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There are two main elements that are involved with how to become a crime scene investigator. The first feature pertains to education, from college to the Police Academy, and the second is the experience needed through police work which will actually qualify one in how to become a crime scene investigator. These two qualifications will allow the aspiring crime scene investigator to secure employment as a professional who investigates crime scenes. This investigation can include just about everything inside a crime scene including: securing the crime scene, processing of evidence that needs to be analyzed by the crime lab in an effort to determine who was responsible for the crime.
Education for How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator
How to become a crime scene investigator starts with the education of the professional. The beginning aspect of this comes in the form of an associate’s degree. This degree can be completed in any study that pertains to the law, including criminal justice or forensic science. The associate’s degree lasts about two years where the student learns all of the basic fundamentals of the criminal justice system, including the specific laws and how to enforce the laws in a way that is acceptable throughout the law enforcement community. This program can be completed in an online format where the college utilizes the same curriculum and possibly even the same instructors as that of a campus-based university.
The online format has only one real difference, it is much more convenient to study your courses online than it is to actually attend a live classroom at a college campus. The bachelor’s degree basically picks up where the associate’s leaves off, providing additional information into the workings of the criminal justice system and forensics. In this program, the student can expect to learn more about how crimes are handled as well as how evidence is properly collected and processed, in addition to how to link the evidence to the suspect of a crime. The time spent on this degree will depend mainly on your prior education. For instance, if you have no prior college education, it could take up to four years to complete this program; however, if you already hold an associate’s degree, there are many online universities that offer a way for you to transfer all of the college credits earned throughout your associate’s degree reducing the time spent on your bachelor’s to two years. In addition, some online colleges will also offer accelerated programs to their top students which allow them to take additional online courses each term which result in early graduation from the program. Most aspiring crime scene investigators choose the option of the bachelor’s degree simply because it will provide more future opportunities for advancement as well as opportunities for entrance into a master’s program.
Once you graduate with your college degree in criminal justice, you will be eligible to apply for an entry-level, police officer position. When you get your first offer of employment, you will have even more education to receive before you actually get to be on the job. Once you get this offer, the department will send you to their own Police Academy where you will learn more about the physical aspects of the job as well as additional classroom training that will provide you with more information that will be specific to the laws in the area of your department. Once you have completed this paid, on-the-job training, you will begin working as a police officer in that department.
When you begin the actual police work that you were hired for, you will be gaining experience into the law enforcement field which coincides with the forensics and crime scene elements of the job. The last element in how to become a crime scene investigator involves the actual task of working in law enforcement. Throughout this experience, you will be given many tasks. For instance, one day you may be working the Traffic Department where you patrol the streets in a patrol car and cite those who are breaking the rules of the road. On the other hand, the next day you may be responding to various types of calls that involve crimes, such as burglaries, assaults, and even homicides. These are the days where your experience will pay off when you apply for a promotion to the crime scene investigator position. When you are the first responder to a crime, it is your responsibility to secure the scene of the crime until the crime scene investigators arrive as well as interview any witnesses who may know something about the crime that was committed. The more you show your potential in this element of the job, the more likely you will be considered for advancement when a crime scene investigator job opens up.
How to become a crime scene investigator takes hard work and dedication through both education and experience in the field. This education and experience will provide you with a solid foundation in the field of law, giving you knowledge and insight into how the system works and what the successful crime scene investigator needs to do. If this is the job of your dreams, check with the top, online universities today and begin your path to the exciting career you have always wanted.