Ok my question for everyone is what is the best way to get my foot in the door for a CSI job? I am a senior in college and am graduating in the spring with my bachelors in criminal justice and I have really been trying to get a job at a crime lab. The catch 22 that I am finding is they wont hire me because I dont have much hands on experience, well how do I get all that hands on experience if no one will hire me! Help me understand this please!!!
As a graduating senior myself, I have found that getting experience during college was very helpful. I was able to do an internship with the crime scene investigation unit in my city, as well as working at a police station fingerprinting new inmates. I have also attended extra conferences and workshops, which help a potential employer see that you have gone the extra mile to learn.
Just like in any other business you have to pay your dues or know someone that can help you advance. I would suggest getting your foot in the door by working as a jailer or duty officer, this way at least they know who you are from the police department and first they know your education back ground and second they also know what you are wanting to do in the future. It is better doing it this way instead of working in another field and applying for a position at a local police department where you are not known. I am a supervisor of the jail for a local police department and wanting to working the field of crime scene, I have my BS in Criminal Justice with minor in forensic and finger prints so I am in the field of my degree just waiting for the right employment offer. One thing to consider some of the police agencies will require you to be a certified peace officer if you are wanting to work in the field of crime scene.
I work as a CSI and would suggest the following. While in school try to work as a volunteer or as an intern. The amount of people looking for CSI jobs is at an all time high. With the popularity of the TV shows it seems that working as a CSI is the "cool" thing to do. That is why it important to gain as much "experience" as possible while you can. Most agencies will accept student volunteers and interns. I have been in the "business" for 18 years. I can remember when no one knew what a CSI was. When I started all you needed was to either be sworn or have an associates degree. Now my agency hires only those with master degrees in forensics or a science such as chemistry. My point is that the amount of jobs available versus the amount of people applying is 200-1. We may get 200 applications for one opening. If you want to work in law enforecment try not to limit yourself to a CSI job. At first maybe try working in corrections or as a police officer. This would give you the experience so when and if a CSI job opens you can move into that position.
Good Luck !!
First and foremost know the agency you want to work with. Requirements and job duties of 'CSI' positions vary. Some want a natural science degree, some just want a high school diploma. Some CSI duties are performed by Officers, some by Latent Print Examiners, some by Crime Scene Techs/Analysts/Investigators. There's also the Medical Examiner Investigator (or Cororner Investigator depending on state).
I'm a Latent Print Examiner and I got my start by taking Steve's class as part of the CSI certification I then got a volunteer position in the Scientific Investigation Division of the LAPD. Then I applied for about every position you could think of, but got my foot in the door with the King County Sheriff's office by working in the Jail rolling fingerprints. I then transferred my way through 10 Print and finally to Latent Print Examiner. (All 3 of those positions are under the AFIS unit) and hire quire frequently as of lately)
The Jail is hiring right now as a matter of fact (see Identification Technician)
I can relate to Danielle and see a lot of good advice from people in this forum.
I completed a B.S. degree suma cum laude in Criminal Justice in September.I managed to take approximatly 20 hours in crime scene/forensic science even though this was not my major focus and after taking one class I realized I love the intensity of this field.My former profession was in mental health counselor for 15 years.Currently,I am debating about getting my masters in forensic psychology(A.A.in psychology) and blending the two disciplines.I have heard that having a master degree can help to bypass going to the academy.I am thinking about applying for a classification specialist at a prison or Department of Family Services Child Investigator.Would this help with being a detective/crime scene investigator.I also know from one of the posts that there are few jobs so it may be an uphill battle.Any suggestions?Thank you all!
Your real problem may not be "hands on." I know that the previous lab I worked at would only consider applicants with a science degree (chem-biology.) In today's lab a science degree is a must. Your only other option (if your looking for crime scene work as opposed to being a bench analyst) is to seek a position in law enforcement with a department that has a crime scene unit. Drug chem, Tox, DNA and some latent prints and firearms sections demand a science background. As far as latent prints, the degree requirement is not necessarily something I agree with. Best of luck
Well, as everyone has said, you have to start at the bottom and work your way up! Believe it or not I started out as a part time Animal Control Officer while the full time Officer had surgery. My wife and I own Forensic Recovery K9's and he would stop by asking us dog related questions, he then asked if I would be interested in filling in for 3 months, I, of course said, "You BET!"
