Crime Scene Investigation Schools & Courses

Crime Scene Investigation Training

Thanks in large part to modern television shows, more and more people are interested in crime scene investigation training and careers. Although the job is not exactly like the one that actors do on TV, it can still be a good fit for the right person. Forensic scientists do work for law enforcement agencies for the most part, and most specialize in either crime scene investigation or laboratory work of some kind.

Crime Scene Investigation Schools By State

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Education and Training

The entry-level requirement for forensic scientist or crime scene investigator jobs is usually a bachelor’s degree. Many forensic scientists have masters’ degrees, though, and an advanced degree may be required by some agencies. Several different degrees are acceptable, depending on the employer. Degrees in forensic science, biology and chemistry are the most common. It is getting easier for prospective students to find a college campus with a forensic science major, which is generally seen as more competitive in the workforce than a natural science degree.

Significant on-the-job training is expected and required. New forensic scientists work under the supervision of more experienced ones, as sort of informal apprentices. An advanced knowledge of the subject is required before forensic scientists are allowed to work alone. Laboratory technicians must take certification exams, for which preparation is usually anywhere from six months to several years.

Continuing education is extremely important in forensic science. Keeping up to date with the latest methods of collecting and analyzing evidence is part of the job for a forensic investigator. Sometimes formal continuing education is provided, but in many cases forensic scientists are expected to keep themselves up to date on advances in the field.

Salary and Job Growth

The median salary for a forensic scientist in 2010 was $51,570. The starting salary of a new investigator can be expected to be considerably less than this, however. The lowest-paid 10 percent of forensic scientists made less than $32,900 in 2010*.

*According to the BLS,

Growth for the field is expected to be about 19 percent. This represents growth of about average for all career fields. Interest in the field is high, and individuals with a forensic science degree and/or experience will be the most competitive.

Working Conditions

Laboratory technicians usually work a regular daytime workweek, although this is somewhat variable. They may be exposed to hazardous materials in the lab but conditions are generally comfortable. They may be expected to sit or stand for long periods of time.

Crime scene investigators usually work staggered shifts all around the clock and work in all kinds of weather and environments. They may be expected to work overtime, as well. Emotionally disturbing sights and significant travel to crime scenes are normal parts of their job.

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