A Crime Scene Investigator is a trained professional who works to collect evidence at the scene of a crime, process evidence, and then analyze it. If you have an eye for detail and you have always dreamed of making a difference within the field of criminal justice, you may want to learn more about what investigators do and how they get their titles. Years ago, CSI professionals were trained police officers who still had a badge, and while many still work in police stations, most CSI professionals are civilians who have an expertise in science rather than strictly law enforcement. Read on, and find out more about the role of CSI and decide if you are a good fit for real life positions and not those glamorized by TV shows.
What is the Role of Crime Scene Investigators?
Most Crime Scene Investigator professionals work more in the field than they do in the lab or in an office setting, according to Explore Health Careers. They will be dispatched to scenes when officers discover a crime so that they can properly collect anything that stands out. In addition to collecting evidence, CSI will secure the scene so that nothing pertinent is tampered with. After it is secure, they will take measurements, sketch the scene, take photos where evidence was found, bag evidence, label evidence, and document locations for prosecutors to use in the investigations.
Are You a Good Fit for the Position?
It is common for CSI to attend autopsies and photograph them so that the findings can be accurately displayed in court. Due to the nature of the job, it is not outrageous to say that you cannot be sensitive to graphic imagery to work in crime scene investigations. You will also work long shifts and are on-call day and night. Environments can be unsanitary and are not always safe. This is something to keep in mind as you are trying to decide if this is the route you want to go when you begin to start your professional future.
How to Become an Investigator
If this sounds like the type of work that will be fulfilling to you, you will need to complete advanced training to becoming a scientific professionals and expert. The first step will be to enroll in a four-year degree program majoring in an area of studies like forensics or criminal justice. When you study for your bachelor’s degree, you will focus on coursework in criminal psychology, ethics, investigations, research and law. You will also take courses in biology and communications to handle your duties as a middleman between law enforcement and prosecutors.
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Once you land a role as a CSI, you can later get certified by working for a few years and proving your skill. Earning your certification through the International Association for Identification will demonstrate to departments that you are knowledgeable and eligible for promotion to hold more responsibility. Before you will be granted your certification with the IAI, you must pass an exam that is given to all students. As long as you achieve a passing 75% score, you will have your crime scene certification and you may be eligible for higher-paying positions. Earning your master’s will then qualify you to go from crime scene investigator to supervisor within a lab.