Automated Fingerprint Identification System


The goals of this course are twofold: to have the student understand the operations of an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS); and to understand opportunities to improve the cause of justice using the power of AFIS systems. Students will be taught the key elements of AFIS systems, actions and data that can affect outcome, and opportunities to make more identifications.

Cost: $150.00. This course takes 15 Hours to complete, on average.

The goal of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System course is to have students understand the operations of an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). Students will be introduced to the key elements of AFIS systems, actions and data that can affect outcome, and opportunities to make more identifications. The course is designed as an introductory level course.


Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the need for classification systems  
  • Describe the major AFIS databases
  • Describe the best locations for minutiae placement
  • Discuss how tenprint records enter AFIS   
  • Discuss why the latent print examiner, not AFIS, makes the latent print ident 
  • Describe the need for fingerprint standards

Course Structure and Schedule

This is a non-credit course offering 3.72 ILUs. (What is ILU?) Average completion time for the course is 15 hours. The course cost is $150.00 per registration.  A certificate of completion will be issued to students successfully meeting course requirements.

Table of Contents

Unit 1: History of Fingerprints
Unit 2: Classification Systems
Unit 3: AFIS Overview
Unit 4: Minutiae Placement
Unit 5: Tenprint Record Processing
Unit 6: Latent Print Processing
Unit 7: Palm Print Overview
Unit 8: Forensic and Civil Applications Overview
Unit 9: Standards
Unit 10: Other Biometrics Overview
Unit 11: AFIS Current Challenges
Unit 12: SWOT Analysis
Unit 13: Acquisition and Testing (Optional)


There are no prerequisites for this class. A printable version of the course content is available in PDF format in the course library for future reference. Course readings are also available in PDF format. Access to an AFIS system is not required for this course.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to have access to an AFIS system for this course?

Answer: No, you will not need to have access to an AFIS system to take the course. Although knowledge of how an AFIS operates would be beneficial when taking this course, it is not necessary.

Computer Requirements

  • Mozilla Firefox (recommended) or Internet Explorer
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • QuickTime
  • Macromedia Flash Player
  • Java

(Free software plug-ins are available in the Getting Started area of the course.)

Basic computer skills required (i.e. turning on your computer, navigating to websites, etc.). The course is user-friendly but support is available if needed.

All Students: Using Internet Explorer (IE) 10? Read info on eCampus Main Page

Instructor Information

Alicia Holman is a Forensic Project Coordinator with the Forensic Science Initiative. She joined FSI in 2007 as a student worker and has since received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology and Investigations at West Virginia University. Alicia is currently overseeing a grant which will present defense and prosecuting attorneys the opportunity to learn more about the basic precepts of forensic science.

Samantha Neal is the Instructional Coordinator for the Forensic Science Initiative, a program that develops research, scientific resources, and professional training for forensic scientists and related professionals. Her primary responsibilities are the development and coordination of online continuing education courses in forensic science and continuing education programs. She has undergraduate degrees in both Forensic and Investigative Sciences and Chemistry.
Contact:, 304-293-5836

Registration Information 

Registration is accepted year-round for this course. Click on the "Register Now" button at the top to register online through our secure server. You will be receiving email with your online course access information within five working days. Please check your spam or junk folder in case the confirmation email was misplaced there. Call 1-800-253-2762, or email if you have any questions. Major credit cards are accepted.

Check our FAQ page for refund policy and class access information.

Group Discount

We offer discounts for groups over 10. All individuals in the group need to register for the same course to take advantage of the discount. Discount rates vary by group size as follows:

  • 10-20 people 10% off
  • 21-30 people 15% off
  • 31-40 people 20% off
  • Above 40, contact for special pricing

How to register for a group discount:

  1. One contact person for each group registers.
  2. Click on “Register Now” button at the top of the page.
  3. Click on “add to cart” to add course to cart.
  4. Sign into online registration system with existing account.
  5. If not, click on “Create New Profile.”  Choose “Create a Student Profile (single user).”  Create your profile.
  6. How many students to register?  Enter total number of students in your group.
  7. Checkout with credit card.
  8. Send a list of each student(s) contact information to  (Include full name, email, phone, date of birth).
  9. Course access instructions will be sent by email within 5 business days.

Check our FAQ and Refund Policy for refund and class access information.


Michael Kouris

"All the classes that I have enrolled in have been great. The courses have so much information. I am very confident that any situation I come in contact with will aid me.

I want to thank all the teachers and staff of West Virginia University for the service they provide to law enforcment and other public service employees.

Great Courses."