Crime scene analysts photograph a crime scene, conduct forensic investigations and provide assistance to detectives. Certificate holders may be able to find entry-level work or may choose to earn an additional associate's or bachelor's degree in criminology or criminal justice. Most certificate programs take one year or less to complete. While some courses may be offered online, entire programs are not. Prior to enrollment, students need to have a high school diploma or GED with some practical work experience. In order to complete these certificate programs, students need to pass the nationally recognized industry standard examination in crime scene analysis.
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Crime Scene Analysis Programs
Certificate programs include coursework in evidence documentation, forensic analysis, and pertinent legal information. Specific course topics may include:
- Crime scene photography
- Fingerprint Identification
- Blood pattern documentation
- Rules of Evidence
- Latent print detection
- Courtroom testimony
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Although many professional skills are learned through on-the-job training, a bachelor's degree in criminology or criminal justice may be needed for entry-level employment in crime scene investigation. In addition, the majority of states require investigators to be licensed, which is obtained by passing a state-administered written examination. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment of forensic science technicians, another title for crime scene investigators, could increase by 27% from 2014-2024. The median annual salary earned by all types of forensic science technicians was reported as $56,320 in May 2015 by the BLS.
Students may choose to continue their education at the associate's or bachelor's level. Those aspiring to management or supervisory positions may find a formal degree to be beneficial. Courses in some certificate program may be transferable towards the completion of an associate's degree.
Certificate programs in crime scene analysis are offered, but in order to qualify to be a forensic science technician students need to have a bachelor's degree in criminology or criminal justice.