One hundred forensic science technicians were employed in the Raleigh area in 2012 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their numbers should increase dramatically in the coming years. The North Carolina Department of Commerce projects a 25.5% increase in the number of forensic science technician positions during the period between 2010 and 2020.
Forensic science technicians include both forensic scientists who work in laboratories and crime scene investigators (CSIs) who process forensic evidence from crime scenes. The career paths for these specialties can be quite different.
Forensic Science and CSI Jobs in Raleigh
North Carolina Department of Justice State Crime Laboratory – The state’s premier crime lab is located in Raleigh and is run by the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI). This lab will analyze all types of evidence that relate to any criminal investigation by a law enforcement agency in North Carolina. The jobs in this crime lab are primarily for forensic scientists who work at the bench analyzing evidence. Areas of specialty include the following:
- Digital evidence
- Firearms and tool mark
- Drug chemistry and toxicology
- Latent evidence
- Forensic biology and DNA
- Trace evidence
Raleigh Police Department – Officers for this agency investigate crime scenes and have received an extensive education in forensic science.
Raleigh/Wake City-County Bureau of Identification (CCBI) – This Bureau specializes in the identification of fingerprints. The North Carolina General Assembly created the bureau to be an independent agency supporting the criminal justice system of Wake County. Two divisions provide forensic work for the county. The Investigations Division responds to requests to investigate crime scenes, while the Crime Laboratory Division analyzes a number of different types of forensic evidence.
How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator Forensic Scientist in Raleigh
The requirements to become a crime scene investigator in Raleigh vary depending on whether the goal is to become a forensic scientist in a lab or a CSI in the field. The basic requirements for joining the Raleigh Police Department and become a CSI is to be at least 21 years old when sworn into the position. Frequently applicants for law enforcement positions increase their chances of being hired by obtaining a criminal justice degree.
CCBI Agents are required to have an associate’s degree in criminal justice, forensic science, or a related field to be able to work as crime scene investigators. To learn how to become a forensic scientist for the DOJ, individuals generally obtain a bachelor’s degree in a science such as forensics, biology, or chemistry.
Forensic Science and CSI Colleges and Degree Granting Schools in Raleigh
Schools in other locations in North Carolina offer the option of obtaining a forensic science degree. In Raleigh, residents have a number of choices to learn how to become a crime scene investigator.
There are two colleges located in Raleigh that offer criminal justice training. Prospective students can obtain a bachelor’s degree in criminology or a minor in crime and justice. Graduates have gone on to work for the SBI and the Raleigh PD.
Another option is to obtain an associate’s degree in criminal justice technology or latent evidence at a local school. This provides hands on training in CSI techniques. An additional choice is to take advantage of one of the many online schools that offer degrees in criminal justice. These programs satisfy the educational requirements to become a CCBI agent.