Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) Career Education in New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Department of Employment Security projects that, between the years 2010 to 2020, employment opportunities for detectives and crime scene investigators throughout the state will increase by 5.1 percent. The favorable outlook for this field is just one reason to look into becoming a crime scene investigator in New Hampshire. According to data provided by New Hampshire Employment Security – Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau, the mean annual salary for a crime scene investigator in New Hampshire as of June 2012 was $69,700. Of course, jobs for crime scene investigators are not the only CSI jobs in New Hampshire. Titles of other types of CSI jobs in the state include:

  • Criminal investigator
  • Forensic technician
  • Crime analyst
  • Digital forensic specialist

Read on to discover how to become a crime scene investigator in New Hampshire and to learn more about other types of CSI jobs in the state.

Crime Scene Investigator Education in New Hampshire

Becoming a crime scene investigator in New Hampshire requires education in criminal justice, crime scene investigation or a closely related discipline. Some CSI jobs in New Hampshire require that professionals hold a certificate or associate degree, while for others, a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree is necessary.

Crime Scene Investigation Certificates and Associate Degrees in New Hampshire

Jobs like the following require a minimum of a certificate or associate degree in New Hampshire:

  • Criminal investigations sergeant for city police department
  • Forensic technician for state police
  • State police investigator

Online and in state colleges, training schools and universities in New Hampshire offer these certificates and degrees in CSI-related fields:

  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Certificate in Crime Scene Investigation

CSI Bachelor and Graduate Degrees in New Hampshire

Crime scene investigation jobs in New Hampshire that require at least a bachelor’s degree include:

  • Crime analyst for city police department
  • Criminal investigations lieutenant for city police department
  • Forensic science examiner
  • Field investigation drug officer (DEA agent)
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New Hampshire schools in state and online offer these CSI-related degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science

Professional Training for Crime Scene Investigators in New Hampshire

Some crime scene investigation jobs in New Hampshire require employees to undergo specialized professional training, and at times to become certified by an organization. Opportunities that are typically offered to New Hampshire CSI professionals include:

Law Enforcement Organizations Housing CSI Jobs in New Hampshire

  • New Hampshire Department of Justice – Office of the Attorney General – The state attorney’s office gets involved in the investigation of some major crimes occurring in New Hampshire. Recent cases in which this department has assisted in investigations include shootings involving New Hampshire police officers. Investigators help in reconstructing crime scenes and gathering and processing evidence.

Forensics Salary for Lab Technicians and CSIs in New Hampshire

The amount of forensic science jobs in New Hampshire is expected to grow by 11.9% in the period from 2008 to 2018 according to the state’s Employment Security Job Notes.  Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that forty forensic science technicians were employed in New Hampshire in 2012.

BLS salary data indicates that the median salary of a forensic science technician in New Hampshire in 2012 was $63,140, while experienced professionals in the top tenth percent of their field made $74,990 a year on average.

Many of the forensics positions in New Hampshire are with the Crime Lab of New Hampshire’s State Police.  It provides forensic lab services to several hundred police departments in the state, along with numerous other law enforcement agencies.  Nearly 20,000 analyses were requested in 2011.  Some of the services offered by this lab involve the following:

  • Alcohol testing (blood and breath)
  • Controlled substance examinations
  • Digital evidence analysis
  • DNA analysis
  • Firearm/toolmark analysis
  • Latent impression analysis
  • Trace evidence analysis

In addition to working in the lab, forensic scientists also collect evidence at crime scenes and preserve it for analysis.  These types of scientists are known as crime scene investigators (CSIs).

Crime scene investigator positions vary a great deal.  In New Hampshire, many of the CSIs are sworn officers.  Members of the Major Crime Unit for the New Hampshire State Police conduct that agency’s crime scene investigations.

In other cases, civilians perform the functions of a CSI.  One such position offered by the state is a Criminalist V.  This person is the assistant director of the forensic lab and collects evidence from crime scenes.  This position paid $93,251 a year in 2012.

