Crime Scene Investigator career options

Criminal Justice Articles

Crime Scene Investigator career options

Before becoming a crime scene investigator individuals should realize that solving a real crime is a lot different from what happens during an hour of detective drama on TV. Solving a crime is dirty business and investigators put in a lot of work to find the answers. For those who find themselves fainting at the sight of blood, crime scene investigation is not an ideal career path. Crime scene investigators are often called to use their skills when solving robberies, sexual assaults and homicides.

Though the word crime scene investigator is tossed around a lot, the term applies to several different career paths. In fact, a more accurate term for the industry is forensic science technician. Generally, the job duties of a forensic science technician are to collect evidence at a crime scene. This would include identifying evidence, ensuring the crime scene does not become contaminated, bagging evidence, and performing test on fibers. There are however, other areas of specialization those interested might want to pursue, including:

Forensic Photographers

Sometimes referred to as forensic imaging, the work of a forensic photographer is invaluable at the crime scene. Photographers are required to have a strong technical background in understanding how to operate cameras as well as the ability to produce clear quality images of what occurs. Photographers often have to take pictures in black and white, use scales for dimensional comparison, take pictures at different angles of evidence for bodies, and even car accidents. Investigators must do all of this without disturbing the crime scene and making sure to meet legal requirements so their photos will stand up in court.

Fingerprint Specialist

Identifying the perpetrators of a crime often depends on the ability to accurately analyze latent prints. In fact, fingerprints are by far the most common piece of evidence used to gain information about a crime and has lead to more solved cases then any other method. As a fingerprint specialist, individuals are often called upon to lift fingerprints from a crime scene, take fingerprints from a suspect, and identify fingerprints on objects such as a bullet connected to a crime. Fingerprint Specialists use lab equipment and computer databases to find matches to known individuals and testify in court cases.

This is only a small sample of some of the major areas of crime scene investigation. Other options include crime lab supervisors who oversee the analysis of data gathered at the crime scene, as well as firearms examiners who are responsible for identifying information on guns and other weapons used at a crime scene. Different specializations require different education requirements, those interested should begin to map out their interest in college to make sure once graduated they have the necessary skills to find employment. For example, a popular area of specialization is the focus of medical examiner; these are individuals who conduct autopsies to find the cause of death. Unlike some other career paths in crime scene investigation a PhD is required.

Schools OfferingCrime Scene Technician Courses: