Crime Scene Investigator Advancement Opportunities

Crime scene investigators review evidence at crime scenes. After working in this field, these professionals may wish to grow their careers in other positions within criminal investigations.

View popular schools

Career Growth Opportunities for Crime Scene Investigators

Crime scene investigators examine evidence at the scene of a crime. They must be skilled in finding fingerprints, observing evidence, and examining documents. After working as a crime scene investigator, some individuals may wish to advance in their career. They may wish to further delve into evidence as a forensic scientist or forensic computer analyst, investigate issues for private parties as a private investigator, or undertake training to become a federal special agent. Details about these careers are presented here.

Job Title Median Salary Job Growth (2016-2026)** Education or Experience
Forensic Scientist $52,782 (2018)* 17% (forensic science technicians) Bachelor's degree
Forensic Computer Analyst $69,396 (2018)* 28% (information security analysts) Bachelor's degree
Private Investigator $50,700 (2017; private detectives and investigators)** 11% (private detectives and investigators) High school diploma and training
Federal Special Agent $81,434 (2018)* 7% (police and detectives) Bachelor's degree and three years of professional experience

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Corrections Admin
  • Corrections, Probation, and Parole
  • Criminal Justice and Safety Studies
  • Criminal Science
  • Forensic Science
  • Juvenile Corrections
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Police Science and Law Enforcement
  • Securities Services Mgmt
  • Security and Theft Prevention Services

Career Information

Forensic Scientist

Crime scene investigators collect evidence at crime scenes. After the evidence is collected, it is analyzed by forensic scientists. Crime scene investigators who wish to take part in this next step of analysis may wish to move into this role. Forensic scientists integrate use of a variety of scientific disciplines, including biology, chemistry, and microscopic examination. Some forensic scientists may specialize in certain types of evidence, such as DNA analysis or polygraph tests. After interpreting the evidence, forensic scientists must write detailed reports for the investigators and potentially for attorneys who would use it as evidence in court. Forensic scientists must have a bachelor's degree in a scientific discipline, and may have specific specialty or on the job training. A master's degree in forensic science is very useful in seeking a position in the field.

Forensic Computer Analyst

Crime scene investigators have likely had the experience of seizing a computer as evidence in a case. Those who are comfortable in the digital environment might consider a career specializing as a forensic computer analyst. Forensic computer analysts typically analyze data found on computer hard drives or other data storage devices, which may have been destroyed, to identify evidence of a crime. Forensic computer analysts must ensure that they are following correct evidentiary procedures, as what they uncover could be used in a criminal prosecution. These professionals typically have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in forensic computing or a related discipline.

Private Investigator

Some crime scene analysts may enjoy collecting and interpreting evidence. These individuals may wish to consider a role as a private investigator. Private investigators interview witnesses, provide surveillance services, and otherwise collect evidence for private parties or for attorneys who are handling cases. Some private investigators specialize in locating persons who have unpaid debts or who did not appear for a bail hearing. Private investigators must have a high school diploma, and many employers prefer a bachelor's degree. Prior experience in similar roles is very useful in finding a position. State licensure may be required.

Federal Special Agent

One possible option for advancement for crime scene investigators would be to take a special agent position with the federal government. Also known as FBI agents, these professionals investigate and enforce potential violations of federal law. Some specific areas FBI agents pursue are organized crime, terrorism, and violations of civil rights. Special agents must engage in questioning of witnesses and suspects, and they perform detailed investigative work. Educationally, a bachelor's degree is necessary to become a special agent. Potential FBI agents must be US Citizens, aged 23-37 with three years of work experience and the ability to qualify for secret clearances. In addition, it is necessary that the candidate not be disqualified due to felony convictions or failure of a drug test.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • MS in Criminal Justice
    • BS in Criminal Justice - Crime Scene Investigation
    • BS in Corrections
    • BSA - Auditing and Forensic Accountancy
    • BS in Criminal Justice
    • BS in Cybersecurity
    • BS in Criminal Justice - Forensic Psychology
    • AAS in Criminal Justice
    • AAS in Public Safety and Security
    • AAS in Criminal Justice and Criminology
    • AAS in Fire Science

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Master of Professional Studies in Cyber Policy and Risk Analysis
    • MS in Data Science: Financial Crime
    • MBA in Cyber Policy
    • MBA in Cybersecurity
    • MBA Economic Crime and Fraud Management
    • MS Cybersecurity - Computer Forensics
    • BS in Cybersecurity - Cybercrime and Fraud Investigation
    • Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation
    • BS in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation - Financial Investigation
    • BS in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation - Fraud Prevention and Detection
    • BS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
    • BS in Cybersecurity

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Master of Arts in Law - Criminal Justice
    • Master of Arts in Law - National Security
    • Master of Public Administration - Emergency Management and Homeland Security
    • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Criminal Justice
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice - Corrections
    • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Criminal Justice
    • Bachelor of Arts in Law and National Security
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

    • MS in Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
    • Master of Science in Cyber Security
    • Master of Science in Cyber Security (Bridge)
    • MS in Leadership: Disaster Preparedness & Executive Fire Leadership
    • B.S. in Information Technology with an Emphasis in Cybersecurity
    • B.S. in Cybersecurity

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Management

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
    • Associate of Science in Investigation & Security

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • MS in Criminal Justice
    • MS in Criminal Justice Intelligence & Crime Analysis
    • MS in Criminal Justice Behavior Analysis
    • MS in Criminal Justice Homeland Security
    • MS in Criminal Justice Federal Law Enforcement
    • MS in Criminal Justice Behavior Management

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your age?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?