Criminal Justice Articles

Job Expectations and Salaries for Crime Scene Investigators

Crime scene investigators, or CSI investigators, are some of the most well known and sought after positions in the criminal justice field. Part of this may be due to the popularity of criminal justice programs as a whole, but a great deal of it has to do with the recent success of the various CSI television shows on television. While the actual position of crime scene investigator is much different than the way that it is depicted and romanticized on television, it is a very interesting job and is only suited to a very particular type of candidate.

What Do Crime Scene Investigators Do?

Crime scene investigators oversee a variety of complicated crime scene investigations. These investigations can be related to anything from homicide to suicide, sexual assaults, robberies, home invasions, and other such crimes.

A great deal of the time of a crime scene investigator is spent in the field, applying forensic science to these crimes and collecting clues used to solve them. Crime scene investigators must also spend a great deal of time on the other side of things, including attending and taking photographs at autopsies, preparing and analyzing reports, and even attending court hearings and testifying at trials. Most importantly, crime scene investigators must stay abreast of changing technologies, and for this reason continuing education is of the utmost importance.

Required Education for a CSI Job

For those that are interested in being a real crime scene investigator, it is important to have the right education. Good training and experience are imperative to any successful crime scene investigator career.

Those who are interested in such a field can enroll in specialized training programs, but a formal education in criminal justice is best. Some schools have specialized programs designed especially for those who are looking to follow this field. Many departments have specific requirements as far as the types of classes that must be taken, including fingerprinting, death investigation, blood spatter interpretation, and photography.

These requirements are often measured in hours, but every employer has different expectations.

Salary Expectations as a Crime Scene Investigator

As it is with any other type of job, it is not realistic to expect to make the "big bucks" in your first few years as a crime scene investigator. As time goes on, more and more compensation can be expected for such a position, as it will require a great deal of not only time and effort, but education as well.

As a general rule, crime scene investigators can expect a salary of anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000 to start.

For those who want to be crime scene investigators, there is no time to start like the present. If you have a dream like this, the first step is to enroll in some type of college level criminal justice program, and obtain a degree. Then, talk to your local department about what their requirements are and see if they can point you in the right direction as far as training programs are concerned. It is a lot of work, but in the end it is a very rewarding career for many people.

Schools OfferingCrime Scene Technician Courses:

Matching School Ads
Kaplan University


  • BS in Criminal Justice - Crime Scene Investigation


100% Online & No Standardized Testing


  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Forensic Psychology


Anna Maria College is a private, not-for-profit, Catholic liberal arts institution accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Founded by the Sisters of Saint Anne in 1946, AMC's programs integrate liberal education and professional preparation that reflect the respect for liberal arts and sciences education grounded in the traditions of the Sisters of Saint Anne—educational innovation, service to others, and access to a quality education for all.


  • Master of Public Administration - Criminal Justice


Utica College, founded in 1946, is a comprehensive private institution located in upstate central New York.  The College offers regionally accredited online certificates, bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in healthcare, cybersecurity, financial crime, nursing, physical therapy, business, criminal justice, and data science.  All courses are taught by credentialed, highly experienced faculty with significant and ongoing accomplishments in their respective fields.


  • BS in Criminal Justice - Cyber Criminology and Policy


Regis is a regionally accredited, 130-year-old Jesuit university in Denver, Colorado. Inspired by the vision of St. Ignatius Loyola, we are dedicated to the pursuit of learning and truth in an effort to make positive change in our communities as well as ourselves.


  • Bachelor of Science in Criminology
  • Master of Science in Criminology
  • Master of Science in Criminology - Human Behavior Focus

Matching School Ads