How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator

Crime Scene Investigator Qualifications

If you want to become a crime scene investigator, you’ll need to master a long list of crime scene investigator qualifications. There are different qualifications depending on whether you want to become a crime scene technician, forensic science expert or evidence photographer, but most crime scene investigators will need to perform the following formal training and master the following skills to become a crime scene expert. Learning how to become a crime scene investigator will allow you to begin pursuing the jobs that may seem dramatic on tv, but actually require long hours of hard work as well as crucial hours spent in court proceedings, presenting the crime scene evidence you have collected.

What Do Crime Scene Investigators Do?

Crime scene investigators evaluate a crime scene using investigative tools and equipment, develops and secures the physical evidence for later lab evaluation and comparison alongside other evidence, prepares crime scene reports based on the observations, notes and photographic evidence of the crime scene itself, and later testifies in court about what was found at the crime scene and the investigative methods they use to investigate the crime. Testifying in court is something you won’t always see on television shows about crime scene investigation, but this is the endgame scenario for all crime scene investigations and is therefore an essential part of the job description.

Crime Scene Investigator Qualifications

You must complete 720 hours of crime scene processing training to be qualified as a crime scene investigator. Of these 720 hours, 40 hours must be in major death investigation, 40 hours in advanced death investigation, 40 hours in “blood splatter investigation and interpretation” and 80 hours must be in latent fingerprint processes. Also, you’ll need to be certificed by the International Association for Identification, Crime Scene Certification Board. This crime scene investigator certification must happen within 18 months of completion of your training.

How To Become a Crime Scene Investigator

Becoming a crime scene investigator requires you to demonstrate a full knowledge of police investigation techniques, including the search and seizure process as well as the policeman’s role in criminal investigations and criminal prosecutions. You’ll need to demonstrate all the skills in forensic science, anatomy and chemistry. Crime scene investigators need to know the proper use of chemical used for evidence gathering, as well as the techniques used to make crime scene sketches. Also, you’ll want to know the proper light techniques for photographic evidence, including proper lens and camera selection and the effect of distortion.

Crime scene investigators acquire the power of arrest and have the authority to carry weapons, so they must be able to qualify in firearms training, physical fitness exams and defense tactics to become a crime scene investigator. Also, you’ll need to be able to operate police vehicles and equipment, as well as the ability to receive, understand and comply with instructions over the radio. Crime scene investigations also require moving heavy objects, so you’ll need to demonstrate the ability to lift up to 100 pounds. Finally, you’ll need skills in identify people visually, as well as vehicles and locations. You’ll need to be able to describe physical evidence in a court setting, while also providing copious notes, sketches and testimony. Being able to communicate your findings is essential in the prosecution of criminals, while the ability to master all of the skills above without making mistakes is essential to avoid criminals walking free on technicalities.

Crime Scene Investigator Qualifications and College Training

If you wish to attend live college courses to become a crime scene investigator, read about the programs at Kaplan University, Colorado Technical University and South University. If you would prefer to take online crime scene investigation courses, navigate to the online websites for American InterContinental University Online, Everest University Online and Everest College Phoenix Online.


  1. noel munthali says:

    please assist me to train as a crimescene evidence photographer

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