The success of solving a crime in many cases derives from the successful evaluation of the crime scene; efficient usage of various types of equipment; and skillful development, protection, and collection of physical evidence for the purposes of scientific evaluation and comparison. In short, it is the effective crime scene investigation that dominates criminal proceedings these days.
Overview of Degree Programs
Many universities and colleges are starting to offer degree programs in crime scene investigation. These include associate, bachelor, and master's degree programs. An associate's degree takes the least time to complete, but graduates often face limited prospects. More education and experience is required to move to advanced roles. To help with this, students may earn a bachelor's degree with a specialization in this discipline. This generally takes four years to complete. However, many universities offer students a chance to have more flexibility in their program duration if they enroll in an online degree program. This feasibility also allows working individuals to pursue their education and enhance their credentials.
Who Can Benefit From These Programs?
Most degree programs offering a concentration in crime scene investigation are designed for detectives, investigators, lawyers, medico-legal death investigators, special agents, and crime scene technicians. Students intending to become forensic pathologists could also benefit from enrolling in these programs. This field not only opens up exciting new opportunities, it also gives a real sense of accomplishment and develops your real-world knowledge. Individuals graduating with crime scene degrees may establish careers in public safety and security and law enforcement.
Courses in crime scene degrees are designed to include the theory and application of forensic sciences. Students are given training in techniques used to collect and interpret evidence. The following are some examples of courses offered in these programs:-
Elements of Forensic Science
Trace Evidence Analysis
Examination of Questioned Documents
Forensic Sciences Practicum
Investigation of Child Abuse
Science of Fingerprints
Photography in the Forensic Sciences
Students learn to perform various functions related to this field, starting from the application of scientific expertise in crime scene evidence identification and ending with the successful prosecution of the offender. This complex process requires them to proficiently assist officials of other justice departments in preparing criminal cases by providing sketches, reports, and photographs. Students also acquire comprehensive knowledge of federal and state statutes, as their future job responsibilities involve giving expert testimony in criminal court cases. They also gain hands-on training in latent fingerprint processing, photography, advanced death investigations, arson investigation, blood spatter interpretation, and forensic pathology.
The media-generated popularity of crime scene investigation has more than just provided entertainment. It has fostered a general interest in the field which is reflected in enhanced competition for jobs in this field. Applicants with a degree in this discipline may have better job prospects. Professionals associated with this field could possibly earn competitive wages. As reported by O*NET, the median annual wage of crime scene analysts was $52,840 in 2012. However, projected employment rate remains slow for related occupations because of technological advances in this field. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the employment of forensic science technicians is expected to grow at a much slower rate of 6% as compared with the average from 2012 to 2022.