Individual Section Requirements


Anthropology

A. Student Affiliate

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Student Affiliate must be fulfilled, and
  2. Applicants for the Anthropology Section will be considered in any area of anthropology (e.g., physical anthropology, archaeology, cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology) or a related field, with a demonstrated sufficient forensic science emphasis.
  3. Must be enrolled in a master’s or doctorate program leading to a degree in anthropology or a closely related field with a forensic science emphasis, and
  4. Submit resume listing relevant experience in forensic applications of anthropology (courses taken, volunteer work, etc.), and
  5. Must be sponsored by a Member or Fellow of the Anthropology Section who is well-acquainted with the candidate and provides a written recommendation that addresses the student’s interest, aptitude and potential in the field of forensic anthropology.

B. Trainee Affiliate

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Trainee Affiliate must be fulfilled, and
  2. Applicants for the Anthropology Section will be considered in any area of anthropology (e.g., physical anthropology, archaeology, cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology) or a related field, with a demonstrated sufficient forensic science emphasis.
  3. Must have completed a master’s or doctorate degree in anthropology or a closely related field with forensic science emphasis, and
  4. Must be sponsored by a Member or Fellow of the Anthropology Section who is well-acquainted with the candidate and provides a written recommendation that addresses the candidate’s progress toward fulfilling the requirements for Associate Member, and
  5. Trainee Affiliate status may not be held for more than three (3) years.


C. Associate Member

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Associate Member must be fulfilled, and
  2. Applicants for the Anthropology Section will be considered in any area of anthropology (e.g., physical anthropology, archaeology, cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology) or a related field, with a demonstrated sufficient forensic science emphasis.
  3. Applicant must have earned a master’s or doctorate degree in anthropology or a closely related field with a forensic science emphasis, and
  4. Submit for inspection a complete curriculum vitae indicative of active engagement, publication, pursuit of a career or other contribution to the application of anthropology to forensic science, and
  5. Demonstrate involvement in current anthropological assessments with a forensic science emphasis by providing:  
    1. Copies of two (2) forensic case reports that demonstrate the competent application of scientific methods, techniques, and concepts in the context of the fields of anthropology, or
    2. Copies of two (2) research papers in anthropology with a forensic science emphasis authored or co-authored by the applicant and presented by the applicant at scientific meetings, or
    3. Copies of one (1) case report and one (1) research paper as described above, or a copy of one (1) paper on anthropology with a forensic science emphasis authored or second authored by the applicant and published in a refereed
 journal, and
  6. Two (2) letters of reference. References must be from either two (2) section Fellows or one (1) section Fellow and one (1) full Member from the Anthropology Section of the AAFS. Referees must be well-acquainted with the applicant and must address the candidate’s aptitude in and contributions to forensic anthropology.
  7. Above requirements can only be waived by a two-thirds decision of members present at an annual section business meeting. Since the Board of Directors approval occurs before the section business meetings, those seeking a waiver of requirements will be delayed approval of the application for one (1) year.

Criminalistics

A. Student Affiliate

  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 that would be used to support a career in a criminalistics discipline, and
  3. Applicant must provide one (1) letter of reference from his/her department chair, program director, or academic advisor.

B. Trainee Affiliate

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Trainee Affiliate must be fulfilled, and
  2. Applicant must provide one (1) letter of reference from his/her supervisor.

C. Associate Member

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Associate Member must be fulfilled, and
  2. Applicant must have earned a baccalaureate (or equivalent) or master’s degree from an accredited college or university in one of the natural sciences (or forensic science or criminalistics), and
  3. Have a minimum of two (2) years experience in the field of criminalistics during which a substantial portion of the applicant’s time is/was devoted to either the examination and evaluation of physical evidence or the training and/or research of forensic applications to physical evidence, 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 and evaluations. An internship does not count toward the experience requirements, or
  4. A PhD degree from an accredited college or university in one of the natural sciences (or forensic science or criminalistics, or a recognized derivative of the natural sciences, such as biochemistry) and a minimum of three (3) years 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 science, 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 effort has been in subjects involving forensic science, and
  5. Two (2) letters of reference. At lease one (1) reference must be from a full Member, Fellow, Retired Member, or Retired Fellow of the Criminalistics section of the AAFS. Both reference 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 application 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.

Digital & Multimedia Sciences

A. Student Affiliate

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Student Affiliate must be fulfilled, and
  2. Applicant must provide one (1) letter of reference from his/her department chair, program director, or academic advisor indicating that the applicant is enrolled full-time in a program relevant to the forensic sciences.

B. Trainee Affiliate

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Trainee Affiliate must be fulfilled, and
  2. Applicant must provide one (1) letter of reference from his/her immediate supervisor indicating that the applicant is working in a program relevant to the section’s area of interest.

