What Training Is Necessary to Become a Crime Scene Investigator?
Crime scene investigators often receive all necessary training through the law enforcement agency that employs them. Alternatively, training may come from a degree or certificate program in crime scene investigation or a related field. Schools offering Forensic Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Necessary Training for a Crime Scene Investigator
Crime scene investigators are usually trained by the law enforcement agency that hires them, according to the International Crime Scene Investigators Association (ICSIA), www.icsia.org. Such training will vary but may include in-class instruction, on-the-job experience or a combination of the two.
Alternatively, you can pursue formal education in crime scene investigation, criminal justice, forensic science or a related field. These programs cover topics like trace evidence collection and analysis, fingerprinting and forensic photography.
Programs in crime scene investigation and related fields are available from the certificate to master's degree levels, and which degree is right for you will depend on the avenue of crime scene investigation you'd like to pursue. For example, if you aspire to become an evidence technician, you'll need less formal education than someone who wants to be a criminalist. The latter typically requires a minimum of a 4-year degree in biology or chemistry, according to the Crime Scene Investigator Network, www.crime-scene-investigator.net.
How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator
Because requirements vary, you should contact your local or state government to find out how to become a crime scene investigator in your area. According to the ICSIA, most crime scene investigators are police officers first. To become a police officer, you generally must earn an associate or bachelor's degree in criminal justice, law enforcement or a related field. Graduates of these programs must then complete professional training with the agency that's hired them. This might include classes in ethics, firearms and first aid.
Some law enforcement agencies hire civilians as crime scene investigators, if they've completed the desired level of education. This may be a certificate or associate's degree, although some agencies prefer applicants with a minimum of a bachelor's degree. Additionally, you'll need to complete any required employer-provided training.
To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below: