, factors that can greatly affect your job prospects.

Locations

Although opportunities exist in all U.S. states, according to the BLS, California boasts the highest employment level for forensic science technicians and ranks second highest in terms of pay. When deciding where to work and reside, you should also consider the cost of living, which includes factors like housing/rental costs and transportation options.

Remote work is growing in popularity as collaborative technology becomes more accessible and less costly. The International Workplace Group surveyed 18,000 professionals in 96 countries to find that 70% of respondents work remotely at least once per week. In the field of forensic science, remote positions are particularly common among IT and cybersecurity professionals.

Industries

Forensic science careers exist in multiple industries. Professionals with an undergraduate degree typically obtain entry-level occupations with law enforcement and the criminal justice system. As they develop more advanced skills through master's and doctoral training, they gain access to technical and research-oriented roles in laboratories and medical manufacturing settings. The American Chemical Society reports that approximately 90% of forensic chemists work for government-funded labs as part of a police department, medical examiner's office, or federal agency like the FBI. The list below details five common industries for forensic science professionals.

Criminal Investigation Services
As the most popular industry for forensic science careers, criminal investigation entails the analysis and presentation of evidence for casework and trial proceedings. Forensic science technicians occupy positions as crime scene investigators and laboratory scientists.
DNA Testing
Forensic DNA analysts usually work for government offices and agencies. They apply their skills to help investigators identify perpetrators and victims. While jobs in the private sector are less common, DNA analysts can find work with security firms and research centers.
Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
Pharmaceutical manufacturers require chemists and biologists who can analyze drug compounds and discern their effects on live subjects. Forensic chemists also work to develop new medications.
Police Department
Many forensic scientists work directly with police departments, providing analytical support at crime scenes and in laboratories. Forensic science graduates may also pursue careers as detectives and criminal investigators.
Testing Laboratory
While a large number of forensic scientists occupy positions in government laboratories, they can also find work with private companies or in academic institutions.

How Do You Find a Job as a Forensic Science Graduate?

Forensic science career opportunities continue to expand, particularly in law enforcement and cybersecurity. The BLS projects the number of police officer and private investigator positions will increase from 2016 to 2026 by 7% and 11%, respectively. Information security analysts are projected to benefit from an astounding 28% increase (28,500 new jobs) in the same time period.

Professionals can expand their career opportunities by engaging with industry associations. The American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences facilitate networking events. The National Black Police Association provides career guidance and financial support to its members.

Professional Resources for Forensic Science Majors

American Academy of Forensic Psychology

Founded in 1978, the Academy represents board-certified forensic psychologists working in diverse settings including medical schools, correctional facilities, hospitals, and the military. It offers mentorship to professionals seeking board certification. Members can access early-career, dissertation, and diversity grants. The Academy also delivers online and on-site workshops on pertinent issues in the forensic science field.

American Chemical Society

Chartered by the U.S. Congress, ACS supports more than 150,000 members in 140 countries, making it the world's largest scientific organization. The society provides student grants, policy fellowships, educator funding, and community recognition awards. Members connect through high school clubs, college chapters, technical divisions, and international green energy groups. ACS also offers career guidance, webinars, and leadership development programs.

American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors

ASCLD serves forensic science managers and laboratory directors through a vast resource library of research publications, policy reports, and internal communications. Forensic science students benefit from research support, career guidance, and scholarship opportunities. ASCLD also delivers professional development services that include on-demand training, webinars, and a leadership academy.

Association of Legal Administrators

ALA supports over 8,500 paralegals and legal management professionals. The association provides comprehensive educational guidance, including information on academic programs, research projects, and certification options. Members can access webinars, online courses, and in-person training. ALA also operates a vast career center offering networking opportunities, information on occupations and salaries, and a job bank.

Association of Women in Forensic Science

Founded in 2010, AWIFS provides resources for women forensic science practitioners, college students, and youth. The association facilitates educational outreach workshops designed to strengthen student interest in scientific inquiry as an academic field and a profession. Members can access networking events, academic conferences, research funding, and volunteer opportunities.

College of American Pathologists

The CAP bolsters the practice of laboratory medicine and pathology through policy advocacy and other political actions. The college establishes standards and best practices for laboratory equipment. Members can enroll in online courses and training programs that lead to academic credentialing and/or industry-specific certification. The CAP also offers guidance for career entry and advancement.

Justice Research and Statistics Association

JRSA supports the development and application of new research to improve juvenile and criminal justice decision-making at the organizational and public policy levels. The association publishes research findings and industry discussions. Members collaborate through the organization's statistical analysis centers and technical assistance projects. JRSA also operates regional training centers and sponsors annual national conferences.

National Criminal Justice Association

The NCJA works to improve the equity and efficiency of justice systems, including law enforcement, corrections, courts, and victim/witness services. The association facilitates research initiatives and advocates for criminal justice reform. Members benefit from funding opportunities, leadership training, and technical skill-development programs. They connect through annual conferences and an online community called Connect2Justice.

The Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners

Established in 1969, AFTE promotes research and the establishment of methods and best practices related to forensic identification of firearms, toolmarks, and gunshot residue evidence. The association offers training seminars, research and publication guidance, scholarship opportunities, and professional certification.

The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists

Founded in 1963, TIAFT supports over 1,500 members who work in fields such as pharmacology, toxicology, legal medicine, medical examination, and law enforcement. The association provides travel grants and funding for analytical research projects. Members benefit from mentorship programs and academic scholarships. TIAFT sponsors worldwide conferences and supports program development in developing countries.