How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator

How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator

The role of the Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) as part of the law enforcement team has become a part of the public consciousness through the influence of several popular and long-playing television shows. These shows document some of the crime-solving techniques employed by CSIs, including new technology, creative thinking, and good, old-fashioned detective work. The success of these programs has helped build an appreciation for the previously little-known field, and spurred interest for many people who are seeking new careers or looking to improve or change their existing careers.

What does a crime scene investigator do?

The work of a crime scene investigator begins after a violent crime such as sexual assault, home invasion, armed robbery or homicide has been reported. CSIs are part of the team that attends crime scenes, along with police or military officers and medical personnel. Their job is to gather human and physical evidence, with the goal of determining the victim of the crime, when and how it took place, and who the perpetrator was.

CSIs are charged with viewing autopsies, assessing and processing crime scenes, formulating detailed reports about the crime, and being part of police briefings. In addition, they may be called upon to testify in court as expert witnesses in general proceedings or to present information about a specific case. They may work with fresh crime scenes or with evidence discovered long after a crime is committed. The job may involve travel and typically includes abnormal work hours, as CSIs are needed at crime sites. Click here to learn how to become a crime scene investigator.

What kind of training does a crime scene investigator need?

In most cases, crime scene investigators need at least an Associate degree in law or criminal justice. Bachelor degrees or higher are often preferred. Many agencies will also require CSI job candidates to have completed degree-level coursework in one or more applied science disciplines, particularly biology, chemistry or physics. Some agencies may also require that prospective CSIs have earned police or military officer status. Click here for a list of online crime scene investigator programs.

What are the prospects for a career as a crime scene investigator?

According to a recent report, there are strong career prospects for detectives and criminal investigators, including crime scene investigator jobs. Combined employment rates at local, state, and federal levels are expected to grow by 17% (about 18,000 jobs), by 2016. (1) Click here to get a list of programs to get your degree in criminal justice or law online.

How much do crime scene investigators make?

Salaries for CSI jobs range between $35,400 and $45,700. If one chooses to advance through the ranks, senior crime scene investigator salary could increase to $70,000 and above. (2) Click here to find your path to an exciting CSI career.

Crime scene investigators may find employment in a variety of locations, ranging from small rural communities to large metropolitan areas or even for federal agencies or the armed forces, such as the Army or Navy. Crime scene investigation careers are diverse and challenging and well-suited to creative problem solvers who enjoy working on a team to achieve the common goal of seeking justice. Click here to get a list of programs to get your start in a crime scene investigator career.

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