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What is a Crime Scene Investigator (CSI)?
A crime scene investigator (or crime scene technician) supports the work of law enforcement agencies by securing and analyzing criminal evidence. After a crime scene is secured, a crime scene investigator moves in to collect physical evidence like impressions (such as fingerprints or tool marks), biological samples, firearms-related evidence, and trace chemicals. Other duties may include taking photographs and sketches of the crime scene, as well as gathering testimonial evidence from witnesses.
Some crime scene investigators also work in laboratories as forensic science technicians, using laboratory techniques and equipment to analyze the evidence they collect. Some forensic science technicians specialize in different fields, like chemistry, biology, ballistics, or computer-related forensics. In general, crime scene investigator jobs represent a wide range of responsibilities and requirements, so exact job requirements will vary depending on the agency and the position itself.
How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator
If you are considering becoming a crime scene investigator, it may be a good idea to first explore what appeals you the most about the field. For example, maybe you have a talent for photography or a special interest in forensic anthropology? Discovering your interests early on will help you decide what to study and how to train.
Following these basic steps can help you plot your own course towards becoming a crime scene investigator:
Step 1: Earn an undergraduate degree
Step 2: Complete police academy training (if required)
Step 3: Gain on-the-job experience
Step 4: Become certified