The education requirements for this profession will vary from one employer to another. Usually, an extensive amount of on-the-job training is required before a technician is ready to work independently.
CSTs who are police officers have usually met educational requirements for admission to the police academy. A non-uniform CST at large law enforcement agencies are usually required to have a bachelor’s degree in either forensic science or a natural science. However, many rural agencies may hire candidates with a high school diploma.
In addition to education and experience, a crime scene technician should possess various qualities such as composure, critical thinking and problem solving skills, detail orientation, and speaking and writing skills. Throughout their career, technicians also need to be updated with latest technology which could improve evidence collection.
So, that first comment was a bit off of what you were asking. As far as I know, in NJ, yes, you do need to be a police officer first, as with most agencies on the east coast. That's why I moved from NY to KS. You just need to decide if you want to spend the first 10 years of your career as an officer or not, and if you want to move far from everyone you know, like I did. I don't medically qualify to be a police officer, so I was forced to find a civilian position. That's totally up to you though.
Also, there are over 500 jobs listed in the employment opportunity page of the Crime Scene Investigator Network. Many are entry level jobs. Look through the job announcements to see what employers require. You will find that many jobs require a degree, but some do not. Of course, you will be more completive if you have a degree.
Do I have to be a police officer first before I become a crime scene tech?