Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) Career Education in Nevada

More than 15,300 violent crimes were committed in Nevada in 2011.  Forensic scientists helped to solve a number of these cases.  190 crime scene investigators were employed in Nevada in 2012, earning an average annual salary of $64,450.  The Reno-Sparks area has the seventh highest concentration of forensic professionals of any metropolitan area in the country.

Many of these forensic scientists are specialists in analyzing crime scenes and documenting the evidence.  Although glamorized in the popular media, these crime scene investigators (CSIs) are on call round the clock and can be exposed to horrific crime scenes including decomposing bodies and hazardous chemicals.

Despite the quick turnover seen on TV, it can take up to a week to analyze a crime scene.  CSIs typically:

  • Document the crime scene by sketching, photography, and videography
  • Analyze the crime scene to locate physical evidence
  • Inspect the crime scene in detail to locate evidence
  • Collect and preserve any physical evidence for further analysis

Nevada Crime Scene Investigation Units

Most of the crime scene investigator jobs in Nevada are with state and local governments.  Ninety percent of CSIs are employed in this manner.  Some of the agencies in Nevada that employ CSIs include the following:

  • Nevada Department of Public Safety
    • Investigation Division
  • Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
  • Washoe County Sheriff’s Office
    • Forensic Investigation Section (FIS)
  • Henderson Police Department
  • Boulder City Police Department
    • Investigation Division
      • Detective Bureau
  • Carson City Sheriff’s Office
    • Crime Lab

Types of CSI Jobs in Nevada

The types and responsibilities of CSIs vary greatly with different law enforcement agencies in Nevada.  Some departments employ civilians to be CSIs, while others use detectives.

Civilian CSIs.  One of the departments that employs civilians as CSIs is the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department that has over 30 such crime scene analysts.  In this department, a crime scene analyst I is the entry level position for CSIs.  The equivalent of an associate science degree with major science course work is required for these positions.  Specialized training in CSI must be part of that coursework.  In contrast to this position, experience is required for those applying for crime scene analyst II positions.

In the Henderson Police Department, the entry level CSI job is a crime scene technician.  This position requires a bachelor’s degree with major science course work, including specialized CSI training, or an equivalent amount of training, education, and work experience.  Individuals with more experience are hired as crime scene analysts by this department.  Crime scene technicians generally process property crimes, while crime scene analysts investigate crimes involving violence.

Individuals can obtain CSI training from criminal justice schools within Nevada or by enrolling in one of the online schools that offer such degrees.

LEO CSIs.  The forensic specialists in other departments that analyze crime scenes are detectives in investigation units.  They are generally chosen from patrol officers that have several years of distinguished service.

While a high school diploma is often the minimum requirement to become a law enforcement official, having an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice can give applicants an enhanced level of training.  Applicants will have to undergo formal academy training before they are sworn in as officers.

All types of CSIs continue their education and training by taking further coursework to stay abreast of the ever-changing technology in the fields of forensics.  In some cases, CSIs in Oregon are required to complete the forensic science correspondence course of the American Institute of Applied Science within their first year on the job.

CSI Certification in Nevada

CSIs working in Nevada may want to join the Nevada State Division of the International Association for Identification.  This organization of forensic scientists fosters enhanced education and training for individuals in these fields.  It offers highly prized certification in various forensic specialties, including crime scene investigation.  Having this certification confers enhanced credibility upon the recipients.

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