Get your crime scene investigation degree
With recent television programs bringing the crime scene investigation industry into the spotlight, it's no surprise that more and more people want a career as a crime scene investigator (CSI). But while it looks glamorous on TV, becoming a CSI is hard work. It takes discipline, attention to detail and a drive to stay on top of new and current technologies and practices.
Crime Scene Investigator Responsibilities
Crime scene investigators are responsible for a number of aspects of evidence collection and crime scene processing, all of which require both the use of sophisticated technological equipment and old-fashioned manual labor. Among their responsibilities are:
- Blood pattern analysis
- Ballistics analysis
- Fingerprint identification
- Latent processing
- Crime scene photography
- Evidence recovery and transportation
CSIs also have many administrative duties, such as report writing and filing, and providing courtroom testimony. They also spend much of their time reading legal documentation and painstakingly adhering to evidence-chain regulations by properly documenting and accounting for evidence.
Becoming a Crime Scene Investigator
There are different types of crime scene programs at CSI school, and the decision really comes down to how long you want to spend in school and the particular aspects of the career that interest you. Program offerings include:
- Crime scene management/technology certificate programs. These programs are generally one-year programs that prepare students to become crime scene technicians or analysts. Students learn to identify, process and preserve crime scenes, and about their role in the justice system.
- Crime scene investigation degree programs. CSI degree programs offer many of the same fundamentals as diploma or certificate programs, but build on them with further training in the many areas of forensics. Students will be prepared for careers in crime scene photography, crime lab work, investigation, finger print examiners and more.
If you think you might prefer a career that combines aspects of CSI work with health care work, then you might also check out forensic nursing programs.
Whichever type of CSI program you choose, you have the option to study at a CSI school or online. An online CSI degree or diploma is equal to that earned through a traditional program, but you will have more flexibility in the time you take to complete your program and where and when you do your coursework. Many people who already have a medical or scientific educational background – chemistry or biology degrees, for example – and are considering a career change often find the online option to be a good fit.