Education and/or Training Required
- In order to become a Crime Scene Investigator, you should start by earning a degree in Crime Scene Investigation, Criminal Justice or a Physical Science. A common degree is a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. - A Master’s degree will be of greater value and you will also get a higher pay. - Forensic Science is the best major to choose if you wish to become a Crime Scene Investigator. You can get an Associate’s degree (2-year) or Bachelor’s degree (4-year). Many police departments will require a Bachelor’s degree. However, you could also study Criminal Justice or Criminology, but the main focus is in Forensics. - Some crime scene investigator jobs require individuals to have police officer status, or higher education with a strong background in science.- Most CSI's are sworn officers, but there are a large number of civilians with the same job. The difference between the two is economics and arrest powers. Police Officers are generally paid at a higher level than the civilian counter-parts; they usually have better benefits and more career opportunities. Civilian CSI's have little career opportunities, less benefits and work in the same dangerous environment as their sworn counterpart. - Crime Scene Investigator’s will spend nearly all of their time processing crime scenes, so they should be in a good physical condition. The job normally involves extensive kneeling, climbing, and crouching, as well as lifting and carrying heavy objects.
- Photography is a must-have skill for becoming a Crime Scene Investigator. Since you will photograph a lot while on the job, you should know about all types of cameras, how cameras work, and advanced techniques of photography.
- You should know how to write and speak effectively. Crime Scene Investigators are required to document the crime scene and their investigative activities in written reports. “Documenting” the scene will also include sketching and photography. Once the case goes to trial, Crime Scene Investigators are placed on the witness stand to describe their findings to the judge and jury in layman's terms.
Responsibilities and Daily Activities
Approximately 70% of the incumbent's time is spent processing crime scenes, packaging and transporting evidence, attending and photographing autopsies and attending briefings and conferences with the police agencies requesting assistance. The remaining time is spent preparing investigative reports, testifying in court, receiving continuing education, instructing classes and maintaining equipment in a state of readiness. * The Crime Scene Investigator is a support person for the investigator in charge of the case. * The Crime Scene Investigator is responsible for the thorough documentation of the scene(s) and the identification, processing and collection of physical evidence. * They need to have an expertise in photography, sketching, processing for latent and patent evidence, which includes but not limited to; fingerprints, footwear impressions, trace, hair & fibers, biological fluid, including DNA potential and blood spatter pattern analysis. Other specialties may be required. * The Crime Scene Investigator needs to follow the protocol for the packaging, securing and chain of custody for the evidence collected from the scene. * The Crime Scene Investigator will attend autopsies and assist the pathologist with collection of physical evidence from the body. * The Crime Scene Investigator needs to take thorough notes to later complete a comprehensive written report. * The Crime Scene Investigator not only needs above average written communication skills, they must also have good verbal skills to work as a liaison between the investigators, pathologists and prosecuting attorneys. * They are required to give accurate and comprehensive testimony in a court of law. * The Crime Scene Investigator is required to work long...