Texas Forensic Science Commission
During the 84th Legislative Session, the Texas Legislature passed SB-1287, which requires all forensic analysts to be licensed beginning January 1, 2019. See Tex. S.B. 1287, 84th Leg., R.S. (2015). The term "forensic analyst" means any person who on behalf of a crime laboratory accredited under this article technically reviews or performs a forensic analysis or draws conclusions from or interprets a forensic analysis for a court or crime laboratory. The term does not include medical examiners or other forensic pathologists who are licensed physicians.
The Commission must establish qualifications for licensing in the following areas:
- successful completion of education requirements;
- specific coursework and experience, including instruction in courtroom testimony and ethics;
- successful completion of an examination required or recognized by the commission; and
- successful completion of proficiency testing to the extent required for crime lab accreditation.
In addition to mandatory licensing for forensic analysts in accredited disciplines, the Commission may also establish voluntary licensing programs for forensic disciplines not currently subject to accreditation under Texas law.
SB-1287 also required the Commission to establish an advisory committee to advise the Commission and make recommendations on matters related to the licensing program. The advisory committee consists of nine members from a diverse group of laboratories, including seven forensic scientists recommended by the Texas Association of Crime Lab Directors (TACLD), as well as one defense attorney recommended by the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and one prosecutor recommended by the Texas District and County Attorneys Association. The TACLD submitted a list of twenty scientist’s names to the Commission. From that list, Commissioners selected nine scientists to serve on the licensing panel. For more information, see TACLD’s Nominee Selection Process.
See S.B. 1287 for further details on the licensing requirement.
To Apply for a Forensic License or Access Study Materials (Analysts, Technicians and Screeners):
The first step is to register an account in TopClass, the Commission’s learning management and license application system.
To create your account:
- Go to theTopClass Learning Management System website
- Click the "Register Now" button
- Fill out the form to create your account username and password
To Apply for a License (Analysts, Technicians and Screeners):
Log into your account in TopClass. If you do not have an account see instructions above.
To apply, follow the instructions in the following form, which includes screenshots of each step in the application process:
The following forms may be useful to you as you complete your application:
- Specific Coursework and Proficiency Testing Certification Form (mandatory for all applicants; obtain from your laboratory designee)
- Criminal History Evaluation Form (complete as needed)
Access to Study Materials for Licensing Examinations (Analyst, Technicians and Screeners):
To access the study materials:
- Log into your account in TopClass. If you do not have an account see instructions above.
- Click "View My Learning"
- Click the +ADD button
- In the search bar, search the "Catalog" for "General Forensic"
- Click "ENROLL"
The materials will be added to your My Learning materials page and you should be able to access them at this point.
Click here for access to the Licensing Examination Study Syllabus