If you’re interested in cultivating a career within the criminal justice system, but you wish to avoid traditional law enforcement roles, then you may desire a career as a CSI professional, or a crime scene investigator. CSI careers are among the most flexible and critical in the realm of criminal justice. As a crime scene investigator, you’re called in after a crime has occurred to the investigate the scene of the crime with the primary goal of gathering physical evidence to help catch or convict a criminal. While this field requires specialized studies, the majority of positions require a degree in criminal justice with electives that involve CSI work.
Career Opportunities as a Crime Scene Investigator
Like many law enforcement career options, a career within the CSI realm can be specialized in specific roles. The following are the most common career opportunities a criminal justice student may pursue according to Criminal Justice Schools Today:
Crime Laboratory Analyst – This position conducts scientific and technical examinations with the goal of gathering data from a crime scene and documenting their findings. If you’re searching for a hands on career that utilizes the latest technologies to identify and study various forms of crime scene evidence, this is the ideal career for you. Other job duties involve conducting experiments, formulating theories based upon evidence and reporting these conclusions in writing for law enforcement officers. Generally, crime laboratory analysts are essential for defense or prosecution attorneys, and they’re often called in to witness for court proceedings.
Crime Scene Analyst – This profession works closely with law enforcement officers to not only process a crime scene, but to reconstruct the events that took place during the crime. Common job functions include the gathering evidence, preserving this evidence and evaluating its importance. Other duties include fingerprint collection and examination, photographing the crime scene and analyzing physical evidence, which include identifying and gathering human fluids and tissue samples. This is a highly detailed profession, thus an attention to detail and meticulous reporting skills is essential.
Forensic Scientist – This profession works remotely in a laboratory. These specialists perform a variety of tests on physical evidence to help clarify criminal cases. Typical job functions include identifying biological substances and other forms of physical evidence. Using the latest identification techniques, forensic scientists delve deeper into physical evidence to identify chemical compositions and other identifying markers of evidence. Sometimes, a forensic scientist must join law enforcement officers in the field to help reconstruct crime scenes or by preserving specific pieces of evidence, such as making plaster casts to preserve tire tracks or footprints.
Criminalist – This is among the most valuable role within the CSI team. These professionals generally analyze human tissue to determine the level of various substances; however, they are involved in investigating the smaller, more detailed physical evidence, such as analyzing handwriting, fingerprints and printing techniques help identify its original source. They also are called upon to identify and determine the use of weapons, such as analyzing gun residue and fired bullets. These professionals must be comfortable dealing with bodily fluids and analyzing these fluids for physiological evidence.