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What Does A Crime Scene Investigator Do?

What does a crime scene investigator do
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Learn About Being a Crime Scene Investigator

Crime scene investigation is a fascinating job that can be very rewarding. It’s also one of the most important jobs in any police department, because it helps solve crimes by collecting evidence and matching it to suspects. But what does it take to become a crime scene investigator? What skills do you need? How much money can you expect to make? What’s the work environment like? In this guide we’ll answer all those questions and more!

Average salary

The average salary for a crime scene investigator is $46,000 per year. Crime scene investigators can earn more or less based on their experience, location and industry.

Salaries for crime scene investigators range from $33,000 to $69,000 per year.

The average salary for a crime scene investigator who has under two years’ experience is $37,000 per year; the average salary for someone with two to four years’ experience is $42,000; the average salary for someone with five to nine years’ experience is $49,000; the average salary of someone with 10 to 14 years’ experience is $57,000; and finally the average salary of someone with 15+ years’ experience is $62-69K/year.

Crime Scene Investigators working in different states have varying salaries: In California they make an average annual wage of roughly 50K/yr whereas in New York it’s closer to 60K/yr (or more). For example: A CSI Investigator in Washington DC earns around 42K/year on average while one in Nevada can expect upwards towards 72K annually!

Crime scene investigator requirements

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What does a crime scene investigator do

What does a crime scene investigator do

The requirements to become a crime scene investigator vary by state, but there are some universal requirements that you’ll need to meet. You must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a green card
  • Have a high school diploma or GED (general education diploma)
  • Complete at least two years of experience in any field related to law enforcement or criminal justice before applying for this position


You’ll need to be able to work in a fast-paced environment. You’ll be on the scene of a crime and you’ll have to keep your cool. You may also be asked to give directions, so knowing how to read maps and giving directions will come in handy here. It’s important that you can work with other people because you’re going to be part of a team, so it’s necessary that you know how to interact well with others. When working with the team at the crime scene, it is important that everyone does their job properly so everyone can contribute their expertise toward solving crimes successfully.

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Crime scene investigator work environment

The work environment for a crime scene investigator can vary greatly, depending on the job and the specific jurisdiction. They might be asked to work in an office setting, or they could spend their whole day outdoors. In some cases, crime scene investigators may even be required to travel abroad.

Regardless of what the environment is like where you live, it’s safe to say that crime scene investigators must be prepared for all kinds of weather conditions and face a variety of situations throughout their daily routine.

Crime scene investigators respond to crime scenes and collect evidence from them.

In a crime scene investigator’s day-to-day, you’ll:

  • Respond to crime scenes.
  • Collect evidence from them.
  • Document the scene.
  • Document the evidence.
  • Identify the evidence and its importance to a case, if applicable (for example, fingerprinting).
  • Collect it and package it for storage or transport in an official way that protects its integrity as evidence (for example by photographing it).

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They can either work for the local, state or federal government or for private companies.

If you’re interested in this career, you’ll probably want to look into what kind of education is required and whether or not there are any openings. While most government agencies only require a bachelor’s degree for employment, private companies tend to be more lenient about their hiring practices. They may also offer better pay and benefits than the government does.

Another thing to consider is that private companies have less job security than their state or federal counterparts; however, they can also offer more diverse work environments with challenging cases and interesting opportunities for advancement over time.

It takes a lot of education to be a crime scene investigator.

To become a crime scene investigator, you need to have at least a bachelor’s degree. This requires about four or five years of study, including classes in biology, chemistry, and physics. Some colleges also offer certificate programs in forensic science that are shorter than an undergraduate degree program but still provide the skills needed to work in this field.

Most crime scene investigation programs are accredited by the International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts (IABPA) and require students to complete 40 hours of training each year before they can graduate with their degree. Most programs also require students to take courses outside their major that teach them how to use different types of equipment used by CSIs when investigating crimes scenes—such as fingerprinting kits and DNA testing equipment—and give them experience working in labs where these tools are commonly used for scientific testing purposes so that they know what it takes for each type of job before graduating from school or gaining employment as part-time trainees at local police departments throughout America where they’re allowed opportunities for full-time positions once somebody retires from those jobs due.

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The job can be stressful and dangerous.

The job can be stressful and dangerous.

Crime scene investigators are exposed to blood, chemicals and other hazardous materials, so they need to be able to work in a variety of conditions. They may also have to work under pressure on tight deadlines or in situations that can cause stress. Crime scene investigators may be exposed to violence as well as emotional stress from dealing with victims’ families or perpetrators who are being arrested for the crimes they’ve committed. The hours are long: an average day starts at 7 a.m., but most days run 12-14 hours due to unexpected circumstances like discovering important evidence late into the night at a crime scene investigation (CSI).

You may have to go back to school on a regular basis.

The good news is that becoming a crime scene investigator doesn’t require a college degree, but you will need to complete some training and education. You can find schools that offer degrees in Criminal Justice or Forensic Science, but these programs aren’t required to get started in this field.

Training is required before you start working as a CSI. Most employers require their workers to have at least six months of on-the-job training before they’re allowed to work alone, so don’t expect to jump right into solving cases without any guidance whatsoever! You may also need certification from your state’s licensing board or certification agency. This means taking tests and getting certified through the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME).

You might have to testify at trials if you are a crime scene investigator in law enforcement.

You’ll be asked to testify in court, or at a grand jury, if you’re a crime scene investigator. If the case goes to trial and your work is being used as evidence against someone, you will have to appear on the stand and tell the jury what happened during your investigation.

You might be called upon by opposing parties as well—for example, if a defense attorney thinks that your findings could support his or her client’s argument for innocence (or guilt). The defendant’s lawyer may question you about anything from how long it took for bloodstains to dry (and whether those stains were made hours after death rather than at the time of death) to what type of lighting was used during your examination of evidence (and whether that lighting could have influenced results).

Crime scene investigators need a lot of education and technical knowledge, but they’re helping solve crimes and bringing criminals to justice.

A crime scene investigator needs to be well-educated and have a lot of technical knowledge. They’re also responsible for solving crimes and bringing criminals to justice. If you’re interested in working as a crime scene investigator, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or forensic science. Many employers prefer applicants who have completed some graduate work, or even an advanced degree.

For example, the International Association for Identification has created an accredited program for those looking to become criminal investigators. This program includes courses in anthropology and archaeology as related to forensics; biological chemistry; biology; botany; chemistry; computer science; DNA profiles analysis; ecology & plant science (including evidence identification); entomology (insects); fire investigation (the use of accelerants); fingerprinting techniques & procedures/print examination techniques & procedures/DNA profiling techniques & procedures/Document examination techniques & procedures/Biology/Medical examiner’s office practice lab coursework*


We hope this article has helped you understand what a crime scene investigator does and why it’s such an important job. If you’re interested in becoming one, we encourage you to do some research on your own or speak with someone who works in the field. As mentioned previously, there are many different types of crime scenes that require different skillsets so make sure that whatever career path interests you most aligns with those requirements before starting down it!



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