How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator

Become a Crime Scene Investigator

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Today's television shows such as CSI and CSI: NY have drawn attention to the field of crime scene investigation. If you fancy yourself the next Gil Grissom, then you may want to consider career retraining to enter the growing field of crime scene investigation.

Crime Scene Investigators

At their heart, crime scene investigators are scientists. As science technicians, crime scene investigators use their analytical skills as well as science and mathematics theory to solve problems. If you have a background in chemistry, physics, math, or law enforcement, you have a set of career skills that should be transferable to crime scene investigation with the right career retraining.

Crime scene investigators work closely with law enforcement to analyze crime scenes and draw upon their analytical skills to collect, analyze, and document physical evidence, such as DNA, firearms, hair, tissue, body fluids, and more. Crime scene investigators may also testify in court in regards to the reports of their findings.

Career Advice: Retrain Career Skills for Success

The typical minimum educational requirement for employment as a crime scene investigator is a bachelor's degree. However, science technicians can enter the field with a certificate or associate's degree in a science-related field. Crime scene investigation should remain a growing field in today's economy, and if you are looking to transition into the field online crime scene investigator training courses are available to get you the education you need. In conjunction with hands-on experience, improving your career skills through continuing education can be a great way to get the experience you need to succeed in the field.

Today, about 30 universities and colleges offer bachelor's degree programs in forensic science, while a number of other schools offer degree programs in a specialty area such as criminology or pathology. Some schools even offer online crime scene investigator training courses which can allow you to improve your skills as you remain in your current job.

Science Technicians

Career Outlook

  • Also known as: forensic science technicians
  • Typical duties: collection and testing of forensic evidence
  • Substances typically tested: fiber, glass, hair, body fluids, tissue
  • Other duties: compiling reports, testifying in court, consulting with other experts
  • Working conditions: crime scenes, laboratory, court room
  • Recommended education: associate degree in applied science (entry level technical positions), bachelor's degree in forensic science or natural science (salaried)
  • Typical coursework: biology, chemistry, legal procedures, laboratory courses
  • Colleges and universities offering a bachelor's degree in forensic science: 30
  • Primary employers: state and local government
  • Percent projected employment change, 2012-2022: 6
  • New careers expected to enter field through 2022: 700
  • Recommended employers experiencing strong job growth: state and county crime labs
  • Forensic science technicians employed in 2012: 12,900
  • States with the highest concentration of workers: District of Columbia, Arizona, Maryland, West Virginia, Florida

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Forensic Science Technicians
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Forensic Science Technicians, May 2013 Wages