whats the difference?

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whats the difference?

kayla
i am trying to find out what i want to go to  collage for, but i am having trouble finding out the difference between a criminalist, a forensic scientist, and a csi. i want to be someone who analyzes the evidence and go to the crime scene.
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Re: whats the difference?

Wilson CSI
All the names you listed have been kind of grouped into the same thing.  Mostly Forensic Sciencist and crininalist work in more of a lab.  CSI or Crime Scene Techs work in the field.  Then there are those who work a hybrid by doing some lab work and field work.  It depends agency to agency what you would do.  
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Re: whats the difference?

Steve Staggs
Administrator
In reply to this post by kayla

Kayla--

Usually, a crime scene investigator or evidence technician is the person who works in the field documenting crime scenes and collecting evidence. Usually, a criminalist or forensic scientist is the person in the crime lab who analyzes the evidence. However, many crime scene investigators also do some analysis in the office or lab and some criminalists respond to crime scenes. I depends on the agency's job descriptions.

You can look at some of the job postings on the Employment Page of Crime Scene Investigator Network and get an idea of job duties at some agencies for the different job titles. There are also some job descriptions listed on that web page for some agencies.

If you want to do both (go to crime scenes and analyze evidence) you may find a position that offers that, but it is not too common. It is not like the CSI programs on TV where the person who responds to scenes also does all types of analysis (DNA, trace, fingerprints, serology, anthropology, etc.). In the real world we are much more specialized. A criminalist may do trace evidence but not DNA, and would not go to crime scenes. A CSI may only collect evidence.

As I said, there are some agencies that provide a little overlap. For example, if you are a Los Angeles County Criminalist specializing in bloodstain you will be sent out to collect bloodstain evidence at major crime scenes. Most other agencies have their CSIs collect the bloodstain evidence and then a Criminalist in the lab does the analysis.

My suggestion is that you get the education to be a Criminalist. Then you can do either job and you might find a job that involves both crime scene and lab duties.

kayla wrote
...i am having trouble finding out the difference between a criminalist, a forensic scientist, and a csi. i want to be someone who analyzes the evidence and go to the crime scene.

--Steve

Webmaster
Crime Scene Investigator Network
http://www.crime-scene-investigator.net