As technology used to solve crimes becomes increasingly more sophisticated, and the achievements of forensic scientists become widely known, the need for these specialists is rapidly increasing. The Oregon Employment Department projects that the number of forensic science technician jobs in Washington and Multnomah counties will increase by 9.2% between 2010 and 2020.
The category of forensic science technicians includes both forensic scientists who work in labs and those who process crime scenes. Washington County provides employment opportunities for both types of forensic scientists.
Forensic Science Lab Jobs – Washington County has a Forensic Science Unit at its Sheriff’s Office that is part of the Criminal Investigations unit of this agency. Four criminalists work to process physical evidence from crime scenes. Members of this unit can deploy to assist police agencies throughout the county with their investigations.
CSI Jobs – A number of law enforcement agencies in the county employ crime scene investigators to process crime scenes. These can be either sworn officers with extensive training in forensics or civilians who have mastered this specialty. Some of these agencies include:
- Washington County Forensic Science Unit. The work of this unit was greatly enhanced when it hired four crime scene technicians who specialize in identifying and collecting evidence from crime scenes. The unit has a mobile crime lab that it brings to major crime scenes.
- Beaverton Police Department. Detectives of the Criminal Investigations Division specialize in investigating crime scenes with the assistance of civilian evidence technicians.
- Tigard Police Department. Police officers of this department have been trained to analyze crime scenes and collect evidence for further analysis.
How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator Forensic Scientist in Washington County
Criminalists. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office requires that its forensic scientists have college-level training and experience in one of the following areas:
- Criminal investigations
- Fingerprint classification
- Forensic science
CSIs. The requirements to become a crime scene investigator vary greatly depending on whether the position will be held by a police officer or a civilian.
- Civilian. Positions as crime scene technicians for Washington County require a high school education along a knowledge of the basic procedures for processing evidence. Evidence technicians for the Hillsboro Police Department are required to have a high school diploma or GED and some experience working with a police department. There is a lot of competition to obtain jobs as CSIs, and people that seek them frequently obtain formal criminal justice training.
- LEO. Ninety hours of college credit and/or work skills/life experience related to law enforcement are required to join the Beaverton Police Department. Frequently, prospective police officers obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice to prepare them to become sworn officers.
Forensic Science and CSI Colleges and Degree Granting Schools in Washington County
Residents of Washington County who seek a bachelor’s degree in forensics have their choice of several state schools.
Prospective criminal justice students can obtain degrees ranging from associate’s to master’s degrees from schools in Oregon or from one of the many online colleges that offer this type of training. Courses in this field frequently provide CSI specialty training.