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Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) Career Education in Kansas

Oftentimes, justice is served thanks solely to the professional work of crime scene investigators. Gathering evidence ranging in size from vehicles and bullet fragments to the microscopic, through meticulous and painstaking examination in sometimes horrific environments CSIs are able to find evidence that points detectives towards criminals and secures convictions.

Crime scene investigators work across the State of Kansas with agencies such as:

  • Wichita Police Department
  • Overland Park Police Department
  • Kansas Bureau of Investigation
  • Topeka Police Department
  • Olathe Police Department

Two of the largest CSI employers in the Sunflower State are the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Wichita Police Department’s Crime Lab. These agencies also set the standard for what candidates can expect when evaluating how to become crime scene investigator in Kansas.

Kansas CSI Training and Education

CSI Schools and Education – Crime scene investigator education certificates are available in the form of associate and bachelor degrees online and on campus locations at colleges throughout Kansas.

CSI course majors include:

  • Biology
  • Forensic Anthropology
  • Chemistry
  • Genetics
  • Physics
  • Criminal Psychology

Associate degrees provide a general knowledge of the functions of CSI specialists and allow candidates to be more competitive for entry-level technician and analyst positions. Having at least a bachelor degree will allow for greater future career opportunities and flexibility, and should be considered by candidates with long-term career prospects in the CSI field.

Certification – Gaining CSI certification is possible at locations across the state. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation offers a CSI training course in latent fingerprint, tread mark, and shoe print identification. The Kansas International Association for Identification also offers CSI certification courses in areas including:

  • Bloodstain Patterns
  • Forensic Video and Photography
  • Crime Scene Reconstruction
  • Crime Scene Analyst

CSI Jobs with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation

Crime scene investigators working with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s Forensic Laboratory Division operate across the state to gather court-admissible evidence using state-of-the-art technology to assist in:

  • Identifying clandestine drug labs by gathering chemical, arson, and paint evidence
  • Obtaining DNA samples and toxicology specimens through crime scene bodily fluids
  • Determining firearm and weapon trajectories by obtaining evidence such as spent ammunition, muzzle burns, and tool marks
  • Photographing and casting latent fingerprints, tire marks, and shoe prints

To be a part of the forensic team candidates must have a bachelor’s degree relevant to their field of specialization. In some cases a comparable level of experience and education may be substituted for the degree certificate requirement.

CSI Jobs in Wichita

Having a CSI career with the Wichita Police Department’s Crime Lab means providing investigative services for crime scenes involving:

  • Drive-by shootings
  • Rape
  • Murder, homicide, and suicide
  • Assault and robbery
  • Burglaries and auto thefts

Crime scene investigators may also be required to attend autopsies and testify in court. CSIs in Wichita are civilian employees who have a bachelor degree in Administration of Justice or a closely related field, who usually also have relevant work experience.


Forensics Salary for Lab Technicians and CSIs in Kansas

The employment of forensic scientists is increasing in Kansas.  According to the Kansas Department of Labor, the amount of forensic scientist jobs is projected to increase by 18.1% in the period from 2010 to 2020.

Sixty forensic science technicians were employed in the state in 2012 based on information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  They had an annual median salary of $56,760.  Experienced professionals in the top tenth percent of their field made $74,410.

One of the main employers of forensic scientists in Kansas is the Forensic Lab Division of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.  It is headquartered in Topeka and has offices in the following cities:

  • Great Bend
  • Overland Park
  • Pittsburg

It employs specialists in the following areas:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Questioned documents
  • Toxicology
  • Latent prints
  • Firearms and tool marks

In addition to jobs as lab technicians, many of the positions for forensic scientists involve crime scene analysis.  Crime scene investigators (CSIs) occupy a variety of different type of positions.  Larger departments have specialists in various forensic disciplines such as the processing of latent prints, the analysis of bloodstain patterns, or chemical testing.

Other CSIs document and preserve evidence from the whole crime scene.  One crime scene investigator position in Olathe paid from $38,917 to $55,266 a year in 2013.

The BLS provides a detailed breakdown of salary data for the Kansas City metropolitan area.  Hourly and annual percentiles are provided in the following table:

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Kansas City MO-KS
80
48240

CSI and Forensic Scientist in Kansas City, Kansas

Kansas City, Kansas has seen its share of violent crime in recent years. When compared to the crime rates of the nation as a whole, Kansas City is safer than just 5 percent of the cities in the country. This represents a mixture of violent crime and property crime. Police officers in the city have their hands full, and know that the only way to really put a dent in the high crime rate is to make sure that repeat offenders are put behind bars. The work of a crime scene investigative professional is to look for clues that will help police officers solve a case, and put the bad guy behind bars.

