How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator Forensic Scientist in Cuyahoga County, Ohio

The number of jobs available to forensic science technicians is increasing nationally, and Ohio is no exception.  The Department of Job and Family Services projects a 13.3% increase in the number of forensic science jobs in Ohio during the current ten year period leading up to 2020.

Forty forensic scientists were employed in the Cleveland area in 2012 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Requirements for Forensic Laboratory Science and CSI Jobs in Cuyahoga County

The paths to becoming a forensic scientist and a CSI differ in Cuyahoga County.  The requirements to become a forensic DNA examiner or analyst include having at least a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent degree in one of the following areas:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Forensic science
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The county requires that applicants have some training in population genetics and have taken the following types of courses:

  • Biochemistry
  • Statistics
  • Genetics
  • Molecular biology

CSIs for the Cleveland Division of Police are sworn officers.  Thus, prospective CSIs must join the police department.  Although the department only specifies that applicants complete a high school education, many of its police officers have degrees ranging from associates to doctorates.  To be competitive candidates, many law enforcement officer applicants obtain formal degrees in criminal justice.

Residents of Cuyahoga County that want to become a forensic scientist or CSI have a number of options in the Cleveland area.  Schools located in the city provide the following:

    • Associate’s degrees
      • Criminal justice (includes CSI and forensic training)
      • Law enforcement


  • Bachelor’s degree
    • Criminology

In addition, prospective students can take advantage of the flexibility provided by online study and enroll in one of the many institutions that offer these types of degrees.

Forensic Science CSI Jobs in Cuyahoga County

Forensic science careers can include both bench work as a forensic scientist and specialized field work such as crime scene investigations. Cuyahoga County provides opportunities for both.

Forensic Laboratory Jobs – After a ten-year collaborative effort, the Cuyahoga County Regional Forensic Science Lab (CCRFSL) was created at the Coroner’s Office in Cleveland in 2010.  This crime lab employs over 20 forensic scientists who analyze such forensic evidence as:

  • DNA
  • Fingerprints
  • Firearms
  • Narcotics

The opening of this lab has greatly enhanced the investigation of crimes in the county, since test results come back substantially quicker than when investigators had to rely on the state’s crime lab.  In addition, forensic scientists can perform cutting edge DNA analysis on male DNA that helps to identify rapists.

CSI Jobs – Those seeking jobs as crime scene investigators can do so by joining the Cleveland Division of Police.  This Division has done some groundbreaking investigative work that included producing the first conviction that involved matching a palm print to a suspect.

The forensic scientists in the department were reassigned to the CCRFSL, but CSIs continue to work out of the Crime Scene Unit in the Division’s Technical Section.

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