The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services projects that the number of forensic science jobs in Ohio will increase by 13.3% in the ten year period leading up to 2020. This includes both forensic scientists in labs and crime scene investigators (CSIs).
There are two forensic science labs in Cincinnati that employ forensic scientists.
Hamilton County Coroner’s Crime Laboratory. In 2012, this lab processed 43,226 items from 12,838 cases. The primary analyses carried out by the lab’s scientists were examining evidence for the presence of drugs. This accounted for eighty percent of the items analyzed by the lab. The crime lab employs a number of forensic scientists, and positions available at the lab include:
- Evidence technicians
- Forensic analysts I, II, and III
- Forensic lab technicians
FDA National Forensic Chemistry Center. The FDA uses its lab in Cincinnati to perform research and analyze foods and pharmaceuticals for counterfeiting, the presence of hazardous materials, and product tampering.
Crime Scene Investigation. Two law enforcement agencies based in Cincinnati investigate crime scenes:
- Cincinnati Police Department
- Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office
The local police department uses sworn officers to process crime scenes, while the sheriff’s department has a special crime scene squad as part of its criminal investigation section.
Forensic Science and CSI Degrees Available in Cincinnati
Cincinnati provides a number of avenues for degrees in criminal justice and forensic science, including the option of a B.S. in forensics at a local school. Criminal justice degrees available from colleges in Cincinnati include:
- Of applied business – criminal justice
- Of arts in business – criminal justice
- Of science – criminal justice tech: forensics
- Of technical studies –law enforcement
- Of science – criminology/sociology
- Of science – criminal justice
- Of science – criminal justice management
Another option is to enroll in one of the many online schools that offer associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice.
How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator or Forensic Lab Tech in Cincinnati
The career paths to become involved in crime scene investigation vary, depending on whether the goal is to analyze evidence in a lab or work in the field as a crime scene investigator. A four-year degree in a natural science such as forensics, chemistry, or biology is required to become a forensic analyst or a forensic laboratory technician for Hamilton County.
In addition to having a science or engineering degree, the FDA requires that applicants for positions as forensic chemists have 30 semester hours in chemistry and substantial coursework in math and physics.
The basic requirement to become a crime scene investigator for the Cincinnati Police Department is to have a high school diploma or GED. The department prefers applicants with college experience, and many applicants for law enforcement positions obtain associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.