Basic Member Requirements

Applicants for membership in the Academy, or for promotion, shall be considered without regard to ancestry, ethnicity,national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, faith, disability, or membership in other organizations.  Academy membership is available only to those of professional competence, integrity, and good moral character.


Your application must provide all of the information required by the AAFS and by the section to which you are applying. CAREFULLY REVIEW THE AAFS AND THE INDIVIDUAL SECTION REQUIREMENTS LISTED BELOW: 


There are three entry level categories within the AAFS. In order of increasing requirements, they are:

  • Student Affiliate

  • Trainee Affiliate

  • Associate Member

STUDENT AFFILIATE: 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 to Trainee Affiliate or Associate Member.

TRAINEE AFFILIATE: 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.

ASSOCIATE MEMBER: The entry level at which most applicants enter the AAFS (with the exception of Trainee Affiliate and Student Affiliate).  Advancement to Member and then to Fellow is accomplished by meeting additional criteria established by each section.  Associate Member status is granted to individuals:

  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 the 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.


Digital & Multimedia Sciences
Engineering & Applied Sciences
Psychiatry & Behavioral Science
Questioned Documents

©2020 American Academy of Forensic Sciences