Criminal Justice Articles

Crime Scene Investigator Career Path

Though crime scene investigation may look like an exciting and glamorous career; that same impression has made it a competitive field to get into. Those who want to pursue a career track in investigation should start preparing in advance, while in college and maybe even before. To get hired individuals should make sure they have meet requirements and ask the tough questions.

Decide between Civilian vs. Officer: Typically speaking crime scene investigators are members of the force, starting as police officers they work their way into investigative work. Increasingly however, civilians have been hired by police departments to do crime scene investigations. This allows a department to immediately get a position filled instead of waiting for a sworn police officer to complete in-house training. Though they may be doing the same work civilians often are given less pay and benefits and have no room for career advancement so think carefully before deciding on this arrangement.

Get Education

Crime scene investigation is a career that demands skilled workers and most positions require some type of additional education beyond high school. The job market is competitive and the more training an applicant has the more likely they are to succeed. Applicants, however, should also not assume that any degree will get them the job. A degree in criminal justice might be considered acceptable but a degree in forensic science is more desirable. Calling and asking local police departments may be the best way to ensure your degree is compatible with their needs. Advanced degree holders will find it easier to get hired outside their local area, specialize and get hired in areas requiring lab work.

Get an Internship

Not only does an internship in crime scene investigation look great on an applications resume; it shows they are serious about a career. Applicants should look for internship opportunities while still in college. To find an internship opportunity check with your school, look for internships online and speak to local police departments.

Find Job Opportunities

When seeking employment as a crime scene investigator, location often hampers the job search, however online job databases allow individuals to search any city by career or location. Specialized databases that only carry jobs in forensic sciences exist to quickly find an ideal position. Mostly state and federal agencies are looking to hire crime scene investigators and applicants should read all requirements and follow the directions listed to apply. Applicants with no experience should not waste their time applying for jobs that specify several years of previous experience are required. Applicants can also consider other jobs outside the police department, such as private consulting firms

Ace the Job Interview

Your responses at the job interview will help determine if you are a good fit for the department. Departments are looking for individuals who show the ability to work independently, passion for the field, technical knowledge, and the ability to work without supervision. Interviewers will gauge an applicant's ability to perform the expected job duties including working long shifts, being on call and realization that their chosen career is rarely glamorous.

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