A person that would like to call West Virginia home and work in the state as a criminologist will need to learn the requirements that are associated with these types of careers. While some limited jobs can be done without a college degree or background in criminology, the vast majority will require at least a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or criminology.
While that may be a setback for some potential employees, there is a solution. Even though there are not a large amount of colleges and universities in West Virginia, the state is actually home to two of the biggest criminology and forensics programs in the nation.
Both West Virginia University and Marshall University have been well recognized for their relatively new criminology programs that use state of the art technology as well as many well qualified professors.
For a person that does not yet have the applicable education to pursue a criminologist career in the state of West Virginia, either of these schools could make a fine choice in gaining one of the best possible educations in the field.
Starting with West Virginia University, this learning institution has one of the widest ranges of degree offerings, including the following: Biometric Systems, Computer Forensics, Criminology, Forensic Accounting and Fraud Investigation, and Forensic and Investigative Science.
Of these degree options, the Computer Forensics field is one that gets a great deal of attention. Partially funded by the Microsoft Corporation as well as the United States Secret Service, the education of a student concerns the use of technology and computers in law enforcement functions for both the public and private sector.
With the global rise in computer use, the need for effective law enforcement online is blocked by the low number of people that are qualified to work in this field. The Computer Forensics program aims to increase the number of professionals that are able to identify and counter the criminal strategies that are increasingly appearing on the Internet.
In the same vein of thought, the need for forensic accountants is also picking up speed and the Forensic Accounting and Fraud Investigation program hopes to teach a new generation of students the skills needed to gain more control over white collar crime.
As one of the few programs in the country with this purpose, students are coming to West Virginia from far away locations to attend the prestigious classes and become an expert in the knowledge of how to properly investigate fraudulent activity.
The Forensic and Investigative Science program is intended to prepare students for a career in the quickly growing field of Forensic Science. To meet this end, students have a specific curriculum that combines classroom settings with laboratory experience and internship opportunities.
To be eligible for the degree, all students must complete a 420 hour internship over the summer at one of many possible forensic laboratories. The field work includes simulations of data collection in the same manner that it would happen in a criminal investigation and any resulting court trial cases.
In addition, the school is home to three criminology research groups that use the laboratories located on campus for many research projects and experiments. The Center for Identification Technology Research (CITeR), the Forensic Science Initiative, and the WVU Homeland Security Programs all are headquartered on the campus.
Marshall University has attempted to keep pace with WVU by offering their own criminology programs for potential students. In addition to undergraduate degrees, the school has also begun a graduate program that reward students who complete the work with an MSFS in Forensic Science.
Students that are looking for a more typical criminology degree and have less interest in Forensic Science may find the graduate program at Marshall to be an acceptable choice. With advanced theoretical examination of underlying criminology concepts and methodological training to prepare students for the research environment, the Master of Science in Criminal Justice has become a popular choice for students who want more than just an undergraduate degree.
Marshall University is also home to one of the highest rated forensic laboratories in the country. Called the MU Forensic Science Center, the location is used as the official Combined DNA Indexing System laboratory for the state of West Virginia.