Degrees and Certificates

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Degrees and Certificates

John Parrish
So I currently have an Associate's degree in criminal justice through American Public University. I also have obtained a certificate in Forensics, through the same school. I am currently pursuing my Bachelor's of Science in Criminal Justice with only 8 courses left to take, this is also through American Public University. My question is will this be enough? Would it be beneficial to spend maybe another $10,000 in tuition and take course to get a Crime Scene Technician Certificate through Kaplan University?
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Re: Degrees and Certificates

Christine Doan
Hi John,

You didn't specify what career path you're trying to pursue, but I'm assuming you want to become a CSI/CST? Educational qualifications range from agency to agency. I've seen some that require a high school diploma/GED, and some that require an associate's or bachelor's degree. If there is a specific agency you would like to work for, I would look up their educational qualifications and take the appropriate actions to meet those qualifications. However, if you are planning to apply anywhere and everywhere, it's definitely more advantageous to have the highest educational background possible. From what I understand, some agencies will look at applicants with a master's first, then bachelor's, and so on.

It's great that you have a degree in criminal justice (though a background in forensic science/natural science is more desirable) and even better that you have a certificate in forensics. However, upon looking up the courses offered for that certificate, it doesn't seem that they went over the basics of crime scene investigation (evidence preservation and collection, photography, diagramming, etc). If finances are not an issue, having the crime scene technician certificate from Kaplan University will look better on your resume if they focus more on the techniques of crime scene investigation and less on subjects like criminal profiling and criminal law. It will also be beneficial for you during preliminary steps when an agency is sorting through applications. In addition, many agencies require you to take an entry exam -- having prior knowledge will assist you greatly in getting a good score.

I had two different interviews for a CST position. Although neither of them asked me any technical questions, they did ask things along the lines of 1) what qualifications do you have that make you a good candidate for this job and 2) what have you done to prepare yourself for this role? Having a strong educational background in forensics will really help you demonstrate your seriousness and dedication to the field.

I hope this helped. If you have more questions, please feel free to reach out for my e-mail.

Best,
Christine