How Long Does It Take to Become a CSI Agent?

Some CSI agents are also sworn police officers.
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CSI agents, also known as crime scene investigators, are forensic science technicians trained to collect and analyze evidence at a crime science. This occupation is very female-friendly. Most forensic science graduates in the United States are women, according to The Associated Press. It is also estimated that women account for at least 60 percent of the individuals working in the nation's forensic labs. It takes several years of education and training to become a CSI agent.

College Education Requirements

    Individuals with just a high school diploma can sometimes work for small or rural law enforcement agencies as a crime scene investigator. Larger agencies require a bachelor's degree in forensic science, chemistry, biology or a related natural science field. To be a sworn police officer and CSI agent, you must meet minimum educational requirements and complete a police academy training program. Educational requirements and academy program length varies by law enforcement agency.

On-The-Job Training

    CSI agents need additional on-the-job training after graduating from a forensic science program. New CSI agents often work under the direction of more experienced investigators. This apprenticeship typically includes training in department procedure, evidence collection and evidence documentation. The length of mentoring experiences depends on the agency for which you work.

Laboratory Training

    Most forensic technicians specialize in either crime scene investigation or laboratory analysis. If you are interested in performing lab duties, you will still need a bachelor's degree in forensic science, but you will also need additional training in DNA analysis and firearms analysis. DNA analysis training programs can usually be completed in less than one year. Firearms analysis training programs can take two to three years to finish. Other analysis techniques can be learned on the job.

Crime Scene Certification

    Crime scene investigators do not need certification to work for law enforcement. However, there are voluntary certifications a CSI agent can earn from the International Association for Identification. Certification options include Certified Crime Scene Investigator, Certified Crime Scene Analyst, Certified Crime Scene Reconstructionist and Certified Senior Crime Scene Analyst. Prerequisites for these designations include varying amounts of Crime Scene Certification Board approved education and work experience. Candidates must also pass an exam with a minimum score of 75 percent for each level of certification.

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