CSI and Forensic Scientist in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire

A recent Manchester burglary demonstrates the importance of forensic science teams in Hillsborough County. When employees at a recycling company contacted police about the theft of hundreds of pounds of copper from their premises, forensic experts readied for deployment. To the untrained eye the thieves made a clean getaway, but Manchester CSI specialists saw otherwise as they examined tire track marks, footprints, fingerprints, and pieces of evidence that may have contained DNA. The police department’s evidence unit processed the crime scene and sent samples to the State Police’s Forensic Laboratory for further analysis by a forensic lab scientist, also known as a criminalist.

Forensic science in Hillsborough County is a collaborative effort between dozens of town jurisdictions within the county lines, principal among them being the:

  • Manchester Police Department Investigative Division’s Evidence Unit
  • Merrimack Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Bureau, including the East Merrimack area
  • Nashua Police Department’s Crime Scene Unit and Evidence Division

Education for a Forensic Science Career in Hillsborough County

The first crime scene investigators to arrive on scene are usually police officers with specialized CSI training who take photographs and collect physical pieces of evidence. If greater expertise is needed police will call in crime scene evidence technicians who will take castings, analyze splatter patterns, and reconstruct the crime scene. The Nashua Police Department has a special crime scene unit for this express purpose, as does the State Police.

CSI jobs with these divisions are competitive, and candidates who possess the following certifications will make themselves more distinguished:

  • Bloodstain Pattern Analysis
  • Footwear
  • Forensic Video
  • Crime Scene Reconstructionist
  • Forensic Photography

Working as an evidence technician with the State Police requires an associate degree with major study in:

  • Health Science
  • Biology
  • Laboratory Technology
  • Forensic Science
  • Physical Science

Forensic science jobs held by criminalists at the State Police Crime Lab require incumbents to possess a bachelor degree in one of the following fields:

  • Forensic Science
  • Chemistry
  • Biological Sciences

There are over a dozen schools within a 70-mile radius of Hillsborough County that offer relevant degree programs for candidates who are interested in jobs in the forensic science field. Additionally there are several online schools offering certification and degree programs for a range of specializations.

Forensic Science at Work in Hillsborough County

Candidates interested in how to become a crime scene investigator and forensic scientist in Hillsborough County will also be curious to know what kinds of cases these professionals work with. Most often one thinks about securing evidence for use in trials that convict criminals. However one recent case demonstrates the opposite: a convicted criminal in a 1973 murder case is requesting new DNA tests to prove he is innocent of killing of a woman whose body was found lying on the frozen Merrimack River. In this case he is hoping the technological advances in the forensic field will provide exoneration.

CSI and Forensic Scientist in Merrimack County, New Hampshire

Convicting murderers and other criminals, bringing justice to the victims of crimes, and providing evidence for those wrongly convicted are the direct effects forensic science professionals working in Merrimack County have on their communities. CSI investigators, detectives, photographers and other professionals primarily operate in local law enforcement agencies to gather evidence for analysis by specialized lab technicians in Concord at the State Police’s Forensic Laboratory- the only full service lab of its kind in the state.

The largest employers of CSI professionals in the county include:

  • Merrimack County Sheriff’s Office
  • Concord Police Department’s detectives and evidence technicians
  • Franklin Police Department’s Detective Division
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Education Requirements to Work in Merrimack County’s Forensic Science Field

Candidates interested in working with local law enforcement agencies assisting and conducting CSI investigations will need to start by having a high school diploma or its equivalent.

Because CSI jobs are highly competitive it is also advisable to have some form of education credential; if not a degree then certification in any of the following can also increase a candidate’s competitiveness:

  • Forensic Art
  • Forensic Photography
  • Latent Print and Tenprint Fingerprint
  • Footwear
  • Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Forensic science jobs in the State Police Forensic Laboratory involve several specializations. Candidates for these positions must have an area of expertise and know basic laboratory techniques and procedures. Having a bachelor degree in any of the following is also a prerequisite for employment:

  • Forensic Science
  • Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Chemistry

Studying and Working in Merrimack County

As students learn about the process of how to become a crime scene investigator and forensic scientist in Merrimack County, progressive research will turn to education. There are a number of colleges in the Concord area that offer degree programs for students interested in the forensic science field. Additionally there are schools and universities located throughout the state offering relevant programs, as well as online resources where certifications and degrees are available.

