How Long Does It Take To Become A Forensic Scientist?

The article aims at elaborating the overall time taken to become a qualified forensic scientist while meeting the necessary requirements.

TCM Staff

15th October 2020

Forensic science is a broad field with a combination of scientific methods, forensic scientists conduct investigations, specialized examinations, identifying foreign substances, documenting the findings to solve crimes. 

To become a forensic scientist, it takes about 5-6 years long which includes an undergraduate degree of 2-4 years, an optional graduate degree for 2-5 years along with 1 year of training in the field of specialization. To accelerate the time investment, you can choose to pursue an education in a community college that offers a specialized program for forensic scientists for two years. Also, students can transfer credits to their degree easily and land in the profession in lesser time. 

If you are willing to pursue this career, the time is taken to become a forensic scientist widely depends on the education path you choose, the experience period you wish you complete, the type of program choices, training, certification to attain. Also, an online program can also vary the time you take to land on a forensic scientist's job profile. In this article, we will discuss the time taken to become a forensic scientist based on how the timeframe is distributed.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Forensic Scientist?

The time taken to meet the educational requirements to become a forensic scientist is approximately about 5-6 years long. This can vary due to a number of factors such as a part-time or full-time program, online program, or the level of degree you discontinue at. We will discuss this in detail in further sections.

  • Associate’s degree- 2 years: An associate’s degree is a fast-track program that provides surface-level knowledge required for an entry-level job within 60-65 credits. The credits are transferable to a further degree hence accelerating the completion of the degree program. 

  • Bachelor’s degree- 4 years: This degree is the minimum degree requirement and it is a four years program that offers knowledge on foundational basics on tracking evidence, DNA, or ballistics.

  • Master’s Degree- 2-3 years: This is advanced which provides specializations after completing the bachelor’s degree. This includes research work and also thesis writing in a period of 2 years. 

  • Doctorate Degree- 3-5 years: Prospective students can pursue this degree to gain higher positions by earning this degree. With in-depth knowledge gained, students are also given opportunities to conduct case studies, research.

  • Training Programs- 1 year: after graduating, students must gain some amount of training under the supervision of an experienced forensic scientist before getting employed. 

Online program

Online programs for forensic science are popular where the best universities are striving to provide affordable and flexible study programs. Also, students can choose programs offered by,


The path to becoming a forensic scientist could be a piece of cake for prospective and interested students. The career also yields high paying jobs depending on the career path you choose and the skills you build during the educational journey. With the strong knowledge and thinking capabilities, this is the right route for you 

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