How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator

What is a Crime Scene Investigator?

In the criminal justice industry, crime scene investigation is a popular choice for those intrigued by forensics. This career blends scientific knowledge with composure, attention to detail and strong communication skills. Follow along to learn how to become a crime scene investigator.

If you are interested in this career, you may be wondering what it entails and what degree is required. Now, you can find the answers.

Crime Scene Investigator Responsibilities

An initial step in pursuing a career as a crime scene investigator is to understand what the profession is really all about.

Since the job is not like it is portrayed on television, I suggest participating in ride-alongs to see what the job really entails,” said Professor Laurie Joiner.

“Since the job is not like it is portrayed on television, I suggest participating in ride-alongs to see what the job really entails,” said Professor Laurie Joiner of Southeastern University, who also works as the administrative head of CSI at the Polk County Sheriff’s Department, which is located in Florida. “The job is detail-oriented, requiring report writing for every case,” she said.

Reports are written once the investigator completes collecting evidence from the crime scene, which can include blood splatters, footprints and tire tracks. Additionally, the investigator may be required to respond to crimes committed at various locations and times of the day. Being on call and working near body parts, bodily fluids and decomposing remains can be unpleasant for some.

A rewarding aspect of the position is being involved in determining the cause of a crime and helping catch suspects. Investigators may be required to testify in court in order to share their findings.

Educational Requirements of a Crime Scene Investigator

In many cases, your experience and training will be critical to your goal of becoming a crime scene investigator. However, you’ll need to select the right education to get to this point.

Crime scene investigators are usually sworn police officers. As a result, studying criminal justice is a natural choice for students and current professionals. And because many larger police departments are increasing their educational requirements for police officers to the bachelor’s level, you should consider a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice to obtain an advantage.

Remember that larger police departments are more likely to need a crime scene investigator — not smaller departments that lack the manpower for such a position. It’s wise to advance your education in order to obtain an advantage for this sought-after position.

In addition to course work in criminal justice, you could look into studying forensic science to acquire the scientific background you’ll need as a crime scene investigator. The International Association for Identification offers certification for crime scene investigators.

Experience and Training

The online criminal justice degree allows you to study when and where you want, helping you to maintain your work and personal schedule while also furthering your career.

You will need law enforcement experience before you can become a crime scene investigator. This is how you’ll get the experience and training in collecting and processing forensic evidence and other key tasks of the position.

On-the-job training is required before you’ll be able to respond to cases on your own. The time required for this can vary based on the department or the specialty, as you might concentrate on firearms or DNA, for instance.

Become a Crime Scene Investigator

If you’re interested in pursuing this and other careers in criminal justice, take a look at the online criminal justice degree offered through Southeastern University. It allows you to study when and where you want, helping you to maintain your work and personal schedule while also furthering your career.