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Submitter's Information


William Farrar


Department Chair Criminal Justice


Inland Empire/Desert


Mt. San Jacinto College

CTE Dean

CTE Dean's Name

Marilyn Harvey

CTE Dean's Email

Log in to view CTE Dean's Email.

Program Details

Program Title

Certificate in Crime Scene Investigation

Submission Type

New Program

TOPs Code

Administration of Justice (210500)

Projected Start Date


Catalog Description

Certificate in Crime Scene Investigation  

This certificate is designed to offer a basic pattern of course work that will prepare the student to enter the professional field of crime scene investigation and forensic science at the introductory level. The successful student will gain the needed skills and understanding of the criminal investigative procedure to properly gather, analyze, prepare, and present crime scene evidence.

Certificate Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an enhanced knowledge of the principal components of criminal law and the criminal justice system.
  • Demonstrate an enhanced knowledge of the procedures and process of identifying physical evidence from a crime scene.
  • Demonstrate an enhanced knowledge of the procedures and process of collecting, preserving, and cataloging physical evidence from a crime scene.
  • Demonstrate an enhanced ability to use computer and/o rother forensic technology to report the collection, preservation, and presentation of crime scene evidence.
Enrollment Completer Projections

The MSJC Administration of Justice Program falls within the Career Education area and compliments other service programs such as allied health, EMT, nursing, legal studies, and fire technology. MSJC’s Administration of Justice Program’s fill rates, retention rates, and success rates are also above the district averages. 

The expansion and focus on forensic science will provide additional career options for those students wishing to pursue a career within the criminal justice system that is non-sworn (not a police office). Specifically, the focus is for students who are interested in the technical aspects of evidence gathering and analysis. This certificate will provide students with specific preparation and a solid foundation leading to a successful career in an entry-level forensics or crime scene technician position. 

For the first year, we predict 5 - 8 certificates to be completed with an increase the following year.   

Program Proposal Attributes

Program Award Type(s) (Check all that apply)
  • Certificate of Achievement: 16 or greater semester (or 24 or greater quarter) units (C)
Program Goal

Recent advances in forensic science have significantly improved our ability to solve cases and convict criminals. To take advantage of the available technology, crime scene investigators must approach every crime scene with an eye towards capturing every possible piece of evidence. To accomplish this goal, investigators need to be properly trained (and sometimes certified) to conduct a thorough investigation.

A forensic science technician or crime scene investigator handles evidence from crime scenes. These technicians are essential in helping to catch, convict, or acquit suspects in criminal matters. Forensic science and crime technicians collect evidence and analyze the evidence in a laboratory and summarize their findings in written reports. They often testify in court, particularly if they have specialized areas of expertise such as fingerprinting, biochemistry, DNA analysis, blood spatter patterns, chromatography analysis, or handwriting analysis. Forensic science or crime scene technicians may work for local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies, crime labs, the coroner’s office, and hospitals. They may also offer their expertise as independent forensic science consultants. A forensic science technician may work in the field, in the laboratory, and in a legal setting.

Working in forensic science requires a keen eye for detail, a strong interest and background in science, and people who are interested in the technical aspects of evidence gathering and analysis, examining and processing crime scene data and evidence. While this project certainly benefits those students pursuing a career in law enforcement as a sworn officer or deputy, it also prepares others for a career as a crime scene technician or forensic specialist. These technicians initiate criminal investigations by following the protocols for gathering evidence, taking pictures, recording measurements, and securing an area for further investigation. Other career opportunities include positions in crime scene investigation divisions, bureaus of criminal identification, evidence recovery units, and crime laboratories, as well as in the private sector.

The expansion and focus on forensic science will provide additional career options for those students wishing to pursue a career within the criminal justice system that is non-sworn (not a police office). Specifically, the focus is for students who are interested in the technical aspects of evidence gathering and analysis. This certificate will provide students with specific preparation and a solid foundation leading to a successful career in an entry-level forensics or crime scene technician position.

For this career, the educational requirements will often depend upon the agency that is doing the hiring. Some law enforcement agencies will require only a high school diploma. However, more and more employers today are looking for those who have certificates (training) in crime scene investigation, associate degrees, and in some cases, a bachelor’s degree.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for a forensic science technician is $56,320 per year. The top 10% of forensic science technicians earn more than $94,410. Forensic science technicians who are employed by federal agencies usually receive higher pay. The BLS predicts faster-than-average employment growth of 27% for forensic science technicians between 2014 and 2024.

