crime scene investigators are the most integral part of a criminal investigation. arriving at the scene of a crime, they are responsible for thoroughly scrutinizing the entire scene and gathering evidence which could be useful in the course of the investigation. the crime scene investigator (csi) is responsible for thorough documentation of the crime scene; sketching profiles of the suspects based on information obtained through interviews; and taking photographs to maintain a record of the crime scene. if you are interested in, but unsure on how to become a crime scene investigator, read our quick guide to get information and decide whether this career is for you.
what skills are required to become a csi?
it is imperative that the individual possess strong analytical skills and is detail oriented, since the majority of a csi's work involves combing through crime scene(s) for evidence. furthermore, having expertise in the following areas is also required:
fingerprint and footprint analysis
biological evidence analysis
you must also be comfortable with working long and odd hours, and have a strong organizational ethic in place. this will allow you to keep track of the progress of multiple crime scenes and stay ahead of your investigations at all times.
what training do i need?
there is no standard degree requirement for becoming a crime scene investigator. the criterion varies depending on the location and the police agency you apply to. most rural stations will not require you to obtain an undergraduate degree, while stations in urban settings will make this a mandatory prerequisite.the only way to be sure of the requirements is to inquire with the police department you are looking to work with. in terms to obtaining a degree, universities offer forensic science degrees at both undergraduate and graduate levels.
i know how to become a crime scene investigator; do i need to become a cop too?
the short answer is no. becoming a csi does not mean that you have to become a police officer as well. however, your choice will have some impact on your job. firstly, police officers are paid at a higher level and are authorized to make arrests, whereas a csi will not have the same privileges.
if you are working as a civilian crime scene investigator, you may want to consider alternative options within the investigative field. primary among these is a career as a forensic science technician. this is an up and coming field expected to grow by 19% between 2010 and 2020, making it quite attractive in comparison to its competitors. you will be assigned more responsibility with processing the evidence gathered from crime scenes as opposed to investigating crime scenes themselves, but you will still be required to provide accurate testimony in court and compile a detailed report of all the scenes for which you are responsible.