I'm currently majoring in Forensic Science-CSI at the University of Nebraska and will obtain a Bachelor's degree in a little over a year. I noticed that many jobs for CSIs require a Master's degree or multiple years of experience to even be considered. Is there anything I can do to gain experience while I'm still in school? Would it be extremely difficult to get a job as a CSI without a Master's degree?
The difficulty will lie in the competitiveness of the job. Some places are different than others. Anything you can do to make your resume look better will only benefit you in the long run. Get an internship in what field you want, even if you don't get college credit for it, it will look good on your resume. The requirements for the position vary from agency to agency though. Any further questions let me know.
I have never seen an entry level CSI job that requires a Master's degree. At most they require a BS degree. Some do not require any degree.
Experience is often the issue in qualifying for a CSI or Forensic Science job.
There are over 500 jobs listed on the employment opportunity page of the Crime Scene Investigator Network. Many are entry level jobs. Some do not require experience.
An internship or volunteer work with an agency will be helpful. Internships can be found with the help of the college or university you are attending. You can sometimes become a volunteer by applying at a crime laboratory or law enforcement agency.
Here is a tip if you are having trouble getting a job: Apply for a "related" job, such as a Forensic Autopsy Technician, Evidence Custodian, Property Officer, Community Service Officer, etc. This can be a way to "get your foot in the door" or gain on-the-job experience that will help in getting the job you want later.
To get in this career field you may find you need to move to a different location to get an entry level job. But once you have worked a while in that entry level position you will have the experience required for other jobs.
I like what EFB wrote in a previous post:
I started in Dispatch to get my foot in the door. We have fully qualified people volunteering with us now just to get that much needed experience. IF you decide to go that route, treat every day like it is a job interview. They/We are watching your work ethic and dedication that you put forth. Once that job opening does come along, they already know you and know your capabilities. You will not be allowed to touch or handle evidence. You will shuffle alot of paper and do menial tasks. Do it with a smile knowing you are getting the experience that will open alot of other doors. With that said, we are a small community where everyone knows everyone else....so show them nothing but your best. Good luck!
That is good advice!
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