Crime Scene Investigator

By: Lauren Schuster

Career Research


A crime scene investigator is a trained police officer that analyzes evidence at a crime scene. You need a lot of special and extra training for this job. Investigators are specifically assigned to the scene, they are not allowed to talk to any witnesses or suspects.

Daily Tasks and Responsibilities

Crime scene investigators need to have a good attitude no matter what and can concentrate. They need to be a team leader and able to sketch/photograph evidence. They need to be flexible with their time and ready to work long hours. While they're observing things and scenes they need to pay attention to certain little details.

Education/Training Needed

To become a crime scene investigator you need to succeed in specific degrees. You need to get a bachelor's degree in forensic science, forensic anthropology or forensic biology. Most forensic science students also focus on a specialization, such as fingerprint analysis toxicology or DNA profiling. Every investigator needs a general studies in criminal justice. Most agencies may also require that before they become an investigator they should have earned police or military officer status.

Job Outlook

Expected to grow 17% (about 18,000 jobs) by 2016


Crime scene investigators typically make $55,660 per year, which is $26.76 per hour.

Work Environment

They usually have to see disturbing pictures constantly, work long odd hours in various climates, and under stressful conditions. Also, working in unsanitary and smelly environments, talking with a lot of professionals and lawyers, and paying close attention to details.

Career Connections

A retired investigator named Steven Staggs talks about his job "When talking to another higher level person you need to remember 3 things, be prepared to answer many questions, show them what you can do, and always have something to say in closing." Another guy named Tim Dees made a statement saying "The CSI's that you see on t.v are nothing like in real life because on t.v they make up parts of the job and in real life you don't get to do that, such as ordering officers around and making arrests."

High School Preparation

Related Courses

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Civics and Political Science

Extra-curricular Activities

  • Debate club
  • Crime Scene Academy
  • Community service

Work/Volunteer Experience

You can get an internship or volunteer to help and observe at a crime scene investigator's lab.


A reference is the action of providing information to something. Stating a reference is important because you need to give the person that you got the information from credit, otherwise it can be known as plagiarism.

Bill Schuster (father)- Chief of police and fire

Ron Muich (family friend)- Detective

Mooney McMullin (family friend)- Special forces detective

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Post-secondary Plan


  • You can earn a certificate or diploma by going to a 5 week academy at a university.
  • Succeed in your career and earn your Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science Degree at a university or local college.

Training/Certificate Programs

Some agencies require you to become a police officer and attend a police academy before you apply to be a crime scene investigator. A good certificate program is 5 weeks long at the University of California, Riverside. Another good program that you can attend around our area is a criminal justice program at Rasmussen College, Rockford.

Internship/Apprenticeship Opportunities

You can go to your local police agency and ask or request for a short internship to gain more experience in that field that you pursue to work in some day.