Crime scene investigation (CSI) is a secondary field within criminal justice. Crime scene investigation, or crime scene technology, focuses on the practice and technique of identifying, collecting, documenting, and analyzing physical evidence from the scene of a crime. Crime scene investigators are trained to identify physical evidence and collect it while also preserving its physical integrity. Some investigators are trained to further analyze and interpret the evidence in order to identify possible suspects or even determine guilt in the case of a crime. An online bachelor’s degree in crime scene investigation addresses evidence collection and analysis techniques.
Why a Bachelors Degree?
A bachelor’s degree in crime scene investigation gives you the most mobility in this particular field. An associate degree is adequate for most entry-level and field positions. However, a bachelor’s degree is required for laboratory technician positions in forensic science. And, many law enforcement agencies will require a bachelor’s degree to be a candidate for any management or supervisory position. Online bachelor’s degree programs in crime scene investigation takes longer to complete and can be more demanding than an associate degree. However, it is the way to go if you want a long-term career with maximum growth potential.
Getting Into a Bachelors Degree Program
Admissions requirements for crime scene investigation bachelor’s programs are similar to those for other disciplines. You will need to following items to be eligible for most online crime scene investigation bachelor’s programs:
- High school diploma or its equivalent
- Passing SAT or ACT scores
Inside a Crime Scene Investigation Bachelors Degree Program
It may be difficult to locate an online bachelor’s degree in crime scene investigation. However, online degrees in criminal justice with a specialization in crime scene investigation are more common. These programs will incorporate criminal justice courses as well as classes that focus on evidence collection and documentation. CSI coursework might include crime scene photography, blood pattern analysis, ballistics and analysis, and courtroom testimony. You might also take classes in chemistry and biology, as well as general criminal justices classes in criminology, criminal law, program administration, treatment in corrections ,and more. Some programs will recommend an internship with a law enforcement agency and on-campus science classes where you can develop your lab skills.
Bachelor’s degree programs usually require 120 hours of coursework, which can take at least four years of full-time study to complete. If you have already completed some college coursework or you enroll in an accelerated program, you may be able to finish in less time. Lecture-based classes will be delivered in video-format in the case of an online degree program and these may be available at any time (asynchronously) or at a scheduled time (synchronously). If you need flexibility in your class schedule, you should look for online programs that offer flexibility class schedules and self-pacing.
What’s Next for Crime Scene Investigation Bachelors Holders?
College graduates with bachelor’s degrees in crime scene investigation often go on to become forensic science technologists. Forensic science technologists usually work in investigation or in the lab analyzing evidence. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, forensic science technologists need a bachelor’s degree to qualify for laboratory positions in most cases. However, many lab technologists start out working in the field as a crime scene investigator or evidence technologist. The BLS also states that job growth in forensic science technology is growing at average pace of 19% before 2020. Forensic science technologists earn an average salary of approximately $57,945. However, wages will be affected by the candidate’s experience, qualifications, rank, and geographic location.