People looking for a CSI job in Kansas City, Kansas may find employment with:

  • Kansas Highway Patrol
    • Investigations Unit
  • Kansas City, KS Police
    • CSI division

Those looking to enter a career as a CSI agent in Kansas City have three primary options: get a degree, enter law enforcement, and get certified.

Educational Requirements for CSI and Forensic Lab Professionals in Kansas City, Kansas

In recent years the field of CSI has gone high tech, with new procedures and techniques constantly being developed. In order to ensure that a CSI agent or forensic lab tech is fully competent they must have been trained in the requisite scientific background, and educated in a strict analytical thought processes.

Most job openings will require a bachelor’s degree, though in some situations an associate’s degree may suffice. Degree programs in the following areas of study are available in Kansas City:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Forensic Sciences
  • Criminology
  • Forensic Anthropology

Of all the aforementioned degree programs, those which have a forensic focus may be the best, as they most closely model the kind of work which will be done in the field.

Another useful route to becoming a crime scene investigator is to enter into law enforcement directly. This route is best when combined with at least an associate’s degree in a relevant area of study. In the case a person decides to become a police officer first, they must be prepared to meet all the criteria that would be required of any cadet. For example, to join the Kansas City, Kansas Highway Patrol the applicant must:

  • Be 21 years old
  • Be of good physical and mental condition
  • Be free of criminal background record (crime punishable by prison)
  • Poses a valid Kansas driver’s license.

Ongoing Education and Certification

A final way to show potential employers that one is serious about becoming a crime scene investigator or forensic lab technician is to get certified in CSI related fields of investigation. The International Association for Identification’s Kansas Division offers many diverse courses of study and certification in such fields as footwear identification, bloodstain pattern, and latent print.

Being a member of the IAI, and having any number of these certifications on the resume, is sure to show a potential employer that the applicant is serious about the field of forensics.


CSI and Forensic Scientist in Overland Park, Kansas

Violent crime in Overland Park, Kansas has become a relatively widespread problem over the last few years. In 2011 there were 289 violent crimes committed in the greater Overland Park area, which accounts for nearly two violent crimes committed per 1,000 residents.

Because of the rate of violent crime in the city, there is a demand for qualified individuals to investigate crime scenes and perform detailed and thorough analysis of evidence collected therein. For example, forensic evidence gathered by CSI professionals in Overland Park led to the capture and conviction of a 27-year-old man in the kidnapping, rape, and murder of an 18-year-old in 2007. The work of the investigators involved was integral in the conviction, which resulted in a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Crime scene investigators play an important role in capturing the individuals who commit these heinous acts and bringing them to justice. As such, law enforcement agencies are in need of forensic science technicians and crime scene investigators to properly collect, document, analyze, and store physical evidence found at crime scenes in an effort to track down and prosecute violent criminals.

Requirements for Careers in Forensic Science and Crime Scene Investigations in Overland Park

Despite some popular ideas to the contrary, the reality is that a career in forensic laboratory science or crime scene investigations involves painstaking work, often involving long hours as well as the need to be available and on-call around the clock every day of the year.  With Overland Park falling in the middle of Tornado Alley, CSI professionals could be called to help with evidence collection and examination in relation to tornado casualties and fatalities, which may present a fair amount of inherent danger.

For those with the right skills, the knowledge base and the fortitude to take on this challenging occupation, forensic science or crime scene investigations will present one of the most exciting and rewarding career choices available in America. CSIs enjoy a tremendous sense of pride and personal fulfillment in their contributions to the efforts of law enforcement and the prosecution of violent criminals.

Education is the key ingredient to success as a forensic science technician or crime scene investigator in Overland Park. There are a number of recommended degree programs that help prepare for the work involved. Some of the most relevant ones include:

  • Associate’s Degree in Criminal Investigations
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Forensic Science
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology
  • Bachelor’s of Science Degree in a Natural Science

Two and four-year degree programs are available at most Overland Park area colleges and universities. Specializing in a particular area such as evidence retrieval, DNA profiling, or toxicology may require education beyond a bachelor’s degree.

On-the-Job Training and Experience

One of the best ways to network and gain experience in the field of CSI is to get involved with members of the Overland Park law enforcement community while one’s degree program is still in progress. Getting involved with law enforcement and criminal investigations in any capacity can provide a form of supplemental training, and could be an invaluable way of getting acclimated to the job.