Criminalists working at the State Police Forensic Laboratory in Concord carry a heavy responsibility, analyzing forensic evidence for 220 cities and towns across New Hampshire, and often times providing the strongest persuasion in cases that secure lifetime criminal convictions. Recently these professionals upgraded a key component in their toolkit and now have advanced DNA analysis capabilities. This was secured by $125,000 in grants, and allowed for the purchase of new equipment. As specialized forensic science lab technicians, criminalists provide the following services:

  • Drug chemistry analysis
  • Serology and DNA analysis
  • Firearms and toolmark evaluations
  • Urine analysis
  • Computer and video analysis
  • Fingerprint, tire tracks, and footwear lifting/casting
  • Blood alcohol analysis

These forensic lab scientists assisted the Concord Police Department in solving the following numbers of cases last year:

  • 30 rapes
  • 20 robberies
  • 191 burglaries
  • 29 auto thefts

CSI and Forensic Scientist in Rockingham County, New Hampshire

The forensic science field in Rockingham County is key to bringing justice to criminal perpetrators of crimes, as well as the victims. Residents are all too familiar with the recent tragic case involving a young woman who was killed by a man and his girlfriend accomplice, who then both dumped her body into the Piscataqua River, which has to the present time not been recovered.

Crime scene investigators and forensic lab scientists working on the case were able to gather enough evidence to charge the suspects with three counts of murder and witness tampering, conspiracy, and hindering prosecution, respectively.

Across the county, the following law enforcement agencies are prepared to deploy CSI professionals to crime scenes on short notice:

  • Derry Police Department
  • Londonderry Police Department
  • Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office
  • Salem Police Department
  • Portsmouth Police Department

Studying for a Career in Forensic Science

Candidates interested in learning how to become a crime scene investigator or forensic laboratory scientist in Rockingham County will find several colleges in the vicinity that offer degree programs directly pertinent to forensic science careers. In addition to these, students will also find a number of online schools offering both certification courses as well as degree programs in this field.

The following are general requirements as described by Rockingham County’s law enforcement agencies:

  • Evidence Technician: These technicians are responsible primarily for the proper storage of evidence and may also be asked to assist at local crime scenes. Positions require at least a high school education.
  • Crime Scene Investigators: In this group there are various specializations, with the more science-oriented necessitating at least an associate degree in an appropriate field:
    • Photography
    • Crime scene reconstruction
    • Fingerprint lifting and analysis
    • Trace evidence collection

The stated minimum education requirements are often not enough in these competitive CSI jobs, and candidates are therefore encouraged to pursue certifications such as:

  • Crime Scene Analyst
  • Crime Scene Investigator
  • Forensic Photography
  • Latent Print and Fingerprint
  • Forensic Video

Forensic science jobs are with the State Police Crime Lab and require candidates to have at minimum a bachelor degree in any of the following sciences:

  • Forensic Science
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • DNA and Genetics

A Recent Murder Case in Rockingham County

Crime scene and evidence experts working with the recent case involving the murder of a University of New Hampshire student were able to assist in the prosecution of the two now-convicted perpetrators using tried and true techniques plus the latest advances in technology:

  • Computer forensics specialists were able to check cell phone records to determine that text-message evidence had been erased and fabricated
  • DNA recovery experts and fingerprint technicians were able to locate both suspects’ DNA and prints in the victim’s car
  • CSI detectives were able to find and pursue discrepancies in the alibis offered by the perpetrators
  • Serology and DNA experts were able to obtain incriminating evidence from the male suspect’s apartment
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