general-section-thumbnail-membership-aafs-forensic-science

Membership in the Criminalistics Section

Criminalistics Section members are engaged in research, education, practice or management in one of the natural, physical or forensic sciences (e.g., Biology, Chemistry, DNA, Mathematics, Physics, Firearms/Tool marks and Trace Evidence).  The main role of the criminalist is to objectively apply standard, scientific processing techniques of the physical and natural sciences to examine physical evidence.

Hear from a Criminalist

The enormous range of material challenges the ingenuity of the criminalist who examines and identifies hair, fibers, blood, seminal and other body fluid stains, drugs, paint, glass, botanicals, soil, flammables and safe insulating material; restores obliterated, smeared or smudged markings; and identifies firearms and compares fired bullets, tool markings, and footwear impressions.

SECTION REQUIREMENTS

Entry Level Categories

Apply

Student Affiliate

Academy Requirements

Both at the time of application and at the time the application is being considered for approval (the following February), an applicant for Student Affiliate status must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program that would support a forensic science career accepted by the section to which application is being made. Each Student Affiliate must certify eligibility annually with the AAFS.

Student Affiliate status may be maintained for two consecutive calendar years beginning at the end of the calendar year within which graduation occurs. During the two year period, once employment in a forensic discipline recognized by a section of the AAFS is attained, Student Affiliates will be required to upgrade their membership.

Section Requirements

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Student Affiliate must be fulfilled; and
  2. Applicant must be enrolled in an accredited college or university leading to a degree in one of the natural, physical, or forensic sciences (e.g., Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Mathematics, Physics) that would be used to support a career in a criminalistics discipline as listed above. NOTE: Individuals who have graduated and are not seeking an advanced degree do not meet the qualifications to apply for Student Affiliate and should apply for Trainee Affiliate or Associate Member status; and
  3. Applicants must provide one (1) letter of reference from their department chair, program director, or academic advisor verifying their student status.

Trainee Affiliate

Academy Requirements

Trainee Affiliate status is limited to persons who have completed the educational requirements, but not the experience requirements for Associate Member in the section to which application is being made. Both at the time of application and at the time the application is being considered for approval, applicants for Trainee Affiliate status must be actively working toward completion of the experience requirements by participating in a training program or employment that supports a forensic science career accepted by the section. Each Trainee Affiliate must certify eligibility annually.

  1.  

Section Requirements

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Trainee Affiliate must be fulfilled; and
  2. Applicants must provide (1) one letter of reference that verifies their trainee status (volunteer and unpaid intern positions do not qualify). The letter must be from their immediate supervisor or research advisor confirming active training in a relevant forensic science discipline.

Associate Member

Academy Requirements

Academy membership shall be available only to those persons of professional competence, integrity, and good moral character:

  1. who are actively engaged in the field of forensics sciences and who have made some significant contribution to the literature of forensic sciences, or
  2. who have advanced the cause of forensic science in some other significant manner, and
  3. who satisfy the requirements for membership of the section applied to or recommended for, and
  4. who have earned a baccalaureate or higher academic degree from a U.S. college or university accredited by one of the regional accrediting bodies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the United States Department of Education, or from a non-U.S. college or university bearing equivalent accreditation.

     

Section Requirements

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Associate Member must be fulfilled; and
  2. Applicant must have earned a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) or higher degree from an accredited college or university in one of the natural, physical, or forensic sciences; and
  3. Have a minimum of two (2) years of experience in the field of criminalistics during which a substantial portion of the applicant's time is/was devoted to research, practice, or management in a criminalistics discipline as listed above, and has testified as an expert witness, or by position, training, or experience, could be qualified as an expert witness in courts of law as to the results of those examinations, evaluations, and research efforts. It is incumbent on the applicant to address this requirement and to provide a statement in support of how the expert witness requirement has been met. NOTE: Post-doctoral positions with a research focus count toward the experience requirements. Internships do not count toward the experience requirements; or
  4. Have a PhD degree from an accredited college or university in one of the natural, physical, or forensic sciences, and a minimum of two (2) years of experience as a full-time faculty member with the rank of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor in a four-year, accredited educational institution granting baccalaureate or higher degrees in forensic sciences, criminalistics, or a track or specialization in forensic science clearly delineated in the college or university catalog during which the majority of the applicant's teaching and research effort has been in subjects involving forensic science; or
  5. Hold a non-tenure track teaching position along with ten (10) or more years of practical experience in a criminalistics discipline; and
  6. Two (2) letters of reference. At least one (1) reference must be from a full Member, Fellow, Retired Member, or Retired Fellow of the Criminalistics Section of the AAFS. Both references must be able to comment knowledgeably on the applicant's qualifications. Applicants who are unable to secure a letter of reference from a full Member, Fellow, Retired Member, or Retired Fellow of the Criminalistics Section can submit with their application the names and contact information of two (2) additional individuals to recommend the applicant professionally. The additional names will be forwarded to the Criminalistics Section Reference Committee for consideration. The Criminalistics Section Reference Committee will forward their recommendation(s) to the AAFS Membership Department to be included with the applicant's application.
  7. A curriculum vitae or resume that includes all items relevant to forensic science education, employment, or training.
SECTION REQUIREMENTS

Promotion Categories

Apply
WHILE SERVING AS AN ASSOCIATE MEMBER

To Member

Academy Requirements

The criteria for promotion are applicable to all members seeking promotion to Member or to Fellow. Applications must be received and completed by October 1 to be considered for approval at the AAFS annual conference.

