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What kind of classes should I take in high school to get knowledge that I might need in this career?

I just want to know what kinds of courses I can possibly take next year (11th grade) to start to figure out if criminology and forensics is really the path that I want to take in the future. I have always been interested in science and knowing the history behind how things happen and how they can affect the future. What different jobs are there in this kind of field?

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T.J.’s Answer

Hello Sofia!

Criminology college programs may contain coursework in topics such as law, sociology, government, politics, various ethnic groups, and research. Forensic college coursework may include chemistry, biology, physical, or natural science.

If your high school offers it (and you haven't taken these already), you could take classes in chemistry, biology, physics, sociology, US History, and US Government and many of these subjects could be offered as dual enrollment credit or AP classes. Math courses can also help too, since they often work with data in research.

Both subjects can lead to jobs in the fields of Law Enforcement, Criminal Justice, Juvenile Justice, public administration, cybersecurity, and forensic psychology, and and other fields related to law.

Some job titles you could explore are:
- Crime scene investigators
- Forensic pathologists (combines forensics with a medical degree)
- Forensic entomologists (combines forensics with studying bugs for investigations)
- Probation officer

Lastly, see if you can talk to people in criminal justice in your area! Meet with people that work at a police station or a criminology/forensics college program and ask them about their experiences.

Wishing you the best as you explore these two fields :)
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Eileen’s Answer

Do all that the previous responder said, plus some high schools, as a science, offer forensics. A friend of mine teaches is. Also, a law class is always good. Notwithstanding,, get a balanced education, and if your high school has AP, try one in your favorite subject and take the test for college credit.
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Robin’s Answer

You could choose classes such as Science of Forensics, Criminal Forensics, Psychology, Sociology, or Globalization.
It’s also important to have a solid foundation in US History, Geography, and Sciences such as Chemistry and Biology.
Good luck!
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Adrian’s Answer

Hi! That's a fantastic idea to take psychology and sociology classes while you're still in high school. These subjects will not only give you a solid foundation for pursuing a career in the criminal justice field but also empower you with valuable insights and understanding of human behavior. Keep up the good work and pursue your passions – you're definitely on the right track for success!
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Michael’s Answer

Hi Sofia,

While in high school, one will need to focus on science and math classes to prepare for a career in Criminology or Forensics. Chemistry and biology will be the core science courses. For math, statistics and calculus will be needed. Both concentrations will enable you to focus and refine your analytical skills; complex problem solving; investigative and innovative critical thinking; attention to detail and observation skills; etc.

Other skills that will need to be built upon center around team building, team work and communication. In any work culture, collaboration amongst team members, partner departments and clients occur on a daily basis. A college course in public speaking, communications and English will help with one's communication and writing skills since analysis reports are generated and findings are presented to colleagues and other professionals who deal with Criminology or Forensics. Another recommendation is to seek the advice from your high school guidance counselor and teachers. They can help guide your educational pathway for Criminology or Forensics.

Here are some careers in Forensic Science, descriptions, duties and salaries according to this link from www.indeed.com:

https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/forensic-science-jobs

- Fingerprint Technician
- Evidence Technician
- Forensic Science Technician
- Forensic Specialist
- Forensic Manager
- Forensic Investigator
- Forensic Accountant
- Forensic Structural Engineer
- Forensic Psychologist
- Forensic Pathologist

Here are some top careers in Criminology:

- Judge and Hearing Officers
- Attorney
- FBI Specialist
- FBI Agent
- Criminologist
- Financial Examiner
- Intelligence Analyst
- Forensic Psychologist
- Security Manager

Here are some colleges and universities to consider for Forensic Science:

- Penn State University
- Syracuse University
- Texas A&M University
- Virginia Commonwealth University
- George Mason University
- Michigan State University
- University of Tennessee (*There is a body farm that is located on campus).

According to U.S. News & World Report, here are the Best Criminology Schools:

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-humanities-schools/criminology-rankings

- University of Maryland - College Park
- Arizona State University
- University of California - Irvine
- University of Cincinnati
- Pennsylvania State Park - University Park
- University at Albany - SUNY
- Florida State University
- Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Newark
- Michigan State University
- George Mason University

When reviewing colleges and universities, it is best to check the following:

- In-State vs Out of State Tuition
- Internships
- Scholarships
- Career Placement upon graduation
- Course work and offered classes
- Post-Graduate Degrees

Hope this helps and best wishes for your education and career in Criminology or Forensic Science!
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