C. Associate Member

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Associate Member must be fulfilled, and
  2. Applicant must have earned a baccalaureate degree and have five (5) years experience in one of the forensic sciences within the scope of coverage acceptable to the Section, or a master’s degree and four (4) years of similar experience, or a doctorate degree and three (3) years of similar experience.  (Note: Past experience is counted if: (a) related to current forensic discipline field, and (b) was not required to obtain educational degree.), and
  3. Demonstrate current involvement in the forensic discipline for which applying, and
  4. Two (2) letters of reference. One (1) reference must be from a full Member, Fellow, Retired Member, or Retired Fellow of the Digital & Multimedia Sciences Section. The second letter may be from an AAFS member, or an acceptable reference from someone active in the forensic sciences. References must be able to comment knowledgeably on the applicant’s qualifications.

Engineering Sciences

A. Student Affiliate

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Student Affiliate must be fulfilled, and
  2. Applicant must provide proof that they are enrolled in an accredited college or university leading to a degree that would be used to support a career in engineering or an engineering-related science.

B. Trainee Affiliate

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Trainee Affiliate must be fulfilled.
  2. Have less than four (4) years experience with a baccalaureate degree, less than three (3) years with a master’s degree, or less than two (2) years with a doctoral degree.

C. Associate Member

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Associate Member must be fulfilled, and
  2. Applicant must provide proof of a baccalaureate or graduate degree from an accredited four-year college or university in engineering or an engineering-related science, and
  3. Be actively engaged in the application of forensic engineering science for a minimum of four (4) years experience, or a master’s degree and three (3) years of similar experience, or an earned doctoral degree can be substituted and two (2) years of similar experience, and
  4. Provide the highest relevant degree, graduate or undergraduate, along with photocopies of certificates, diplomas, degrees, and licensures, which must accompany the application, and
  5. Provide proof of active participation in the field of forensic engineering science over the past four (4) years, such as client references, court appearances including court case numbers, engineering research or projects related to forensic engineering, and
  6. Two (2) letters of reference. At least one (1) reference shall be from either a full Member or Fellow of the AAFS. References must be able to comment knowledgeably on the applicant’s qualifications.

General

A. Student Affiliate

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Student Affiliate must be fulfilled, and
  2. Applicant must provide one (1) letter of reference from his/her department chair, program director, or academic advisor indicating that the applicant is enrolled in a program relevant to the forensic sciences.

B. Trainee Affiliate

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Trainee Affiliate must be fulfilled, and
  2. Have less than five (5) years experience with a baccalaureate degree, less than four (4) years with a master’s degree, or less than three (3) years with a doctorate degree.
  3. Applicant must provide one (1) letter of reference from his/her immediate supervisor indicating that the applicant is working in a program or field relevant to the forensic sciences.

C. Associate Member

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Associate Member must be fulfilled, and
  2. Applicant must have earned a baccalaureate degree and have five (5) years full-time experience or 7.5 years part-time experience in one of the forensic sciences within the scope of coverage acceptable to the section, or a master’s degree and four (4) years of similar full-time experience or 6.5 years part-time experience, or a doctorate degree and three (3) years of similar full-time experience or 4.5 years part-time experience. (Note: Past experience is counted if: (a) related to current forensic discipline field, and (b) was not required to obtain educational degree.), and
  3. Demonstrate current involvement in the forensic discipline for which applying, and
  4. Two (2) letters of reference. One (1) reference must be from a full Member, Fellow, or Retired Fellow of the General Section. The second reference may be from a General Section member, an AAFS member, or an acceptable reference from someone active in the forensic sciences. References must be able to comment knowledgeably on the applicant’s qualifications.

General Section Disciplines Information

Jurisprudence

A. Student Affiliate

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Student Affiliate must be fulfilled, and
  2. Applicant must be enrolled in a law school program leading to a law degree or in an approved “Law Reading” program leading to qualification for taking the Bar examination.

B. Trainee Affiliate

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Trainee Affiliate must be fulfilled, and
  2. Have less than two (2) years experience, and
  3. Applicant must have been awarded a law degree or otherwise be qualified to take the Bar examination or have a license in good standing to practice law, and be fulfilling the experience requirement for Associate Membership in the Jurisprudence Section.

