If you live in the state of Louisiana and are interested in receiving a certification that will enable you to work in forensic science, there are some things you need to know and understand. First and foremost, a certification, no matter what promises may be advertised, is in no way a substitute for an actual education resulting in a degree.

The vast majority of professionals working as forensic scientists in the state will possess at least a bachelor’s degree in forensic science, forensic studies, computer forensics, criminal justice, or some other closely related field.

In some rare cases, individuals who have only associate’s degrees may be eligible for forensic science employment, but these positions are few and far between and tend to be very entry level in nature.

Therefore, if you seriously want to be a forensic scientist, then you will more than likely need a bachelor’s degree.

You might be wondering, then, what the purpose of a certification is. Well, certifications can actually be useful in some cases. More often than not, certifications are used to supplement or to round out an already existing education. If you, for example, went to school for criminal justice and earned your degree, but later decided you would prefer to pursue a career in computer forensics, you could specialize your education and improve your chances of getting the career you want by earning a computer forensics certification.

Earning a certification is also an excellent way to “test the waters,” so to speak. If you think you are interested in forensic science or in a specific area of forensic science, but aren’t entirely sure, you could take a certification course to see what you think.

These courses are usually quite cheap to attend and do not tend to be very long or demanding in nature. Plus, knowing for sure what you want to do will help you to avoid wasted time, money, and effort in the long run.

Just as you would only get a degree from an accredited institution, you should also make accredited institutions alone your top choice, especially if you plan to use your degree as a supplement to your education.

The good news is that you have lots of fine choices right in your own state that can help you to get as much as possible out of your certification experience.

Top choices for Louisiana residents seeking certification include Baton Rouge Community College, located in Baton Rouge and offering a certificate in emergency management; and Louisiana Technical College, in Oakdale, offering various certifications in criminal justice.

There is also Louisiana Technical Colleges’ Northshore Technical College, located in Bogalusa, which offers both general and technical certificates in criminal justice, and Tulane University, located in New Orleans, with a post bachelor certificate in homeland security studies. This last program requires you to have a bachelor’s degree, not necessarily in a related area, before applying to or enrolling in the program.

If you couldn’t find your particular certification of interest in the above list, don’t worry. There are many other fine educational institutions in the state offering certifications. Plus, in today’s very technological world, don’t forget that you can choose to earn your certification online.

The best part about this is that certifications earned online tend to be cheaper than those earned at traditional colleges or universities, and they can also be earned at your own pace, on your own time in most cases. Just make sure that you are selective as you choose an online institution, because there are, unfortunately, a lot of scams out there that you will want to avoid.

Again, the best way to tell a scam from the real deal is to make sure the school you attend is accredited. And don’t just take the school’s word for it either. Actually get out there and check up on its accreditation status yourself. Also, don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions and to ask for more information any time you wish.

A good, legitimate school will have no problem answering your questions and providing you with helpful information. In fact, this will show your prospective institution that you are someone who takes your education seriously.