Crime scene investigators are a key part of a law enforcement process. They work to help solve crimes by collecting, identifying and analyzing evidence from crime scenes. Evidence collected may entail fingerprints, hair and fibers, trace material, footprints and biological evidence from the scene or victim. Once any and all evidence has been collected the crime scene investigator can then begin to write their official reports which will include detailed measurements from the crime scene as well as photographs, sketches of the scene, etc. Crime scene investigators may be called upon to testify in court in regards to a crime scene. It is important for students who are interested in becoming a crime scene investigator to realize that this career choice calls for analytically minded students who are attentive to detail, and tends to be an on the call job. While these are important things to consider, most CSI’s find that helping solve crimes by using physical evidence from their findings is incredibly rewarding.
Students interesting in becoming crime scene investigators usually come from a variety of educational backgrounds, including general studies and criminal justice, although further forensic training may be necessary. There are also certificate or 2-year degree programs that can be obtained for crime scene investigation studies exclusively. A degree in science, such as biology or chemistry, can come in handy and be beneficial.
The median annual wage for crime scene investigators (referred to as forensic science technicians) as of May 2012 was $52,840, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to BLS data, employment among forensic science technicians is expected to grow about 6% from 2012-2022.