Crime scene investigators are sometimes called special agents or simply agents. They work in all kinds of weather conditions, and they travel a great deal of the time. Because crimes can occur pretty much anywhere, their work requires a willingness to travel to those scenes wherever they may be. Crime scene investigators may also spend time at crime laboratories, police departments, and coroner offices.
A crime scene investigator goes about his job by collecting physical evidence of the crime. He then analyzes the scene as well as the collected evidence. The most common job duties of a crime scene investigator will often include:
Taking photographs of the scene or working with a crime scene photographer
Analyzing the apparent facts of a case to best decide how to proceed with his work
Determining how to best collect evidence at a crime scene
Making notes of any findings at the crime scene
Conducting searches of some crime scenes
Gathering physical evidence that can range from weapons to forensic evidence
Cataloging any evidence found at the scene
Collaborating with other investigators and detectives
Candidates who are detail-oriented and able to keep their composure in the face of sometimes horrific crime scenes will be best suited for crime scene investigator jobs. They also need to have stellar communication skills as well as strong critical thinking skills.
Crime Scene Investigator Job Education Requirements
Most crime scene investigator jobs require that applicants hold a bachelor's degree in forensic science or one of the natural sciences. That is typically non-negotiable so all aspiring crime scene investigators should pursue higher education. Also, those who intend to pursue further education beyond obtaining a bachelor's degree may want to consider forensic psychologist jobs and criminal justice lawyer jobs.
Crime Scene Investigator Job Market
There is a predicted growth rate of six percent in crime scene investigator jobs from 2012 to 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's a small growth rate compared to most other occupations. The media often inspires interest in the field so hopeful crime scene investigators will likely face a lot of competition for the most desirable jobs in the future. The best way to be prepared to rise above the competition will be to hold a post-graduate degree and work hard to get on-the-job experience as well.
Crime Scene Investigator Job Salary Information
Crime scene investigators earned a median annual salary of approximately $52,840 in 2012. There is a great earning potential for those who strive to get a higher education and hone their skills, and the highest earning 10 percent of crime scene investigators earned a median annual salary of over $85,210.