Crime scene examiners are in charge of collecting, classifying, and analyzing physical evidence that is found at the site of criminal investigations. They are trained to perform tests in the field, take adequate photographs, and meticulously document the scene. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the following as some of the core duties for crime scene examiner jobs:
- Walk the crime scene to determine an appropriate collection method for evidence.
- Document the scene and all evidence through photographs and sketches.
- Compile written notes about findings in the field and other important observations.
- Transfer all evidence and notations to the crime lab.
In addition to working in the field, jobs in crime scene examination often require testimony in court cases as well, though this will typically only be those in higher level positions. Some crime scene analysts work in the lab, running tests on the evidence gathered in the field as well.
Job Growth for
Crime Scene Examiner
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Becoming a Crime Scene Examiner
To qualify for a crime scene examiner career candidates must meet requirements set by individual employers. Technicians who work in labs will usually need at least a bachelor's degree in forensic science or a related field of natural science. On-the-job training is also essential before examiners can work independently. In other cases, crime scene investigators are police officers who have completed academy training with a specialization in forensics.
Forensic science programs are offered through a number of colleges across the nation. These may include certificate, associate, bachelor's, or master's programs depending on the students' educational background or career goals. Here are a few examples of course topics you might see with this type of curriculum:
- Crime Scene Procedures
- Introduction to Forensic Science
- Crime Scene Photography
- Bloodstain Evidence
Students can also expect to take courses in law and criminal investigation. In most cases, graduates from this type of program will be hired on as apprentices and receive on-the-job instruction before they will be able to work independently. The amount of time this training takes can vary based on the specific position and employer. For example, training for firearms-analysis could take up to three years.