Wildly successful shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000 TV Series) and a CSI: NY (2004 TV Series) have glamormized criminal investigation and forensic work, but what is shown on TV is sometimes far removed from reality. One this is certain however, crime scene investigation is one of most exciting, cutting-edge criminal justice careers. Crime scene investigators and forensic technicians are puzzle solvers–crime puzzle solvers. They must take trace evidence and limited information and reconstruct how crimes occur. Specifically, they:
- Secure a crime scene to ensure evidence isn’t contaminated
- Collect, analyze and classify evidence left at the crime scene
- Store evidence and properly preserve it for use in court
- Document all their finds
- Develop theories based on evidence and analysis as to how a crime occurred
- Prepare detailed, yet easy to understand, reports outlining their analysis
- Provide expert testimony to juries and prosecutors
Many CSI professional are specialists–focusing in ballistics, fingerprinting, handwriting, DNA analysis, etc. Crime scene investigators and forensic technicians can earning anywhere from $48,000 to $80,000 a year depending on experience and education.
Job Outlook and Opportunities for Crime Scene Investigators
According to a recent report provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for qualified crime scene investigators and forensic science technicians will grow by more than 30% over the next decade–which represents approximately 4,000 new crime scene investors nationwide. The same report indicates that professionals with work experience and a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study will have the best employment opportunities. While a certificate or associate’s degree will qualify students for entry-level positions, a bachelor’s degree is recommended. Many employers are now seeking professionals with a master’s degree and/or Ph.D. in forensic science or related discipline.
Education and Training
Given the growing demand for qualified CSI and forensic professionals, more and more colleges now offer professional certificates, associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees and even master’s degrees in crime scene investigation and/or forensic science. Courses students might expect to take in one of these programs include biology, criminology, toxicology, clinical lab science, finger printing and ballistics, among others. Most certificate programs take one year to complete. An associate’s degree can be completed in two years. A bachelor’s degree will require four-year of full-time study. While a master’s degree isn’t necessary for entry-level positions, its highly useful if you want to seek supervisory and administration positions. Earning a master’s degree will also increase your earning potential–especially if you end up working for the federal government.
Below you’ll find a national database of colleges and universities offering online and campus-based degrees, certificates and programs in crime scene investigations and forensics.
Crime Scene Investgation Degrees and Certificates
|Southern New Hampshire University You have goals. Southern New Hampshire University can help you get there. Whether you need a bachelor's degree to get into a career or want a master's degree to move up in your current career, SNHU has an online program for you. Find your degree from over 200 online programs. Learn More >|
|Grand Canyon University (GCU) With a spotlight on intellectual creativity and innovation for the 21stcentury, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at GCU provides a job focused education. It blends the study of traditional humanities in a modern context. Through academic inquiry and beyond the box thinking, the college advances our society and its accomplishments. Learn More >|
|Kaplan University Kaplan University's campus locations provide the facilities, faculty, staff and career programs to help you achieve your personal goals. You can learn from professionals specializing in identifying career opportunities and preparing students for a brighter future. Learn More >|
|Northcentral University Northcentral University (NCU) was founded to provide accessible, high-quality, online graduate degrees to working professionals. As a regionally accredited, online university, NCU serves students worldwide, focusing on Doctoral and Master's degree programs in the Schools of Business and Technology Management, Education, Psychology, and Marriage and Family Sciences. Learn More >|
|Colorado Technical University (CTU) CTU could help you connect to what matters most: a powerful professional community, faculty who are real-world professionals, and innovative technology. Learn More >|