Crime Scene Investigator

Through a case’s lifetime, crime scene investigators (forensic science technicians) assist criminal investigations by collecting and analyzing evidence from the crime scene. These investigators specialize in being on the ground at the scene or in processing the in the laboratory. The demand for crime scene investigators will grow much faster than the national average as scientific and technological advances continue to emerge. Professionals in this field find careers in the public sectors of federal, state, and local law enforcement. There are also attorneys and insurance companies involved with legal cases that will invest in a Crime Scene Investigator.

At the Crime Scene:

  • Analyze scene to test relevant evidence
  • Document all evidence found by taking photographs at the scene
  • Keep detailed notes of specifics like position and location of evidence found
  • Collect and catalogue evidence found
  • Testify in civil and criminal legal proceedings

In the Lab:

  • Execute and check scientific analysis of evidence found at crime scene--e.g. DNA testing
  • Analyze digital media to explore possible links
  • Reconstruct the crime scene
  • Coordinate with other specialists like toxicology experts to assess evidence

As of 2016, average medium salary for crime scene investigators was $56,750*

Career Outlook Infographic Career Outlook Infographic

Experts predict that the employment of crime scene investigators to grow 24%, much faster than the national average*

Popular television shows and podcasts about C.S.I.'s have increased popularity in the field of forensic science. This dynamic has made competition to enter the forensic field more robust. The job market for crime scene investigators continues to expand to meet this demand. According the International Crime Scene Investigators Association (ICSIA), there are now over 450 police departments that employ full-time forensic investigators. Prospective candidates can also choose to work for a private entity with fewer guarantees for full-time employment.

Crime scene investigators entering the work force are hired with as little as a high-school diploma and time served on a police force. Candidates with more education are more desirable because for long-term employment because of the recent surge in prospective employees.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, on the Internet at 10/11/17)