Becoming a Crime Scene Investigator

Crime Scene Investigators are also known as Forensic Science Technicians, Evidence Technicians and Crime Scene Analysts. They are generally trained police officers, but in some cases civilians also get employment as Crime Scene Investigators. The CSIs collect fingerprints, footprints, trace materials, fibers and biological evidence found at the scene and on the victim’s body to help in criminal investigation process.

The nature of job of Crime Scene Investigators include:

  • Visit the crime scene, secure the spot
  • Get all details such as measurements, diagram, sketches etc.
  • Take photographs and make videos if needed
  • Make a proper documentation of all evidences collected at the location
  • Attend the autopsy process
  • Prepare a report with findings and conclusion
  • Appear in the court to place the findings

Education Requirements:

  1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree: A Bachelor’s Degree may not be mandatory for the Crime Scene Investigators, but most of them do hold a degree to boost their profile as well as gain more expertise and experience in their work. A Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a specialization in forensic technology is helpful for the aspiring Crime Scene Investigators. The coursework may typically involve criminal psychology, investigation, law, ethics and research.
  2. Complete a Police Academy: Some law enforcement agencies hire employees from their own database or people with police training. So, the aspiring Crime Scene Investigators can complete a police academy program, which will help them in their job search.
  3. Gain Work Experience: The entry-level Crime Scene Investigators must work under the supervision of  senior investigators to receive on-the-job training. That will help them to get into details of the work process and gain huge experience as well improve their skill set.
  4. Get Certification: A Certification from the International Association for Identification (IAI) will be an added advantage for the aspiring Crime Scene Investigators. Only those people who have at least a minimum of one year experience in an area related to crime scenes, can apply for certification. At least 75% marks are required to pass the IAI certification test.

Salary & Job Outlook:

The job outlook for this profession remains excellent in the United States. The Crime Scene Investigators earn $27,683 – $ 52,471 on an average.