Crime Scene Technician

A crime scene technician (CST) performs the task of investigating crime by collecting and analyzing physical evidence at crime scenes. They typically perform the following duties at crime scenes:

  • Walking through a crime scene to determine what evidence has been left and how it should be collected
  • Taking photographs of the crime scene and the evidence collected
  • Making sketches of the crime scene
  • Preparing detailed notes of their observations, for instance the location where evidence was found
  • Collecting all important physical evidence, such as weapons, bodily fluids, and any fingerprints found on crime scene objects
  • Organizing and preserving evidence before sending it to the crime lab for further examination
  • Training new technicians or other personnel about investigation techniques

The tools used by a CST may include tweezers, black lights, and specialized tool kits used to gather evidence. The following is a list of tools which are used depending on the type of evidence.

  • Biological evidence collection kits such as body fluid, blood, and DNA collection kits
  • Specimen collectors such as evidence collection containers
  • Footprint Lifters such as Electrostatic dust print lifters, gel lifters, and impression casting kits
  • Tape Measures
  • Still Cameras

Work Environment

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a majority of crime scene technicians work in state and local law enforcement departments. The work places include police departments and morgues. In addition to working on crime scenes, they may also process autopsies.

Crime scene investigation could be upsetting and disturbing because technicians may come across unpleasant sights. They might need to work all day, evenings, or on night shifts and may need to work overtime. This is because they must always be available to collect evidence. Also, they must travel to different places depending on the occurrence of crimes.

How to Become a Crime Scene Technician

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.

Job Outlook

According to the BLS, employment of CSTs is expected to rise by about 19% from 2010 to 2020. This is due to advances in technology and increasing awareness of crime evidence among potential jurors. Hence, it is expected that more technicians would be required to provide timely crime scene information for courts and law enforcement agencies.


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Q:How to become a crime scene cleanup technician?

A:You must have specialized training to become a crime scene cleaner/technician. These professionals are called after a crime scene has been gone through for important evidence. To become one, you must have a certification in crime scene cleaning. This program will help you build necessary skills and prepare you for the occupation.

Q:How do i become a crime scene technician?

A:Crime scene technicians are highly trained professionals who collect forensic evidence to help resolve crimes. If you wish to join this field as a technician, you must have the right skill set and college education. You can choose from degree programs in forensic science and other short courses. The training requirements will vary from state to state.

Q:What are the requirements to be a crime scene technician in my state?

A:To become a crime scene technician, you must have the right degree. There are degree programs available in forensic science that can help you learn about criminology and investigation. You can also opt for a certificate program in crime scene analysis that will certify you in this area. To get more information about crime scene technician programs, take a look at our page.

Q:How to get a job as a crime scene technician with an associate degree?

A:An associate degree in crime scene analysis will qualify you for entry eve job positions in the field. You can seek assistant level jobs in crime units and crime labs. To pursue more high level jobs, you need to have at least a bachelor degree in the specialization area. Take a look at our page to learn more about the career.

Q:How to get a job in crime scene investigation with only a high school qualification?

A:Unfortunately, it is not possible to get a job as a crime investigator with only a high school diploma. You must have advanced qualifications such as certification or a college degree. A course in crime scene investigation will help you develop the skills needed to become an investigator. The educational requirements for this occupation may vary slightly from state to state.

Q:What courses do you need to take for crime scene technicians job?

A:Crime scene technicians are trained professionals who collect and analyze data from crime scenes. If you are planning to become a crime scene technician, you must earn a bachelor degree in forensic science. You will cover a wide range of subjects in this field such as fingerprint analysis, natural sciences, physical evidence, preservation, and criminal law.

Q:Can you tell me about the crime scene technician definition?

A:Crime scene technicians can be described as skilled specialists who analyze crime scenes, collect data and evidence, and analyze findings. They work in crime units along with other professionals. Crime scene technicians have a broad understanding of law and science, and are usually certified in their specialty area. You can take a look at our page for more information.

Q:What is the growth rate for crime scene technician jobs?

A:Crime scene technicians help resolve criminal cases by collecting and analyzing evidence from crime scenes. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth rate for these professionals is steady. Individuals who want to join the criminal justice sector can consider the career of a crime scene technician as it is expected to grow in demand in the coming years.

Q:What is the crime scene technician salary?

A:A crime scene technician, also referred to as a forensic science technician earns a median wage of $56,320 per year, as of May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The hourly median wage for the same was $27.08.

Q:How much does a crime scene investigator make?

A:A crime scene investigator is trained to try and uncover facts and evidence left behind by the perpetrators of a crime. For this purpose, they collect data, take photographs, make sketches and try to determine what happened during the crime. The annual median salary for these individuals amounts up to $56,320 as per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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