Turns out, he was out a total of 6 months, then upon his return, I was asked to stay on with the Dept as a volunteer....mind you, I was working on Crime Scene Tech certification while I was doing AC. Upon completing my cert., I was offered this full time job!
During my volunteer time, I worked in Criminal Investigations 20 hours a week helping them with misc. stuff. I was issued a pager to respond to scenes if I wanted to. During that 12 months, I helped process over 200 scenes....by the time I was hired, I was WELL versed in processing!
GOOD LUCK...you'll LOVE this job, as long as you don't have visions of solving crime scenes in 24 HOURS "LOL!"
Most Dept, dont want a Criminal justice degree. They prefer a Forensic or Bio/Chem degree. And please, for those people who are looking at a college, please look at the core classes they offer for a Forensic degree, and check out the history of degree, to see if it is worth it to attend the college.
Intern, or volunteer with a CSI dept. And take orders and do as they say. I learned alot from my time in the major crimes dept in Omaha. And to learn the code of an officer will take you along way when interviewing.
Each dept is different when hiring a CSI some only want a high school graduate, some 2 years in college, some a bachelors and some a masters(which locally they are pushing for). So find the State Crime scene, biggest local police Crime scene team and ask them questions, see what they want.
I am also a criminal justice student I am getting my Bachelor's of science with concentration in Forensic Investigation at Colorado Technical University. I am wondering if I will be able to get a career in CSI work because I am 39 now and will be 41 when I graduate. I was then informed by my local CSI agency that I had to go through the Police Academy and become an officer first. At 40 that would be pushing it to be a police offiecer. Are there any jobs I can apply for in my field without having to become an officer first??????
I've never seen a CSI job that involved becoming an officer. Of the two known dept in Denver area, Lakewood pd has a CSI which works with Wheat Ridge PD. and the State of Colorado Investigation, neither ask that you become a cop. Now Aravada had a CSI job that if you were an officer of 2 years of service that would qualify you for that job. Trust me I've had my ear to the ground in the Denver area and know the ins and outs of the job scene.
After that no, you dont have to be a cop to be a CSI, if you want to be a detective then yes you have to be a patrol for at least 3 years.
I don't think I went about posting this correctly, but whoever gets it please feel free to respond.
I am also trying to knock down the door to the forensic science world and I feel that as I progress academically I get further away from that goal. I am currently working on my Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology at NYU and I have a total of 4 years intense laboratory experience. I have a BS degree in Cell Mol. Bio as well. From what I have gathered from most job postings, even though I have worked in genetics and immunology based labs I don't have the right experience. I have now hit a crossroads where I could leave the program with my masters and try to find a job (probably won't get one because I don't have experience working in a crime lab) or I could stay and still not have a job when I finish. My ultimate goal is to be a forensic biologist and a DNA technical leader. I am also interested in criminalistics and I was thinking of getting a masters in this while working on the Ph.D. I can try to do an internship, but I can’t work anywhere while I work on the Ph.D.. In a nutshell I am completely confused as to what to do next. Do the online certificate programs help? Will I start at the bottom if I have a Ph.D. with just an internship? Will simultaneously getting a Masters degree help? Where can I find a mentor? Please help.
hey im still in high school but i worry a lot about my future ............
my dream job is to be a CSI .... but right now im very confused about whether i should do criminal justice or criminology ........
I want to work on the field and not in the lab ...
i would appreciate if anyone could give me a detailed descripton of what i have to do right after my 12th grade to become a CSI ....
And a few more questions are:
How many years will it take to become a successful CSI ?
I agree with you. I've been a certified crime scene tech since 2005 and because I don't have much hands on experience, th about 19ey won't hire me. I have applied for many jobs but it's always the same answer.
I stole something back in 1994 (shoplifting charge) paid a fine in court and case was settled. I have no other convictions, would this bar me from becoming CSI> I would like to know so I don't waste my time effort and money on school tryng to get my degree as I'm a freshman in college already. Any advice would help and I thank you very much
I have a somewhat of a similiar situation as David, unfortunately I have a misdemeanor dui on my record from some years back...will this prevent me from being hired on as a crime scene investigator in the nearby future?
Yes, it's safe to say that I doubt you'll ever be able to get a job in the crime scene field. You pretty much have to have a stellar record, and if you don't, someone else will and they will more than likely pick them over you. Maybe you should looking into just being a police officer.