C. Associate Member

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Associate Member must be fulfilled, and
  2. Applicant must have received a law degree at least two (2) years prior to the date of application for Associate Member, or
  3. Have had a license in good standing to practice law for at least two (2) years immediately prior to application for Associate Member, or
  4. Have received a law degree at least one (1) year prior to the date of application for Associate Member and have participated in a minimum of one (1) program of the Academy prior to becoming an Associate Member. Participation may include the presentation of papers, acting as a moderator or panelist of a program, or serving as an active member of a committee of the Jurisprudence Section, or
  5. Have a license in good standing to practice law at least one (1) year immediately prior to the date of application for Associate Member and have participated in a minimum of one (1) program of the Academy prior to becoming an Associate Member.  Participation may include the presentation of papers, acting as a moderator or panelist of a program, or serving as an active member of a committee of the Jurisprudence Section, or
  6. Have received a law degree or a license in good standing to practice law during the year immediately prior to the meeting at which Associate Member is considered and have participated in a minimum of one (1) program of the Academy as a Student Affiliate, or
  7. Have completed such other academic and professional achievements, both in law and in forensic science, in a foreign country over a period of not less than six (6) years deemed to be substantially equivalent to the requirements of the Academy by the section chair and secretary at the time of the application, and
  8. Two (2) letters of reference. References are not required to be members of the AAFS, but must be able to comment knowledgeably on the applicant’s qualifications.

Odontology

A. Student Affiliate

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Student Affiliate must be fulfilled.

B. Trainee Affiliate

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Trainee Affiliate must be fulfilled, and
  2. One (1) year or less experience in forensic odontology.

C. Associate Member

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Associate Member must be fulfilled, and
  2. Applicant must have earned a dental degree (DDS, DMD, or equivalent), and
  3. Applicant must complete forty (40) hours of Forensic Odontology education.  This coursework shall be completed in the seven (7) years preceding the application and must include:
    1. A minimum of four (4) hours of Bitemarks, four (4) hours of Dental Identification, and four (4) hours of either Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) or Age Estimation;
    2. The balance of courses may be on any topic relevant to Forensic Odontology;
    3. Applicant may gain a maximum of eight (8) hours of credit by attending the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Forensic Odontology or eight (8) hours of the AAFS Scientific Sessions of the Odontology Section;
    4. Certificates from these courses submitted must contain the learning objectives and outcomes and how those were met as well as the number of hours per topic, and
  4. Be actively associated with an agency engaged in forensic odontology, and
  5. Have one (1) year or more experience in forensic odontology, and
  6. Two (2) letters of reference.  References must be either full Members or Fellows of the Odontology Section of the AAFS and must be able to comment knowledgeably on the applicant’s qualifications.  International applicants residing outside of North America (defined as United States, Canada, and Mexico) who are unable to secure the required two (2) letters of reference, may submit one (1) letter of reference from a full Member or Fellow of the Odontology Section of the AAFS and one (1) letter of reference from a non-member who are of appropriate professional standing and can comment knowledgeably on the applicant’s qualifications.

Pathology/Biology

A. Student Affiliate

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Student Affiliate must be fulfilled, and
  2. Must be either a full-time medical student or a student enrolled in a graduate program in Life Sciences.

B. Trainee Affiliate

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Trainee Affiliate must be fulfilled, and
  2. Must plan to pursue a career in medicine, forensic pathology, forensic entomology, or forensic botany.

C. Associate Member

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Associate Member must be fulfilled, and
  2. Applicant must have earned a medical degree (MD, DO, DVM, or International Equivalent that would permit medical licensure in the United States or Canada), or a PhD in Life Sciences and have been actively engaged in his/her field of interest for at least one (1) year, and
  3. Be actively engaged in the field of forensic science, including: pathology, forensic pathology, forensic medicine, veterinary pathology, or other biological science at the time of application, and
  4. Have made a significant contribution to the literature of forensic sciences, or have been pursuing a course of study as a resident in pathology or the disciplines described in paragraph 3, or have advanced the cause of forensic science in some other significant manner, and
  5. Two (2) letters of reference. References must be full Members or Fellows of the AAFS and must be able to comment knowledgeably on the applicant’s qualifications.

Areas of interest within the Pathology/Biology Section include:

  • Veterinary Forensics
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Clinical Pathology
  • Forensic Entomology
  • Forensic Biology
  • Forensic Medicine
  • Forensic Botany

NOTE:  Applicants who have or are planning a career in a biological science with a non-doctorate degree level, as well as those applicants who have or are planning a career in a biological science (DNA, serology, etc.), please apply to the Criminalistics Section.

Psychiatry & Behavioral Science

Please contact the AAFS Office for requirements for applicants outside the U.S. (membership@aafs.org)

A. Student Affiliate

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Student Affiliate must be fulfilled.

B. Trainee Affiliate

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Trainee Affiliate must be fulfilled.

C. Associate Member

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Associate Member must be fulfilled, and
  2. Psychiatrists must hold an MD or DO degree, and have completed an ACGME approved residency in psychiatry, and must devote the majority of his/her medical practice in the specialty of psychiatry.
  3. Clinical Psychologists must meet the following requirements:
    1. PhD or PsyD degree in clinical, neuro-, forensic, counseling, or school psychology from a program approved by the American Psychological Association, and completion of an internship approved by the American Psychological Association, or
    2. PhD or PsyD degree in clinical, neuro-, forensic, counseling, or school psychology from a program approved by one (1) of the six (6) regional accrediting institutions of the U.S. Department of Education, and licensure to practice psychology in one (1) state, and successful passing of the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP).
  4. Research Psychologists must have a PhD in any other area of psychology not covered above, approved by one (1) of the six (6) regional accrediting institutions of the U.S. Department of Education, and have substantial evidence of multiple publications in the peer reviewed literature of direct relevance to forensic behavioral science.

