Eighty forensic science technicians were employed in Oklahoma City in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This field is growing rapidly, and the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission projects that the number of forensic jobs in the state will increase by 20.33% in the period between 2008 and 2018. This is greater than the level of growth predicted at the national level.
The category of forensic science technicians includes both forensic scientists that analyze evidence in labs and those that work in the field as crime scene investigators (CSIs). Both types of positions are available in Oklahoma City.
Forensic Science Jobs – There are two crime labs operating in Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma City Police Department has a lab with three units to process evidence collected from crime scenes. They include the following:
- Fingerprint identification
- Forensic services
- Firearms examination
In addition, the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office Forensic Laboratory is also located in Oklahoma City. Its scientists analyze a wide range of types of forensic evidence ranging from hairs and fibers to the identification of blood. This lab assists nine other law enforcement agencies in the county.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Oklahoma City also hires forensic chemists to analyze human fluids and tissues for the presence of drugs.
CSI Jobs – Both of the local Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office have investigators with forensic training who analyze crime scenes. The CSIs of the Sheriff’s Office are sworn deputies of the Investigations Division.
In 2013, the Oklahoma City Police Department began transitioning its CSI team to include civilians. These civilian investigation specialists (CISs) are being trained to photograph crime scenes, dust for fingerprints, and interview witnesses. Eventually, the entire team will be composed of civilians.
How to Become a CSI Forensics Professional in Oklahoma City
The requirements to become a forensic scientist differ depending on whether the goal is to work in a lab or as a crime scene investigator. The educational requirements to become an entry level forensic chemist for the Medical Examiner’s Office include having a strong background in chemistry with either a B.S. in the field or one that is closely related. Thirty semester hours of chemistry are required for this position.
Those hired as civilian crime scene investigators for the Police Department are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree in one of the following areas:
- Crime scene investigation
- Criminal justice
- Forensic science
- Law enforcement.
Prospective students seeking an education in forensic science, including training in CSI techniques, have a range of options in Oklahoma City. They can obtain a certificate of criminal forensics from a local college.
Colleges that offer degrees in the field of criminal justice range from local schools that offer both bachelors and master’s degrees in criminology, to online schools that offer an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.