While the networking route does not carry any special requirements, becoming a police officer in Overland Park can be challenging. Consider the following law enforcement agencies with a presence in Overland Park:

  • The Overland Park Police Department –The Investigations Support Division of the Overland Park Police Department employs evidence technicians who collect, examine, and analyze physical evidence found at crime scenes.
  • The Johnson County Sherriff’s Office – The Johnson County Sherriff’s Office was established in 1861 and features several divisions including Investigations and a Criminalistics Laboratory.
  • Kansas Highway Patrol – The Kansas Highway Patrol has a force of over 800 officers. Founded in 1937, this force has reach across the entire state of Kansas.

As an example of challenge of becoming a police officer, consider the following example. In order to enter the Kansas Highway Patrol one would need to meet the following requirements (among others):

  • Have 20/40 corrected vision
  • Have good hearing and pass a hearing test
  • Pass physical agility test
  • Pass 23 weeks of rigorous training

CSI and Forensic Scientist in Wichita, Kansas

The rate of violent crime in the city of Wichita in 2010 exceeded the national average by nearly 100 percent and the rate of violent crime in the state of Kansas by over 117 percent. The state of Kansas includes in their definitions of violent crime acts of murder, rape, physical and sexual assault, and robbery. These kinds of crimes are only expected to increase in frequency in the greater Wichita area in the coming years.

Considering the current rate of violent crime and the expected increase, there is a demand among law enforcement agencies in Wichita for highly skilled and reliable crime scene investigators and forensic science technicians. Crime is an ongoing problem in every metropolitan area in America and the fight against that epidemic involves bringing those who perpetrate violent crimes to justice.

Crime scene professionals in Wichita play an integral role in the prosecution of criminals in the Kansas justice system through the meticulous and detailed collection, documentation, and analysis of physical evidence that is gathered at a crime scene. Traditionally crime scene investigators have typically been hired from within the law enforcement community as many CSIs began their careers as police officers or at least completed Police Academy training. Recently, however, it has become more and more common for agencies to hire civilian CSI professionals with little or no law enforcement experience but who have been trained in the science of criminal investigations.

Requirements for Careers in Forensic Science and Crime Scene Investigations in Wichita

In order to maintain a successful career in crime scene investigations, you must be serious about not only the job itself but about the education and training that are necessary for success. The educational requirements for becoming a CSI in Wichita vary from agency to agency and although there is generally no requirement among them for any specific type of degree, most CSIs have at least an associate’s degree in a criminal justice-related field. Many of them have a bachelor’s degree or even a master’s degree.

Universities and community colleges offer degree programs in fields directly related to crime scene investigations:

  • Molecular Biology
  • Forensic Chemistry
  • Forensic Biology
  • Criminal Justice with an emphasis on Forensic Science

Certification and Continuing Education

Education for crime scene investigators does not stop once they finish school. The complexities and proliferation of new knowledge within this expansive field are extensive and ongoing and as such require every CSI professional to continually update his or her knowledge base and skill set. As mentioned earlier in this article, many CSIs hold master’s degrees in their area of expertise in crime scene investigations. Pursuing your master’s is one of the best ways to keep your skills sharp and to stay abreast of the latest technology and innovations in the field of forensic science.

Additionally, certification in a particular area is an option that most CSIs exercise at some point early on in their careers. Crime Scene Certification is available through the International Association for Identification and can be earned in:

  • Crime Scene Analysis
  • Crime Scene Reconstruction
  • Bloodstain Pattern Analysis
  • Forensic Photography
  • Tenprint Fingerprinting

While certification is not a requirement per say, it is something that you will more than likely want to pursue once you have had some firsthand experience as a CSI professional. Certification helps advance your career and can open up doors to exciting opportunities in crime scene investigations that would otherwise be unavailable.

Forensic Careers in Wichita

The CSI series of television shows as well as other similar movies and television dramas have garnered unprecedented popularity among the general public. As such, there has been an exponential increase over the last few years in the number of people who are pursuing a career in forensic science. And while the movies and television shows that portray crime scene investigations are compelling and exciting to watch, they do something of a disservice to those wishing to become a CSI professional because they tend to over-glamorize the job. To be sure, a career as a CSI is an extremely exciting, fulfilling, and rewarding one but it is also tremendously demanding, so much so that many people who begin the education and training involved in becoming a CSI in Wichita never finish and move on to other endeavors.

The demands of the job are intense and require not only a high level of skill and competence but also a great deal of resilience and fortitude. Crime scenes are often grisly, gruesome areas and are not for the faint of heart. But if you are serious and you believe you have what it takes to be successful in this line of work, then you may be exactly the kind of professional that the Wichita law enforcement community is looking for.

There are a number of law enforcement agencies in Wichita that hire forensic science technicians and crime scene investigators. Some of them include:

  • The Wichita Police Department Homicide-Robbery-Follow Up Unit
  • The Sedgwick County Sherriff’s Department
  • The Kansas Highway Patrol Department
  • The Criminal Division in Wichita

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