What Does a CSI Do? Crime scene investigators, also known by the title of forensic science technicians, play an integral role in solving crimes of varying nature. To get your job done properly, you will:
- Take a look at the crime scene to determine what you’re going to need and how you’re going to collect it.
- Photograph important things at the crime scene.
- Either make sketches or have someone else make sketches of the crime scene.
- Keep a detailed log of your findings, evidence, and other important information.
- Collect all the evidence, store it properly, and transport it to your lab.
When you’re working in a lab, your tasks will be different. You will:
- Perform a variety of analyses on your crime scene samples.
- Use DNA or other types of samples in order to find a link between the suspect and the crime.
- Bring in the big gun experts in the fields of toxicology, odontology (they study teeth), or others when you need help.
You’ll work with the government, be it local, state, or federal, and testing,medical or diagnostic labs.
How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator
An excellent crime scene investigator has some qualities that are important. They are first rate when it comes to critical thinking and problem solving, those will come into play throughout the entirety of your career.
You should also be a pretty spectacular communicator, pay hyper focused attention to detail, and hold your own in math and science. If you’re thinking about becoming a CSI, you’ll:
- Get your high school diploma.
- Enroll in a bachelor’s science program within the science realm: chemistry, biology, forensic science.
- You can also choose a specialization in forensic science such as DNA, toxicology, or pathology.
- Many forensic science based majors go on to get their master’s degree, so it’s definitely something to consider.
- Some law enforcement agencies want their crime scene investigators to be sworn in as officers which means you may need to attend police academy.
- Get on-the-job training, and other types of work experience that’s available to you.
- There are many license and certifications that are available, you should seriously consider doing this once you’re qualified through appropriate work experience.
What Is a Crime Scene Investigator’s Salary?
Your job will probably be staggered along with your CSI partner. Hours will run more than 40, and they could run the potential of being irregular. Somebody always needs to be available because crime never sleeps. The median annual wage for crime scene investigators is $56K. This means half make more and half make less. The industries where the salaries are the highest are the federal government ($107K), testing labs ($60K), and hospitals ($57K). States that pay the most are California, Nevada, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Virginia.
Are There Jobs for CSIs?
You’ll be pleased to note that the employment growth is projected to be 17 percent through 2026. However, despite that is much faster than the average of other occupations, only 2,600 positions are actually anticipated to be opening. If you have a master’s degree, you’ll have a much better chance of getting one of these elusive jobs. California, Florida, Texas, Arizona, and New York will have the most available jobs.