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A crime scene investigator is responsible for many aspects of a crime scene. These positions are often not as glamorous as television programs make them out to be. If you are a technical person with a keen interest in seeking justice for victims, this may be the career for you.
It is important to note, a crime scene investigator will investigate all crimes rather than simply investigating homicides. If you choose this career path, you will have many roles and responsibilities pertaining to various crime scenes from crimes such as sexual assault, armed robbery, and home invasion. You do not get to choose the crimes you investigate; they choose you.
As previously mentioned, this job is not nearly as exciting and sexy as television has made it out to be. This job is, however, a very crucial element to solving crimes. From a crime-fighting perspective, these careers are incredibly honorable. Much of your time will be spent performing methodical tasks such as processing evidence, observing and photographing autopsies, or meeting with various police agencies. You will work a normal eight-hour shift; however, you will also be required to be on-call at various times throughout the month. In addition to these hours, you will be responsible to respond to emergencies at all times throughout the course of your career. This means if you are at a wedding, on a date, at a kid’s recital, or in the middle of buying a car, you will be required to stop what you are doing and immediately proceed to the crime scene.
A few of the desirable attributes not typically mentioned in this job’s description are the facts you should be physically fit and be licensed to carry a firearm. Crime scene investigators often require heavy lifting and spend long hours on their feet or in uncomfortable positions. If you are not physically fit, you will not be an ideal candidate for most employers. You will also be required to carry a gun. If you are uncomfortable with this aspect, you might consider another area of forensics. It is imperative you protect yourself while at a crime scene. The criminal may return to the scene of the crime without realizing you are there thus creating a very dangerous situation. They may realize you are there and try to take advantage of your vulnerability while concentrating on the crime scene. They are likely to be unaware you are armed. You must be concerned for your own safety as criminals will view you as any other police officer which might lead you to being a target in the eyes of some criminals.
People who become crime scene investigators should possess certain attributes and skills to be seen as a desirable job applicant. You must be a person who is extremely detail oriented. You must be able to see things other people do not. Your heightened awareness to details may be the attribute which solves the crime. You may spend countless hours carefully inspecting every inch of a crime scene for a piece of hair or fingerprint in unlikely areas. You must be able to think outside of the box to be able to find potential evidence. You must also be able to communicate well. You will, most likely, be required to testify in a court of law relatively frequently. You should be able to effectively communicate your findings to a non-scientific person on a jury. If you are interested in this profession, you should be scientific minded and aware of basic criminal justice procedures. You will be required to process and analyze a significant amount of evidence. Most of these processes and procedures are highly sophisticated and scientific. You will also be required to complete a number of science courses during your educational training.
As a crime scene investigator, you will be required to complete a bachelor’s degree in science-based degree programs. You might consider completing a degree in biology, chemistry, forensic science, or crime scene investigation. A crime scene investigation degree is relatively new, and only the best, online schools and bricks-and-mortar schools offer such a specialized degree. You might consider finding a job as a crime scene technician while you complete online college courses to begin meeting some of your work experience requirements. You will be required to complete a number of highly specific trainings. You must spend hundreds of hours processing in various crime scene areas fingerprint processing, photography, and blood splatter interpretation. Your education will prepare you for these assignments. If you are interested in becoming a criminalist, you might consider completing a master’s degree in forensics of some sort. If you are seeking career advancement in the future, you should complete a master’s degree.
A crime scene investigator is an essential member of all crime solving teams. If you choose this path, you will be required to have some advanced education. It is recommended you complete a master’s degree. If you are passionate about science and the law, this is the career for you.