The criteria for original membership, as stated in the bylaws for the AAFS Basic Requirements, still apply to promotions:

Membership shall be available only to those persons of professional competence, integrity, and good moral character:

  1. Who are actively engaged in the field of forensic sciences and who have made some significant contribution to the literature of forensic science, or
  2. Who have advanced the cause of forensic science in some other significant manner; and
  3. Who satisfy the requirements for membership of the section applied to or recommended for; and
  4. Who have earned a baccalaureate or higher academic degree from a U.S. college or university accredited by one of the regional accrediting bodies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the United States Department of Education, or from a non-U.S. college or university bearing equivalent accreditation.

In addition, the following criteria for service to the AAFS and to forensic science in general are used:

  1. Service to the AAFS. This includes attendance at the annual conferences and participation in the program. Attendance at a minimum of one (1) conference is required for advancement from Associate Member to Member and one
    1. additional conference for advancement from Member to Fellow. However, if exigencies such as workload requirements, finances, or ill health preclude such attendance, this will be taken into consideration. It is AAFS policy that members who exhibit at the annual conference must pay the conference registration fee, if the exhibitor wishes to receive continuing education credit or count the conference attendance toward fulfilling a requirement for membership promotion.
  2. Service in the general area of forensic sciences. This is intended to recognize the individual who performs outstanding service in the execution of his/her regular responsibilities but who, in so doing, is unable to excel in other endeavors.
  3. Service in the area of forensic science research. Any contribution which the individual has made since his/her admission to the AAFS, or latest advancement will be given consideration.
  4. Service in the area of forensic science education or training. Any effort (either by formal or informal curricula) to disseminate the scientific information which the individual has acquired throughout his/her career will be considered.

 

Section Requirements

While serving as an Associate Member, the applicant must:

  1. Fulfill the AAFS Basic Requirements for Promotion; and
  2. Serve a minimum of two (2) years as an Associate Member; and
  3. Register and attend a minimum of one (1) annual meeting of the AAFS. The meeting at which the title of Associate Member was conferred, if attended, may be counted; however, the meeting at which the title of Member is being considered shall not be counted.
     

References not required.

WHILE SERVING AS A MEMBER

To Fellow

Academy Requirements

The criteria for promotion are applicable to all members seeking promotion to Member or to Fellow. Applications must be received and completed by October 1 to be considered for approval at the AAFS annual conference.

The criteria for original membership, as stated in the bylaws for the AAFS Basic Requirements, still apply to promotions:

Membership shall be available only to those persons of professional competence, integrity, and good moral character:

  1. Who are actively engaged in the field of forensic sciences and who have made some significant contribution to the literature of forensic science, or
  2. Who have advanced the cause of forensic science in some other significant manner; and
  3. Who satisfy the requirements for membership of the section applied to or recommended for; and
  4. Who have earned a baccalaureate or higher academic degree from a U.S. college or university accredited by one of the regional accrediting bodies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the United States Department of Education, or from a non-U.S. college or university bearing equivalent accreditation.

In addition, the following criteria for service to the AAFS and to forensic science in general are used:

  1. Service to the AAFS. This includes attendance at the annual conferences and participation in the program. Attendance at a minimum of one (1) conference is required for advancement from Associate Member to Member and one
    1. additional conference for advancement from Member to Fellow. However, if exigencies such as workload requirements, finances, or ill health preclude such attendance, this will be taken into consideration. It is AAFS policy that members who exhibit at the annual conference must pay the conference registration fee, if the exhibitor wishes to receive continuing education credit or count the conference attendance toward fulfilling a requirement for membership promotion.
  2. Service in the general area of forensic sciences. This is intended to recognize the individual who performs outstanding service in the execution of his/her regular responsibilities but who, in so doing, is unable to excel in other endeavors.
  3. Service in the area of forensic science research. Any contribution which the individual has made since his/her admission to the AAFS, or latest advancement will be given consideration.
  4. Service in the area of forensic science education or training. Any effort (either by formal or informal curricula) to disseminate the scientific information which the individual has acquired throughout his/her career will be considered.
  5.  

Section Requirements

While serving as a Member, the applicant must:

  1. Fulfill the AAFS Basic Requirements for Promotion; and
  2. Serve a minimum of two (2) years as a full Member; and
  3. Register and attend a minimum of two (2) annual conferences of the AAFS. The conference at which the title of Member was conferred, if attended, may be counted; however, the conference at which the title of Fellow is being considered shall not be counted; and
  4. While serving as an Associate Member or Member, meet one (1) or more of the following requirements on three (3) separate occasions (for a total of three (3) points) within ten (10) consecutive years prior to, but not including the annual conference at which the title of Fellow is being considered:
  • Be presenting author of an oral or poster presentation at an annual conference of the AAFS. One (1) presentation counts as one (1) point.
  • NOTE: This requirement is fulfilled if the applicant's presentation in person is confirmed; or
  • Prepare and submit a paper that is accepted for publication in the
  • Journal of Forensic Sciences or another peer-reviewed scientific journal. One
  • publication counts as one (1) point. NOTE: This requirement is fulfilled if the applicant's name appears as an author on the paper. Letters to the Editor or Book Reviews will not be considered in fulfilling this requirement; or
  • Participate as a moderator or panelist at two (2) separate annual conferences of the AAFS. One (1) participation counts as a half point. NOTE: Only one (1) session per annual conference counts. If applicant participates as a moderator or panelist for more than one session of a conference, only a half point is earned; or
  • Participate as a site evaluator/Commissioner for the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) or as faculty of a Forensic Science Educational Conference (FSEC) on two (2) separate occasions. One (1) participation counts as a half point; or
  • Serve as an active member or chair of either an AAFS or Criminalistics Section committee for two (2) years. One (1) year of service counts as a half point.

References not required.