Crime Scene Investigator Requirements
Learn About Education Requirements & Internship Opportunities
With so many people dreaming to become a crime scene investigator, it is difficult to break into the profession without getting a formal education. Although the need for crime scene investigators is increasing, so is the number of people who have taken an interest in joining the industry. The degree requirements for crime scene investigators have changed. Gone are the days when you could get a job simply by having experience in law enforcement. Today, crime scene investigation units are being more particular when it comes to crime scene investigator requirements. In fact, CSI units will always prioritize an applicant who has earned a crime scene investigation degree; and unfortunately, a resume that bears no CSI or related degree is likely to end up on the bottom of the pile.
"CSI unit supervisors and hiring managers will usually prioritize an applicant who has earned a crime scene investigation degree"
If you want to make yourself more a more marketable applicant, you need to get a targeted education. There are plenty of schools that will equip you for the job requirements for crime scene investigators. Common educational path's for CSI's include a degree in criminal justice or a specific degree in crime scene investigation. If you are already working and do not have the time to go to classes, there are CSI degree programs that you can earn online.
Degree & Education Requirements for Crime Scene Investigators
CSI degree requirements can be earned via a criminal justice or applied science degree, some actually have a combination of both, although this isn't always necessary. One option is to earn an associate's degree in crime scene investigation. It is a two-year program that provides a general education on criminal justice and forensic investigations. However, if you want to get more specific and detailed courses, you might opt to get a bachelor's degree in crime scene investigation, which is a four-year program that allows you to dig deeper into the core competencies and education for CSI roles. Among the two common crime scene investigation degree requirements, a bachelor's is more preferred by employers. If you have already earned an associate's degree and would like to continue your schooling in a bachelor's, you might be able to transfer credits from your previous program so you can decrease your academic load and the time it takes to complete your degree.
A degree in CSI will take you far, but if you want to beef up your curriculum, you may want to consider seeking out crime scene investigator internships at your local police agency. A CSI internship is needed if you wish to get practical experience, and most CSI schools have ties with law enforcement agencies to make it easier for you to secure a CSI internship. If your school is connected to a local agency, you can ask for a recommendation letter from your school and request that your training be credited towards your degree. If your school does not have an agency partner, you can do your own research by calling agencies, asking for referrals, or browsing online.
Crime scene investigation internships are created for CSI students to put their classroom-learned skills to real-life applications. Moreover, having an on-the-job training under a crime scene investigation unit will expose you to different specializations of your career choice such as photography skills at crime scenes; this way, you can choose which aspect of a CSI job to concentrate on. A crime scene technician internship is valued by employers, and many CSI units prefer applicants that already have experience immersing themselves in the industry. With the strict crime scene investigation requirements employers are imposing these days, you have a higher chance of breaking into the industry if you get a formal education and gain an internship in a CSI unit. You may also want to get more in depth information on the duties of a crime scene investigator.
- Preparing crime scene kits such as powders, brushes, and collection devices.
- Work with an evidence technician collecting DNA samples.
- Proper handling, packaging, and transporting to forensics labs.
- Protocol and procedures for collecting, packaging, preserving trace evidence.
- Work with crime scene photographers and learn techniques to create effective images that can be used in a court of law.
- Job shadow a ballistics expert, learn about bullet entrance and exit angles. Examine points of entry and gather clues to retrace steps of perpetrator and victim.
- Specific tasks may be learned, such as handling notes from a bank robbery.
- Job shadowing upon arriving at a scene, searching for trace fibers, tire marks, or stashed weapons.