I'm am currently active duty military with a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration of Forensics. I am pursuing my Masters degree in Forensic Science and I would like to work in crime scene investigation. The two universities I'm am considering are Saint Leo University and National University. I have been reading some of the posts and it appears as if a Masters degree is not necessary to pursue a career in the CSI field that a certification in the field is the route to go. Is this correct? I just want to make sure that I am using my military benefits to my advantage so when I do retire, I am prepared to enter into the CSI field. Also has anybody attended any of the above universities and are there better ones to attend than the two. Than you for all your help.
My daughter studied at National University for her Master in Forensic Science degree. She felt it was a good program. I do not know anything about the program at Saint Leo University.
I do not know of any agency that requires a Masters degree in Forensic Science for a CSI job. Spending a couple years in a Masters program may make you a more interesting candidate, but it is not required.
Certification is only given after you have worked full time as a CSI. You can not earn certification before being hired. What you may be referring to is a Certificate of Training. There are certificate programs that focus just on Crime Scene Investigations. One such program is the Crime Scene Investigation Certificate Program offered at the University of California. They have a Summer Academy in which you can receive specialized training in Crime Scene Investigations and receive a certificate upon successful completion of the program. The Summer Academy starts in July each year and runs for five weeks. People come from all over the United States for the five week training. A certificate for more specialized training may make you more marketable. Here is the link for a brochure on the program: CSI Academy brochure. To enroll or receive more information: Crime Scene Investigation Summer Certificate Program.
I happen to teach in the CSI Certificate program and can tell you we have had several students go on to get jobs as Crime Scene Investigators.
My advice is to decide where you want to work, find out what they require in education, and then get that level of education.
There are over 600 jobs listed in the employment opportunity page of the Crime Scene Investigator Network. Look through the job listings to see what the different agencies require in education.
Yes I meant to type certificate instead of certification. I'm actually stationed in San Diego and I know of the CSI certificate program and would love to attend unfortunately I am active duty and there are some day classes that I wouldn't be able to attend. I have already looked at the program calendar and it sound interesting and exciting. However again the military won't allow me to be out of the office for 30 days. I appreciate the information and the feedback you give to the forum. Thanks!
Bobbi: I got my B.A. and M.S. from Saint Leo University. For my B.A. I took most of it online, but was on campus for the criminalistics specialization courses. The M.S. (Criminal Justice w/ Forensic Science emphasis) was strictly online. I started by taking grad courses to put off my student loans during the search for jobs, but I actually finished the program before getting hired on. I thought it was a great program, and although a masters was not required for my current job, I think it really helped set me apart from other applicants. It's a good school. Best of luck!
I'm a Sr. Criminalist for a Sheriff's Office in Nevada. My first crime scene job was in Florida and gave me some great experience. This job requires an Associates and experience, but I was hired from a pool of applicants possessing anywhere from an A.S. to PhD--though some lacked the experience. I'm glad I finished the graduate program as it will be necessary if I ever want to teach at a college level, and although this job and many others do not yet require a Masters (or even a Bachelors), the field is competitive so it certainly helps. For comparison, the agency I worked for in Florida required an A.S. in Law Enforcement or Criminal Justice OR a Crime Scene Technology certificate and no experience. My point is, anything you can do/have to set yourself apart will be beneficial.