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Education and Training in Forensic Science: A Guide for Forensic Science Laboratories, Educational Institutions, and Students

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2004
64 pages
This report presents a guide for the best practices in education and training in forensic sciences.
Forensic science provides scientific and foundational information for investigators and courts, and thus plays a crucial role in the criminal justice system. This guide was developed through the work of the Technical Working Group on Education and Training in Forensic Science (TWGED) to serve as a reference on best education and training practices for students pursing careers in forensic science; for forensic science laboratories as an aide in the hiring and training of forensic scientists; and for educational institutions offering or striving to establish forensic science programs. The introduction discusses how to use the document and presents relevant definitions, as well as an outline of the planning process for the guide. The next section outlines the qualifications for a career in forensic science and describes the personal characteristics, the academic qualifications, and the professional skills of the model candidate. Tips are offered on career success in forensic science at each level: pre-employment preparation, on-the-job training, certification, and professional involvement. The next section describes the undergraduate curriculum students interested in forensic science should pursue. The model curriculum involves a natural science core and specialized science courses, a forensic science core and forensic science laboratory courses, as well as additional courses selected by the student to add depth in their chosen area of concentration. The main points to ensuring curriculum success are enumerated. The following section describes the graduate curriculum for students of forensic science, which involves courses in the following topics: crime scenes, physical evidence, law/science interface, ethics, and quality assurance. Expectations on research skills, communications skills, and laboratory requirements and experience are discussed. The last section describes training and continuing education in forensic science; model criteria and core elements are enumerated for training programs and courses for continuing professional development. Tips are offered for gaining the most from training programs and continuing professional development courses. Glossary, appendix

Date Published: June 1, 2004