Career as a CSI

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Career as a CSI

JVH13
Hello,

I live and breathe everything CSI and forensics. I am currently enrolled in a college known for their CSI/FS program. I was just wondering what types of things employers are looking for in a candidate. I am constantly (at least once a week) on this site in the Job section just reading up on job requirements and things.

I want to make myself the best and most qualified candidate if possible and try to attend CSI workshops and camps. Currently I am looking at attending the CSI Academy of Florida in either 2015 or 2016 (yes, far, far away) but was wondering if this type of "dedication" and experience is what an employer would like to see that makes me more desirable. Would they even look at the Honors specialty of my degree or being involved outside of the classroom?

Also, when would be the best time to start applying for jobs? Would it help to start a little early, say at the beginning of my last semester before graduation?

Thanks, Josh
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Re: Career as a CSI

Elizabeth
What do you find so appealing about CSI? You do realize that it is NOTHING like television makes it out to be, right? Why do you want to be a CSI?

Stay in school, obviously, but don't waste your money on CSI training classes; they are very expensive and you can usually get your department to send you to training after you're hired. Most of the certifications you can't even get until you've had years of experience.

It took me a year and a half to get a job in CSI. When you do start looking for jobs, look for something that meets your education requirement; I'm assuming you'd be getting a bachelor's of some sort after graduating? Look for jobs requiring that, not necessarily in the field you received, but the level of degree, understand? I started applying December 2011, graduated May 2012, and got a job April 2013.

I received a bachelors of technology in criminal investigations; had 2 years of hands on classes like fingerprinting, interviews, investigations, questioned documents, clandestine graves, etc. Despite all of those hands on classes and a 600 hour internship with one of the busiest departments on the east coast, I was denied for positions because I lacked experience; even the department I was interning with wouldn't hire me, even though I was working full time for them for free for 6 months. It's tough to get into, so be ready. I moved halfway across the country by myself, leaving everyone and everything I knew behind for my job, make sure you can make that decision. I had 2 days to decide if I wanted it or not and to move. And honestly, I graduated 20 of 24, no honors, no greek life, no "extras", my department told me that stuff didn't matter, because when it came down to it, I knew what I was talking about and how to do my job. That's all they were really interested in.

I'm checking this site regularly, so if you have any more questions, feel free to ask, and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
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Re: Career as a CSI

JVH13
Oh I know it is nothing like on TV, but the idea of how processing a scene to find evidence and things just appeals to me. It is hard to explain. I have been interested and passionate about this since 2008.

I am still going to finish my degree, yes a Bachelor's, but I thought a little experience through this training program would make me more desirable. I am more than willing to move anywhere for a job; I made that decision up years ago, haha!

But thanks again for relying! Hopefully a few others will too so I can see how their careers began!
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Re: Career as a CSI

Elizabeth
In reply to this post by JVH13
The experience will help, but don't waste your money on expensive experience. Try going to local agencies that have a crime scene unit and do an unpaid internship or shadowing. Cheap experience is just as good as expensive experience, sometimes even better because it's actually doing the job, not just learning about it.
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Re: Career as a CSI

JVH13
Great, thank you!