How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator

Although not as glamorous as the occupation portrayed by the actors on CSI, crime scene investigator jobs are fascinating. Their primary responsibility is to investigate crimes by carefully collecting and analyzing physical evidence. They may collect hair, tissue, and body fluids from a crime victim, or perform tests on items found at a crime scene. In short, they analyze all of the evidence in the interest of providing accurate information that may help to acquit or convict a person of a crime.

A crime scene investigator career requires them to be meticulous about details; they must properly collect and store the evidence they collect. They must be able to prepare forms, reports, and other written documentation about their findings. CSIs are often asked to testify at criminal trials, giving testimony about the physical evidence collected and offering their general expertise about forensic evidence.

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Become a CSI – Job Requirements

To pursue a crime scene investigator career, you typically must have either an associate’s degree or certification in some area of science (e.g., biology or chemistry). Criminal Justice Degree Schools has an article on how to become a CSI that may aid you in your research. In some cases, CSIs may be required to have a bachelor’s degree in an area of science. In addition to formal education, CSIs usually participate in training, including photography, death scene processing, fingerprint processing, and blood spatter analysis. People wishing to become a CSI should have strong computer skills. Those wanting crime scene investigation jobs should be aware that they will be responsible for overseeing disturbing crime scenes, including homicides and sexual assaults. They should have the professional disposition required to adequately deal with such scenes. CSIs must be in good health and physically fit, as they often must kneel, reach, climb, stretch, and carry heavy objects to process a crime scene. Occasionally, they carry a firearm.

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Crime Scene Investigator Salary

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that detectives and criminal investigators earn a average annual salary of $79,030.1 Salary can vary depending on factors such as education, experience, and geographic location.

Crime Scene Investigator Career Outlook

Employment for the related occupation of police and detectives is expected to grow 5% during the decade from 2012-2022.2

Featured Schools with Crime Scene Investigation and Criminal Justice Programs

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American InterContinental University Online
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • Bachelor's of Science in Criminal Justice - Forensic Science
  • Bachelor's of Science in Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement

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University of Phoenix
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • M.S. in Administration of Justice and Security/Law Enforcement Organizations
  • A.A. in Criminal Justice

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Keiser University
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • Criminal Justice, AA (Online)
  • Criminal Justice, BA (Online)
  • Homeland Security, BA (Online)

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Capella University
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • MS - Criminal Justice
  • PhD - Criminal Justice
  • BS - Criminal Justice

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Saint Joseph's University
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • Master’s in CJ with Federal Law Enforcement
  • Master's in Criminal Justice

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Liberty University
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • BS in Criminal Justice
  • AA in Criminal Justice
  • Masters in Criminal Justice: Command College

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Colorado Technical University Online
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice: Human Services
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice - Cybercrime and Security


Related Careers

Interested in a career similar to crime scene investigation? Check out these related careers:

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333021.htm
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/police-and-detectives.htm

Page Edited by Charles Sipe.