Questioned Documents

A. Student Affiliate

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Student Affiliate must be fulfilled.

B. Trainee Affiliate

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Trainee Affiliate must be fulfilled.
  2. In addition to annual eligibility certification, a Trainee Affiliate may not continue in this status for more than four (4) years before either applying for Associate Member or reapplying for Trainee Affiliate status.  Justification for reapplication will be contingent upon acceptance by the section Executive Committee.  If an applicant has not begun a Questioned Documents training program, but his/her employer supports one and the applicant has been accepted to begin one, the employer must provide specifics on when the program will begin and information on the credentials of the principal trainer.
  3. Submit one (1) letter of reference.  Reference must be a full Member or Fellow of  the Questioned Documents Section of the AAFS and must be able to comment  knowledgeably on the applicant’s training program.  Exceptions to this requirement may be considered for applicants residing outside of the United States and Canada, in which case, the reference may be from one (1) person other than a Member or Fellow of the Academy.  This reference will be evaluated and will be accepted if approved by a majority vote of the members present at an annual business meeting of the section. Since the AAFS Board of Directors approval occurs before the section business meetings, those seeking a waiver of requirements will be delayed approval of the application for one (1) year.

C. Associate Member

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Associate Member must be fulfilled, and
  2. Must have an earned baccalaureate or higher academic degree from an accredited college or university, and
  3. Have successfully completed and documented formalized training in the field of questioned document examination for at least two (2) years duration from a recognized questioned document laboratory or under the direct supervision of document examiners who are Members or Fellows of the Questioned Documents Section of the Academy, or a voting member of ASQDE, or who are Diplomates of the ABFDE (the section recognizes ASTM 2388-11 and the Scientific Working Group for Forensic Document Examination ((SWGDOC Standard for Minimum Training Requirements for Forensic Document Examiners)) as the basic guides for fundamental training in the field), and
  4. Be actively engaged or employed full-time in the examination of questioned documents for at least two (2) years, independent of any program of training, and for that period must be personally responsible for conducting and reporting such examinations without technical supervision, and
  5. Two (2) letters of reference. References must be full Members or Fellows of the Questioned Documents Section of the AAFS and must be able to comment knowledgeably on the applicant’s qualifications. Exceptions to this requirement may be considered for applicants residing outside of the United States and Canada, in which case, one or both references may be from persons other than Members or Fellows of the Academy. These references will be evaluated and will be accepted if approved by a majority vote of the members present at an annual business meeting of the section.  Since the AAFS Board of Directors approval occurs before the section business meetings, those seeking a waiver of requirements will be delayed approval of the application for one (1) year.

Toxicology

A. Student Affiliate

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Student Affiliate must be fulfilled.

B. Trainee Affiliate

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Trainee Affiliate must be fulfilled.

C. Associate Member

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Associate Member must be fulfilled, and
  2. Applicant must have earned a baccalaureate or graduate degree in one (1) of the natural sciences from an accredited institution, and sixteen (16) semester credit hours in chemistry, and
  3. Provide transcripts of chemistry credits, graduate and undergraduate. International applicants will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis if their transcripts do not document the required sixteen (16) hours of chemistry as hours or credits and may be subject to additional requirements, and
  4. Be actively engaged in forensic toxicology for at least one (1) year immediately prior to application, and
    1. Have made a significant contribution to the literature of forensic toxicology, or
    2. Have been pursuing a course of study for at least one (1) year for an advanced degree applicable to the educational needs of a forensic toxicologist, or
    3. Have advanced the cause of forensic toxicology by laboratory service or in some other significant manner, and
  5.  Two (2) letters of reference. One (1) reference must be from a full Member or Fellow of the Toxicology Section of the AAFS and must be able to comment knowledgeably on the applicant’s qualifications. The second reference may be from a Toxicology Section member, an AAFS member, or an acceptable reference from someone active in forensic toxicology and must be able to comment knowledgeably on the applicant’s qualifications. Exceptions to this requirement may be considered for applicants residing outside of the United States and Canada, in which case, two (2) references from non-members must be submitted and may be otherwise evaluated or accepted if approved by a majority vote of the members present at an annual business meeting of the section. If exception is made, those seeking a waiver of requirements will be delayed approval of the application for one (1) year, and Associate Members applying for promotion to Member will be required to provide two (2) references from Members or Fellows of the Toxicology Section.