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Q&A - Forensic Toxicology Degrees

What degrees can I earn in forensic toxicology?

You can earn top forensic toxicology degrees at all levels, with some schools offering completely online forensic science degrees. Many undergraduate degrees are awarded as forensic science degrees with a concentration in forensic toxicology, while forensic toxicology graduate programs are often far more specialized.

Forensic toxicology certificate

Some schools offer the opportunity to earn a certificate in forensic toxicology while working to complete a degree in biology, chemistry or a related science. University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee awards a certificate in forensic toxicology to undergraduates with coursework that also helps them prepare for professional certification exams.

University of Florida has an online forensic science certificate available to graduate students after completing 5 related courses. Although the requirements for earning a certificate can be completed before graduation, certificates are normally awarded with the degree.

Forensic toxicology masters degree

Earning your forensic toxicology masters generally takes about 2 years, with classes completed over 4 semesters. As with most other programs offering a masters in forensic science, you will have to complete roughly 32 credit hours of coursework. The majority of masters degrees in forensic toxicology are awarded as a Master of Science degree.

Forensic toxicology PhD

Most schools with a forensic toxicology PhD program, including University of Rochester, award a Doctor of Philosophy degree. To be admitted to a forensic science PhD program, you must have completed a masters degree program in a related field. Often your PhD program can be completed in about 5 to 7 years due to the coursework and research the degree requires. Because of these requirements, it might be difficult to find an online PhD in forensic science.

Are there any forensic toxicology degree programs online?

There are several forensic toxicology schools online offering degrees at nearly all levels. Dedicated online and hybrid programs are offered by a few accredited forensic toxicology online colleges which are normally affiliated with traditional brick-and-mortar schools.

Online degrees in forensic toxicology

Since most schools require undergraduates in nearly every field to take the same basic classes, many offer both traditional and online options for your general education requirements. Most forensic toxicology degree programs offering online classes are hybrid programs because although you can take your general education requirements online, you will need to enroll in a number of lab-based toxicology courses. These classes require you to spend some time on campus.

Almost every school offering online classes toward a degree in forensic toxicology will ask you to come to campus at least once. Even University of Florida’s forensic toxicology online masters degree, perhaps the best forensic toxicology online program, requires students to complete an in-person oral exam.

A number of graduate programs also require you to complete a forensic toxicology internship or other professional development activities in conjunction with your coursework. These opportunities are difficult to coordinate and might not always be available to students who are enrolled in online classes.

What kinds of forensic toxicology classes will I take in my program?

Because your undergraduate degree will be composed of foundational science courses, you should expect to enroll in classes like introductory biology, organic chemistry and criminal justice, with at least 1 dedicated forensic science course each semester. The general nature of these classes makes them widely available as forensic toxicology online courses. Normally each science lecture course requires lab hours to be completed too.

As you move on to higher degrees, the courses become more specialized. Classes in medical chemistry, forensic toxicology and advanced criminal law are not uncommon in masters and PhD programs. You will also be required to conduct some lab work and research both in and outside of your classes.

What forensic toxicology careers can I chose from

Holding a degree will open the door to a great deal of forensic science jobs. In your search for employment you will notice that the most common forensic toxicology jobs involve working in a lab processing evidence. Your specific duties and forensic toxicology salary will vary depending on your employer, such as whether you are a government employee and the municipality you work for, but in any case the vast majority of graduates will work as lab technicians.

Among the best careers in forensic toxicology, lab technicians are responsible for collecting and processing evidence found at crime scenes. On occasion they might also be called to give expert testimony in a courtroom during a criminal case. Lab technicians are required to hold a bachelors degree, which normally takes 4 years to earn. On average forensic lab technicians earn about $51,000 a year.

Is there anything else I should know about getting a degree in forensic toxicology?

You may want to consider earning a professional certification to strengthen your resume. A simple general certification can be enough to make you stand out to potential employers. For example, a general forensic toxicology certification is offered by the American Board of Forensic Toxicology.

Many professional organizations also offer forensic science certification in a wide array of specialties to help you branch out. The Forensic Toxicologist Certification Board grants certifications in areas like forensic alcohol or drug toxicology. While these certifications are not essential to earning a degree or finding a job, they demonstrate an ongoing commitment to gaining the most current knowledge available and having the most recent forensic toxicology training, as they must be periodically renewed.