Email Advice – How to become a CSI (crime scene investigator)?

I receive emails from students with questions about forensic science. My goal is to help as much as I can and to give accurate career advise, so I will be posting the emails and my responses. Comments and questions are invited and welcome.


In an email I received the following inquiry:

I am interested in pursuing a career as a crime scene investigator or a crime scene tech. What classes and other requirements are needed? Also, as I am in my junior year in high school, what can I do  that will help me on this path?


My response:

Thanks for your reaching out.

First, as a high school student, try reaching out to your local police departments and inquire about their internship opportunities or “shadowing” opportunities and explain what your interests are. Also, if calling is a little intimidating, try emailing them as well, which gives you the ability to express yourself fully. They may have a program for high school students that are interested in learning.

I’ve done some research in the past for a student that contacted me with a similar question and here was my advice:

What is a CSI?

CSI is short for crime scene investigator.

– The main responsibilities of a CSI is to thoroughly document, identify and collect physical evidence at a crime scene.

– Not all CSI’s are sworn police officers, there are also civilian CSI’s.

They typically have an expertise in photography, sketching, and processing evidence such as: fingerprints, footwear impressions, trace, hair & fibers, biological fluid, including DNA potential and blood spatter pattern analysis, as well as many other specialties as needed depending on the crime scene.

– Some other common names are ET (evidence technician), CST (crime scene technician, and FI (forensic investigator).

How can you become a CSI?

Each law enforcement agency has different requirements, however is it encouraged to obtain a two or four year degree in Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, Crime Scene Technology or consider a certificate program.

– In order to receive accurate and current information on the requirements contact your local or state police department in the area your are looking for employment and ask them what their requirements are for a CSI position with them.

Academic and Certificate Programs

There are a variety of schools that offer degrees in Forensic Science, Criminal Justice and Crime Scene Technology. Visit this link to search/browse schools with degrees of interest.

Recommended Reading

Hope this helps. If not, please feel free to write back with more questions.


Any further advice for this student is welcomed. Thanks!


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