Forensics/Crime Scene (San Bernardino County)

In 2019, there were 308 forensic science technician jobs in the Inland Empire/Desert region (IEDR). This occupational group is projected to increase employment by 10%through 2024. Employers are expected to have 223 job openings over the next five years to fill new jobs and backfill jobs that workers are permanently vacating (includes occupational transfers and retirements).

Forensics/Crime Scene (Los Angeles & Orange County)

Over the next five years, there is projected to be 132 jobs available annually in the region due to new job growth and replacements, which is more than the 50 awards conferred annually by educational institutions in the region. Over the past 12 months, there were 49 online job postings related to forensic science technicians with the highest number of job postings were for forensic specialist, examiner, and forensic technician. 

NOTE: The Administration of Justice Program now has a complete forensic lab on its Menifee campus. The forensic lab is a state-of-the-art classroom/lab to be used for the new course AJ-124Introduction to (Forensics) Criminalistics for Law Enforcement. The lab contains computer technology, fuming chambers, fingerprint dusting stations, comparison microscopes, forensic alternative light sources, physical and photographic evidence processing equipment, DUI evaluation equipment and more. There is also a separate room for mock crime scene evaluation. 

Course Units and Hours

Total Certificate Units (Minimum and Maximum)


Units for Degree Major or Area of Emphasis (Minimum and Maximum)


Total Units for Degree (Minimum and Maximum)


Course Report

Program Requirements Narrative

A certificate will be issued for completion of six courses for a total of 18 units. Students may submit a student petition to enrollment services to substitute credit for completion of a P.O.S.T. Basic Police Officers Academy through an accredited institution. Students must attach official college transcripts and an academy course outline or syllabus to the student petition. The Administration of Justice and Corrections Department Chair will determine the amount of credit to award the student. Four Administration of Justice course must be completed at MSJC to earn a certificate.

 AJ-101 Criminal Law 3 Units

This course studies the history, evolution, principles, philosophy, constitutional provisions, and contemporary application of criminal law. Topics include sources of substantive law, classification of crimes, parties to crimes, elements of crimes, matters of criminal responsibility, law in society, and other related topics.

Transfers to both UC/CSU C-ID: AJ 120

AJ-103 Criminal Evidence 3 Units

This course provides students with fundamental information about the rules governing the admissibility of evidence in criminal cases. The essential information includes an overview of the criminal trial process, the Federal Rules of evidence, witness competency, circumstantial evidence, physical evidence, and the exclusionary rule. The identification, collection, preservation, and processing of evidence are also examined.

Transfers to CSU only C-ID: AJ 124

AJ-105 Tactical Communication and Report Writing for Law Enforcement 3 Units

This course provides the student with the necessary skills to communicate effectively (both orally and in writing) in a clear and logical manner. This course is highly recommended by hiring agencies for all public safety personnel due to the importance of producing accurate and intelligent reports in law enforcement.

Transfers to CSU only

AJ-108 Criminal Investigation 3 Units

This course addresses the techniques, procedures, and ethical issues in the investigation of crime and evidence. Focus is on organization of the investigative process, crime scene searches, interview and interrogation techniques, surveillance, sources of information, suspect identification, scientific analysis, and the role of the investigator in the trial process.

Transfers to CSU only C-ID: AJ 140

AJ-124 Introduction to Forensics for Law Enforcement 3 Units

This course introduces students to the application of scientific principles to solve criminal cases. The course addresses the techniques and procedures in the investigation of crimes and the ethical issues associated with the collection and analysis of evidence. Content includes the analysis of fingerprinting, firearms, tool marks, impressions, hair and fibers, DNA, along with the role of crime scene investigators and forensic specialists.

Transfers to CSU only

ANTH-201 Introduction to Forensic Anthropology 3 Units

This course provides a basic overview of the field of forensic anthropology; human osteology; the techniques used to make estimations of age, sex, ancestry, and stature; recovery techniques and the analytic techniques and procedures used in the medico-legal framework, as well as in human rights and mass disaster situations. Forensic Anthropology is the application of standard, scientific, anthropological techniques to identify human remains and to assist in the detection of a crime.

Transfers to CSU only

Program Requirements

Course Track. 

(Y1 or S1)
AJ-101Criminal Law 3S1
AJ-103Criminal Evidence 3S1
AJ-105Report Writing 3S1
AJ-108Criminal Investigation 3S2
AJ-124Introduction to Forensics for Law Enforcement 3S2
ANTH-201Introduction to Forensic Anthropology 3S2

Supporting Documents

Inland/Empire Desert Regional Questions

Submission Details

Published at

02/11/21 - 02:27 PM



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Diann Thursby Super User   ·  03/08/21

Received regional recommendation at 3-8-2021 IEDRC Deans Meeting.