Although the state of Virginia predicts only modest growth in job opportunities for crime scene investigators (CSIs) in the state between 2010 and 2020, Virginia is still a great place to train to become a crime scene investigator. With expected growth of 1.5 percent in the state for CSIs during that decade, Virginia is situated close to our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., as well as Maryland, where many more CSI jobs are expected to be found in the long-term outlook. Crime trends in Virginia for 2012 indicate that crimes will still occur in the state, which may push the need for crime scene investigators higher in the state by 2020. Crime scene investigators gather and analyze physical and trace evidence from crime scenes. They must receive specialized education and field training prior to being qualified for crime scene investigation jobs in Virginia.
Titles of CSI jobs in Virginia include:
- Crime scene investigator
- Forensic examiner
- Latent print analyst
Crime Scene Investigator Education in Virginia
Crime scene investigator jobs in Virginia vary in the educational and experiential prerequisites one must fulfill to obtain the job. A certificate or associate degree is sufficient for some positions, while others require an undergraduate or graduate degree.
Crime Scene Investigation Certificates and Associate Degrees in Virginia
Certificates and associate degrees in crime scene investigation available in Virginia include:
- Certificate in Forensic Investigation
- Associate of Science in Forensic Science
- Associate of Science in Criminology and Forensic Technology
CSI jobs like the ones listed below require a certificate or associate CSI degree:
- Forensic photographer
- Case inventory technician
- Forensic latent print analyst
CSI Bachelor and Graduate Degrees in Virginia
Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in crime scene investigation available in Virginia include:
- Bachelor of Arts/Science in Psychology-Criminal Justice
- Master of Science in Forensic Psychology
- Bachelor of Science in Digital Forensics Technology
- Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science
- Master of Science in Forensic Science
Crime scene investigation jobs such as the following require bachelor or master level CSI degrees:
- Evidence technician supervisor
- Computer forensic specialist
- Forensic examiner- tool marks
- Forensic examiner – trace evidence
- Forensic program manager
- Forensic lead investigator
- Crime scene investigator
- Section commander
Professional Training for Crime Scene Investigators in Virginia
Professional and ongoing training opportunities are available in Virginia for those already employed in crime scene investigation. They include:
- Virginia Homicide Investigators Association – Courses include:
- Basic homicide investigation
- Initial response to homicide scenes
- Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services – Offers CSI training to law enforcement professionals employed with certain agencies throughout the state
Law Enforcement Organizations Supporting CSI Jobs in Virginia
- City of Alexandria Police Department Crime Scene Investigation Section – The CSI Section of this major city police department collects and processes evidence from crime scenes throughout the city. Crime scene investigators, latent fingerprint examiners, and a Section Commander make up the team.
- FBI Laboratory – The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s main laboratory is located in rural Virginia, in an undisclosed location. It employs many types of crime scene investigators, including but not limited to:
- Document analyst
- Forensic engineer
- Forensic canine operations specialist
- Physical science technician
- Visual information specialist
- Fairfax County Police Department Crime Scene Investigation – The CSI department of this county police department gathers and processes evidence from crime scenes throughout the county. It currently employs three supplemental crime scene officers.
- Pulaski Police Department Investigative Division – The Investigative Division of this town police department located in southwest Virginia employs officers and technicians who are specially trained in the methods and techniques of crime scene investigation. It currently employs a Criminal Investigation Sergeant, Detective, and Operations Lieutenant.
- Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation – This Bureau of the State Police investigates major crimes taking place across Virginia. Within its Criminal Intelligence Division, Field Intelligence Officers collect information from crime scenes, while Research and Analytical Officers analyze and process that information.
Forensics Salary for Lab Technicians and CSIs in Virginia
Salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that forensic science technicians who worked in Virginia in 2012 had the fifth highest average salary of any U.S. state. It was $66,360 with experienced professionals averaging substantially more: $97,310 a year.
The BLS provides data for the salaries of forensic science technicians in some of the cities in Virginia. They are listed below:
Of the 360 jobs in this field that were located in Virginia in 2012, one third of them were in Richmond. This city is the site of the Central Laboratory of the Virginia Department of Forensic Science and has a staff of around one hundred. Additional labs are located in the following cities:
Salary ranges from 2013 are available for forensic scientists who work for the Commonwealth. There are two or three levels of each of the following positions with increasing salaries as the position requires more responsibility.
- Forensic science specialist: $23,999 – $84,062
- Forensic scientist: $31,352 – $109,818
A latent print examiner in Arlington made from $47,082 to $77,792 a year in 2013.
In addition to working as technicians in a lab, many forensic scientists are crime scene investigators (CSIs) and do their work in the field. According to Indeed.com, the average salary for a crime scene investigator in Virginia was $57,000 in the year preceding October 2013.
The BLS provides a detailed salary breakdown for forensic science technicians in several locations in Virginia in 2012. It is provided below: