What Does a CSI (Crime Scene Investigator) Do?

With a television series dedicated to crime scene investigation, it is not a surprise that more and more people are interested in pursuing a career in the field. While some television shows are accurate in their depiction of the field, you should take the time to learn what you do and do not do as a crime scene investigator before you take the time to earn your degree. While the field is a very fulfilling one, it takes the right kind of candidate to work as a crime scene investigator. Read on and find out what CSI team members do, and whether or not you are a good candidate for the field.

The Roles of a Crime Scene Investigator

CSI personnel work for state and federal agencies and go by several different names. From evidence technician to forensic investigator, each criminalistic professional works as a CSI and plays a part in the process of investigating a crime. While many crime scene investigators were trained police officers in the past, the trend has shifted to hiring civilians for the position who are trained to have a scientific eye when analyzing evidence. Everyday in the life of a CSI is different, but many of the roles that CSI team members do on a daily basis are the same across the board.

As a CSI, you typically work in the field collecting evidence from the scene of a crime. While working in the field is a must, you will also work at the crime lab and testify in court when a suspect is apprehended and charged with a crime. While this list may not include absolutely everything a CSI does, here are a majority of the roles you could possibly do on any given day if you enter the field:

  •  Secure a crime scene
  •  Once the scene is secure, take measurements
  •  Sketch detailed diagrams and take pictures of the entire scene
  •  Document all of the evidence that is collected
  •  Label all evidence and package it properly for preservation
  •  Attend autopsies, take photos, and take notes
  •  Write detailed reports on evidence and conclusions based on evidence
  •  Communicate with prosecutors and testify in court when an arrest is made
  •  Maintain the lab equipment

Are You A Good Candidate for this Rewarding Career?

There is no denying the fact that being a CSI is a challenging career choice. Not only will you work long hours, you will also work in messy, smelly, and sometimes gory environments. You must be able to stand for long hours, deal with blood, and look at everything scientifically without letting emotions cloud your judgement. The best CSI is careful, observant, analytical, methodical, dedicated, and willing to work day and night to solve a case.

Whether you are starting as a police officer or pursuing a bachelor’s degree to enter the field, being a CSI can be exciting and rewarding. With the field projected to grow by 19% by 2020, there will be more and more local, state, and federal agencies looking for assets to join their ranks. Think about the roles, decide if this is the right route for you, and compare all of the degree programs available from accredited schools if you are ready to become a real life CSI investigating real life crimes that have been committed.