Crime statistics show that in the year 2008 alone, 416,060 violent crimes were reported in North Carolina. These figures included at least 604 murders, prompting the heightening of security measures in and around the state. Even though capital punishment is applied in North Carolina, the state realizes that one of the best ways to prevent violent crime is to quickly get offenders off the street. This has resulted in an intensification of the training of CSI officers, to help deal with the unacceptable levels of crime.
Taking into consideration the sometimes high crime levels in the state, law enforcement agencies, such as North Carolina’s state Bureau of Investigations, are employing qualified and experienced CSI officers to help in collection of evidence required to bring closure to unsolved crimes and other active cases.
Though every state agency can usually set their own requirements for the CSI professionals they choose to hire, there are certain general recommendations that significantly increase the chances of entering this very exciting career field. These include:
- Earning a degree
- Becoming a police officer
- Getting certified in CSI related coursework
The payoff could be a dream CSI related job with such North Carolina agencies as:
- North Carolina’s State Bureau of Investigation
- Intelligence Unit
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department
- Investigative Services
- Raleigh Police
- Detective Unit
- North Carolina Highway Patrol
- Investigations Unit
Earning a Relevant CSI Degree in North Carolina
Almost all successful CSI professionals working in different departments In North Carolina hold a bachelor’s degree in fields relevant to their individual specialty. Earning a degree is not only a way to earn the knowledge needed to successfully complete the tasks of the job; a degree also serves to provide the much needed emphasis on interdisciplinary courses such as molecular biology and criminal justice, which are preferred in this line of work.
Examples of the degree programs offered in North Carolina that are relevant to crime scene investigation include:
- Forensic science
Importance of Law Enforcement Experience to CSI training in North Carolina
Prior experience working as a law enforcement officer in North Carolina serves as an added advantage while preparing for a career as a crime scene investigator. Many people who wish to enter the CSI field simply enroll into police academy, looking to work their way up. This kind of approach has the advantage of allowing the applicant to be on the “inside” and learn all about police life. The disadvantage is that, lacking a relevant degree, being an outstanding police officer may not be enough to land a coveted CSI position. With an unemployment rate of 8.7 percent, well over the national average, North Carolinians can expect a tough job market.
Additionally, in order to become a police officer, one must meet all requirements. This may be no easy task. For example, to qualify for the North Carolina Highway Patrol one must (among other requirements):
- Be between 21 and 39
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Be physically fit
- Pass a written exam
- Pass a background test
- Have 20/20 vision in each eye, or vision corrected to 20/20
Certification of CSI officers in North Carolina
Getting certified in CSI related coursework is another way to show an employer that one is serious about being a crime scene investigator. The country’s premiere CSI certification organization, the International Association for Identification has a North Carolina chapter. Applicants in North Carolina who are certified are considered by employers to be serious applicants who are interested in law enforcement, solving crimes, and most importantly developing a successful CSI career. There are several certification options within North Carolina’s division of the international Association of Identification, all of which should be carefully considered by anyone serious about a career in crime scene investigations.