Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) Career Education in Illinois

Working as a crime scene investigator in Illinois can be simultaneously interesting, challenging, puzzling, and gruesome. Investigators carry a heavy responsibility to discover and properly collect evidence at crime scenes that can both lead detectives towards the perpetrators of violent acts and serve as strong evidence for convictions. In a recent case CSI agents were called to examine a suburban Chicago crime scene involving the mysterious shooting of two store clerks with no evidence of a forced entry or robbery. Besides working with law enforcement in the Windy City, CSI professionals are found throughout the state with agencies such as:

  • Rockford Police Department
  • Joliet Police Department
  • Illinois State Police
  • DuPage County Sheriff’s Department

Basic Requirements for a CSI Career in Illinois

When researching the process of how to become a crime scene investigator in Illinois, interested candidates will find positions in this field require some combination of CSI certification, education, training, and experience. Fortunately there are many schools located across the Land of Lincoln and online colleges which offer a relevant CSI degree or certification.

Common CSI certification programs in Illinois include:

  • Forensics
  • Ballistics
  • DNA and blood analysis
  • Crime scene reconstruction
  • Photography

Candidates who are interested in reaching the top rungs of the CSI professional ladder should consider studying for at least a bachelor’s certificate in the natural or physical sciences fields. Students can obtain a four-year education before seeking employment or gain experience as entry-level technicians and study while they work. Relevant areas of education include:

  • Natural sciences
  • Forensic anthropology
  • Criminal psychology
  • Physical sciences

It is always recommended to check with individual law enforcement agencies for specific requirements, and CSI jobs in the following cities provide a typical example of what to expect in the profession.

Chicago Crime Scene Investigators

Because of the size of the City of Chicago, the police department’s crime scene investigators are divided into subgroups such as:

  • Fingerprint technician
  • Latent fingerprint examiner
  • Criminalist
  • Forensic firearm examiner

Firearms examiners require additional CSI certification showing they have completed a Firearm and/or Tool Mark Examiner training program. The Chicago PD also prefers its firearms examiners to be members of a professional organization, the Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners.

Each of these positions requires either a university degree in the following science fields and/or at least one year of experience in a related field:

  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Natural Sciences
  • Chemistry

DuPage County Evidence Technicians

The Forensic Investigator Unit of the DuPage County Sheriff’s Department provide their services to law enforcement agencies throughout the county, including the cities of Aurora and Naperville. Using the latest technology, evidence technicians are required to have specific CSI training and education in order to be qualified to conduct their duties which include:

  • Processing physical evidence
  • Forensic computer and video analysis
  • Working in close collaboration with the county coroner’s officer to gather evidence for all unnatural deaths
  • Fire and arson investigation
  • Assistance in gathering evidence for major crimes and violent felonies
  • Testifying in court

Evidence technicians are required to complete Evidence Technician and Crime Scene and Police Photography training courses prior to or within their first year of their employment. It is also recommended for applicants to have an equivalent experience and/or CSI education equal to the following two-year associate degrees:

  • Business
  • Criminal investigations
  • Law enforcement
  • Photography
  • Photographic technician

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