How to Become a Forensic Scientist and Crime Scene Investigator in CA

To get more detailed information about crime scene investigator (CSI) or forensic science specialist containing occupational demand, forensic training program, forensic academy or forensic school, required Skills and Admission requirements for courses and even employment, different degrees, and work environment, read the article below.

Those who are eager to find a job position in criminal justice and examine the physical evidence in the crime scene must have a degree in crime scene investigation or forensic science.

Here you will read a brief overview of the information you might know.

Forensic Scientist VS. Crime Scene Investigator (CSI)

Firstly, the similarities between these two fields of study are explained. Graduated students of both fields can work in criminal justice. Both of them are related to the actions after the crime. Their final aim is to examine the crime scene and collecting evidence in order to solve the case.

Secondly, the student who wants to study crime scene investigator should learn some courses in science including sample collection techniques, methods of preserving samples, the process of crime scene examination, basic criminal justice, legal philosophy, and basic laboratory science.

But the student, who wants to study forensic science, should learn many courses containing biology, chemistry, physics, toxicology, pharmacology, pathology and also working in a laboratory and advanced lab science.

The CSI syllabus depends on forensic school. Here is the common list of courses for crime scene investigator:

  • Basic criminal justice
  • Basic forensic science
  • Advanced Criminology
  • Judicial procedure
  • Photography of crime scene
  • Sampling
  • Fingerprint

forensic vs csi

Also, this is the list of a forensic training program for forensic Scientist:

  • Biology: learning about cell biology, microbiology, and molecular biology
  • Chemistry: training about the biochemistry, physical chemistry, organic and inorganic chemistry, and quantitative chemistry
  • Learning Physics
  • Calculus and Statistics courses
  • Toxicology and pharmacology
  • Studying genetics
  • Lab Instrumental
  • Anthropology and pathology

In fact, when the crime scene investigators (CSIs) examine the crime scene location, they send the collected evidence such as hair, blood sample and fingerprint to the laboratory. Then, forensic scientists analyze the samples in the lab. As a result, both of them have an important role in the criminal justice system to solve the crime case. Generally, CSI works at the scene of a crime and forensic scientist works in a lab environment.

Additional Educational Opportunities after Receiving Degree

The graduates of CSI can continue to study a Master of Science (MS) degree in the same field, or certificate to increase your career opportunities. If the students got a bachelor’s degree in forensic science, they can continue to study an MA or Ph.D. in the same field.

However academic training is an important part of obtaining a job position as a crime scene investigator, on-the-job training and experience real scene. Most of the law enforcement agencies put all of their new employees working under an experienced person between 6 months and 2 years to complete an apprenticeship.

The majority of the CSI jobs, in addition to having a degree from a university or college, should obtain a government license or a professional certificate is required.

Forensic Science Academy in California: The Vollmer Institute

Vollmer institute provides forensic training courses and a hybrid learning environment with in-class and online programs, Podcasts, Webinars, live lecture updates to enhance your job interview and mentoring by professionals in the field of forensics.

The courses as follow:

  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Fingerprint classification
  • Death Investigation
  • Forensic Entomology
  • Blood Evidence – Bloodstain Patterns
  • Unusual Suicides – Investigation, Pathology & Evidence
  • Forensic Evidence Photography
  • Positional Asphyxiation
  • Investigating Drowning Deaths
  • Evidence Collection – Types and Classifications
  • Introduction to Criminalistics
forensic scientist

forensic scientist

Work Conditions: Forensic Scientist

The forensic science’s work area is divided into three parts of chemistry, biology and drugs and toxicology. If a person works in the chemistry section, he deals with crimes against property like burglary and arson. If a person works in the biology section, he deals with crimes against people like hijack and murder. In this case, he looks for DNA sample, blood, hair, fingerprints and clothing fibers. If a person works in drugs and toxicology section, he examines the analysis of blood and urine samples for alcohol, drugs, and poison. An average annual salary is about $20000 to $45000 depending on the experience level. Most of the time you work according to your office hours. But you have to prepare yourself to work at any time they call you.

While most of your work time is in the lab, if necessary, you should go to the crime scene with special clothes.



Work Conditions: Crime Scene Investigator (CSI)

A person who wants to work as a CSI must prepare to work at a crime scene, such as dangerous and insalubrious areas. This person should always keep in his mind that he may sometimes have long-time shifts and he has to work for 24-hours or even at holidays. A crime scene investigator works with special clothes and heavy tools. No matter what the weather conditions are. If you are called, you should immediately go to the crime scene location. Besides, as a crime scene investigator, you are in contact with forensic scientists, Police, and detectives, law enforcement staff, laboratory personnel, and lawyers. An average annual salary is about $47000 to $122000. In some section, they also get hourly wage in which they get $22 to $58.

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