Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) Career Education in Ohio

Over 300 crime scene investigators were employed in Ohio in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor of Statistics. The average 2012 salaries for these professionals in selected cities in Ohio are listed below:

  • Akron:  $60,250
  • Cleveland:  $60,940
  • Columbus:  $53,690

34,595 violent crimes were reported in Ohio in 2012.  Crime scene investigators (CSIs) have been pivotal in the efforts to solve these crimes.

As soon as a crime scene has been secured, CSIs are brought onto the scene.  They begin analyzing the scene by photographing it. Crime scene investigators collect physical evidence to be analyzed in crime labs, including:

  • Blood patterns
  • Fingerprints
  • Shoe and tire impressions
  • Bodily fluids that can contain DNA

These professionals also prepare written reports documenting their findings and frequently are called to testify in court.

Ohio Crime Scene Investigation Units

Nationally, 90% of crime scene investigators have jobs with state or local government, primarily with law enforcement agencies.

Crime labs in Ohio that provide experts to assist law enforcement agencies with their crime scene analysis include:

  • Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) Crime Scene Unit
  • Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab
  • Lake County Crime Lab

Law enforcement agencies that have local CSI units in Ohio include:

  • Canton Police Department Investigative Unit:  Crime Scene Unit
  • Columbus, Ohio Division of Police Crime Scene Unit

Types of CIS Jobs in Ohio

The education and training needed to become a crime scene investigator in Ohio varies greatly, depending on the type of CSI position. Some CSIs are civilian employees of law enforcement agencies, and the requirements for these jobs do not entail academy training.  In other cases, the CSIs are detectives with forensic training.

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Civilian CSIs. College degrees may or not be required to gain employment as a civilian CSI.  For instance, to become a police evidence technician does not necessarily require a degree, although having an associate degree’s in criminal justice can substitute for the experience that such positions typically require.  In contrast, the requirements to become a forensic scientist typically include having a bachelor’s degree with a significant amount of coursework in the sciences.

Residents of Ohio can choose between studying CSI techniques as part of a criminal justice or forensic degree or certificate offered at state schools or enrolling in one of the online schools that offers training in this field.

LEO CSIs.  Other CSIs are sworn officers with a substantial amount of investigative experience.  To become this type of CSI, applicants must be accepted as law enforcement officers.  While this does not always entail having a degree, obtaining an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice can help applicants to be hired.  They will have to complete their training at a law enforcement academy to become sworn officers.

Typically, such officers work on the force for several years before being promoted to be a CSI and receive substantial amounts of training in the forensic sciences.  The Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab is one entity that trains police officers in crime scene analysis.

All types of CSIs continue their education while on the job.  The technologies involved in crime scene analysis are rapidly evolving, and CSIs frequently take additional courses to keep up with new techniques being developed.

CSI Certification in Ohio

Crime scene investigators tend to engage with other colleagues professionally, and these professionals in Ohio have the option of joining the Ohio Identification Officers Association.  This is a branch of the International Association of Identification that offers conferences in Ohio that discuss aspects of crime scene investigations.  The organization offers certification to professionals that are highly skilled in various aspects of the forensic sciences.

Forensics Salary for Lab Technicians and CSIs in Ohio

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services predicts that the number of forensic science technician positions in the state will increase 13.3% from 2010 to 2020.  Seventy-six percents of these jobs are projected to come from people leaving the workforce.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 310 people had jobs as forensic science technicians in the state in 2012.  Their average salary was $55,730 with those in the 90th percentile earning $78,760.  Salaries for selected cities in Ohio are listed below:

Ohio City
Average Annual Salary

In 2013, a forensic scientist – chemistry position in Richfield paid from $47,299 to $76,107 a year.

Ohio has several crime labs, including those of the high profile Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) Laboratory Division that processes more than 100,000 pieces of evidence a year.

Many forensic scientists work in the field instead of the lab.  They process crime scenes – documenting the site and preserving evidence for further analysis.  These crime scene investigators (CSIs) come from a variety of backgrounds.  Some are sworn officers who have formal law enforcement academy training, while others are civilians with college training in criminal justice or forensics.

Crime scene investigator salaries vary widely, depending on the type of the position and the background of the CSI.  The 2013 salary for a police evidence technician in Columbus ranged from $21,798 to $33,925 a year.

The BLS provides salary information for forensic science technicians throughout Ohio.  This data is provided in the table found below:

Area name
Annual mean wage
Akron OH
Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor OH
Columbus OH
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