It used to be that the field of crime scene investigation was made up of former police officers and private investigators, but the popularity of the numerous CSI TV shows has made it an appealing career choice for a new generation of regular folks. The main problem may be that the shows tend to glamorize the position somewhat, and those who have a genuine interest in following that career path should really look at what’s involved on a daily basis, before deciding to move forward. There are a ton of websites and books devoted to the career, whose job description can vary depending on where you work after you graduate.
Once you have done your homework and decided that a CSI career is what you would like to pursue, you are going to have to enroll in a fully accredited college that offers a 4 year degree program in Criminal Justice or a Physical Science. You should try to get into a course that focuses strongly on forensic science and psychology, as well as crime analysis as well as crime scene investigation. It’s also a great idea to have a strong background in the sciences, such as chemistry and physics, as this is sure to play a major part in the duties that you will perform as a crime scene investigator.
During your four year education you can really help get your career started by looking for an internship at a local police station. This will give you a fantastic insight into the procedures that take place at an average crime scene. You will get an up close look at how those in your chosen profession conduct themselves in a real world situation, and exactly how they go about the painstaking process of collecting evidence from the scene. It’s also a good way to prepare yourself for some of the more unsavory sights that you might be subjected to in your line of work. It won’t be all looking for fingerprints and threads, and some of those scenes may me more than just a little unpleasant to be around.
When you have graduated from school, the next step is to find a job in the field. The mistake that many people make is to restrict themselves to the police department, when there are in fact multiple career opportunities available that aren’t strictly tied to the local police station. Many private consulting firms use the service of crime scene investigators, and it’s always a good idea to look at government agencies like the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Once you have been employed you can expect to earn a salary in the $38,000 to $72,000 range, which will of course depend on where you work, and the amount of experience that you bring to the position. The day to day life of a crime scene investigator may not be as glamorous or exciting as the TV folks in Miami and Vegas, but it’s still a rewarding career where you can make a real difference in the lives of others.
Other Crime Scene Investigator Resources:
- Become a CSI – Good resource for becoming a crime scene investigator with lots of links to universities and colleges.
- Crime Scene Investigator Interview