How to Become a Blood Spatter Analyst

Fans of Dexter, a television drama that revolves around a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Metro Police Department, may think that Dexter’s job is the stuff of TV fiction; however, blood spatter is a very real field of forensic science.

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Blood spatter analysts provide an extremely important service in specific areas of law enforcement, particularly those departments that deal with homicide and violent crime. Although the term ‘blood spatter’ may evoke some provocative images, blood spatter analysis is a specialty rooted in details, sometimes involving very little blood at all.

Blood Spatter Analyst Job Description and Common Tasks

Bloodstain pattern analysts examine blood that is left behind at crime scenes in whatever quantity. It could be a trace amount in the form of a trail or print, or it could involve a large loss of blood. An analyst uses several different techniques to collect the evidence from the scene for later processing at a lab.

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blood spatter analystCommon techniques may involve taking photographs, using swabs and ultraviolent light to detect and collect trace evidence, and recreating splatter in the lab. This also requires the creating of detailed reports using computer simulations and analysis, as well as reporting findings to colleagues, law enforcement professionals and court officials. Bloodstain pattern analysts can confirm or refute assumptions made about the crime or statements made by suspects and witnesses based on their analysis.

Blood Spatter Analyst Requirements and Training

Bloodstain analysis requires a meticulous and thorough understanding of the properties of blood and the human body. Anatomy plays a large role as it pertains to arterial flow and the behavior of blood before and after it leaves the body.

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Most blood spatter analysts begin with a certificate or degree in criminal justice, particularly forensic science. Specific classes include biology, anatomy, criminology, constitutional law and statistical analysis. These will eventually transition into specific classes dealing with blood that will help an analyst reveal the type of weapon used in a crime, the location and movement of the victim and suspect, and ultimately the reconstruction of a crime. Once hired, analysts attend classes or workshops to continually update their skills and knowledge.

Did you know? Blood spatter analysts use math, physics, biology, and a knowledge of how blood behaves in certain conditions to help recreate the crime.

Blood Spatter Analyst Salary, Job Outlook and Employers

Blood spatter analysts are very specialized, but the need exists for more people in this field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that forensic science technicians earn a median salary of $52,840 per year as of May 2012.1 Many bloodstain pattern analysts work in local and state crime laboratories that are associated with law enforcement agencies. Many agencies require blood spatter analysts to perform additional forensic science duties.

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    References:
    1. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/forensic-science-technicians.htm
    2. Echaore-McDavid, Susan and McDavid Richard A. Career Opportunities in Forensic Science. New York: Ferguson, 2008.

    Page Edited by Charles Sipe.