Crime scene investigation, or crime scene technology, is the practice of locating, collecting, and interpreting physical evidence of a crime or incident. In an associate degree program in crime scene investigation, students learn proper technique and procedures for collecting, preserving, and documenting physical evidence for later analysis. This degree prepares you to work onsite, where you will work with police, medical examiners, and other law enforcement to find and collect evidence. It is a professional degree that leads to a hands-on career in this field.
Why an Associate Degree?
An online associate degree in crime scene investigation is a good choice if you have limited time and funds to invest in a degree program. Associate degrees require fewer credit hours than bachelor’s degrees, which also makes them less costly. Also, an associate degree meets the educational requirement for crime scene investigation positions with many employers, although job requirements can vary for this field. It is recommended that you confirm the job requirements for these positions in your area before choosing a degree level.
Getting Into an Associate Degree Program
Associate degree programs often come with minimal admissions requirements. The application process should be fairly simple, although requirements can vary. Most programs will require at least the following items:
- High school diploma or its equivalent
Inside a Crime Scene Investigation Associate Degree Program
An associate crime scene investigation curriculum will include course in criminal justice, evidence collection techniques, and general education classes. Courses in criminology, criminal psychology, and criminal law will be compliment classes in crime scene photography, forensic science, crime scene technology, fingerprint classification, and much more. You will also take some general education and academic classes in writing composition, communication, government, humanities, and further general electives. Most classes will be lecture-based, which will often be available in video format in an online program. Some online programs will require an internship where you will learn hands-on evidence collection procedures.
Most online associate degree programs in crime scene investigation take two years to complete and require approximately 60 hours of course credit. If you enroll on a part time basis, it may take longer to complete the program, especially if the program allows for self-pacing. However, this can be advantage if you need to continue working while you work toward our degree. In an online program, you can expect to interact with your classmates and instructors through email and online message board, as well as submit any essays, projects, or assignments via email.
What’s Next for Crime Scene Investigation Associate Holders?
After completing an associate degree, many graduates go on to work as crime scene investigators or evidence technicians. They often work for law enforcement agencies, law firms, insurance companies, or medical examiner’s offices. In many entry-level positions in this field, you will work at the scene of the crime collecting, documenting, and analyzing physical evidence. You may also be responsible for transporting the physical evidence back to a laboratory, where it will be evaluated for further interpretation about the crime’s events.
You also have the option to continue your education with a bachelor’s degree in crime scene investigation or crime scene technology. With a bachelor’s degree, you may have better job prospects and more opportunities for growth in the crime scene investigation field. For example, many crime investigation jobs require only an associate degree or some college course work. However, you will need a bachelor’s degree in order to work in a laboratory as a forensic science technician.