Crime Scene Investigator

Crime scene investigators are responsible for many things at a crime scene. Not only are they accountable for the initial evaluation of the scene, but they are also responsible for adapting to their environment, knowing where evidence lies, securing the evidence and packaging it for later use in the crime lab. Other duties include writing up and organizing detailed reports on all activities and steps taken while at the crime scene. These reports are then handed over to the law enforcement agency in charge of the investigation. Occasionally, crime scene investigators are called into court to testify, either for the prosecution or defense. Their testimony is generally in regards to their findings and the processing methods that were used at the scene.

Crime scene investigators go to crime scenes that are indoors, outdoors, daytime, nighttime, underground, and high in the air, on mountain sides, in homes and even in workplaces. Most work 40-hour work weeks, Monday through Friday. However, many CSI’s work on standby duty, overtime and on weekends.

Crime Scene Investigator Education

If you’re interested in a career as a crime scene investigator, or CSI, you need to earn a minimum of an Associate’s degree or Bachelor’s degree in crime scene forensics, criminal justice, forensic science, or a related field. Some states require students to earn State licensure or specialized certification for their specific concentration. Unlike other professions, prospective crime scene investigators can choose to earn their degree either by taking on-campus or on-line courses. Students can even acquire internships and apprenticeships while enrolled in online degree programs.

Crime Scene Investigator Job Description

The following items are what crime scene investigators do daily:

  • Secure crime scenes and set boundaries
  • Collect and preserve material evidence found at the crime scene or scenes
  • Measure, record and analyze chemical substances, tissue samples, physical materials and ballistics evidence
  • Analyze crime lab findings and test results to classify evidence collects at crime scene
  • Communicate with experts in fingerprinting, ballistics, handwriting, electronics, documents, chemistry, medicine or metallurgy to interpret evidence
  • Reconstruct crime scenes
  • Prepare presentations and reports of findings
  • Testify as a witness in trials or hearings

To learn more about a career in this exciting part of the forensic science field, please click on the titles of the articles listed below.

Crime Scene Investigator Education – Learn what it takes to become a crime scene investigator through 2-year and 4-year programs offered by colleges nationwide and online.

Crime Scene Investigator Salary -  Crime scene investigators have the potential of making a good amount of money each year, as long as they work for the right agency, in the right city and have all the right credentials and experience. Find out what else influences a CSI’s salary. 

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