How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator Forensic Scientist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Through its Office of Forensic Science, the Philadelphia Police Department provides both lab jobs to forensic laboratory scientists and civilian positions for crime scene investigators (CSIs).

The facility that houses these scientists received quite a bit of press when it was built in a renovated school that had been abandoned for decades.  In addition to being a state of the art forensics lab, it was chosen as a top ten green project for 2006 by the American Institute of Architects.

This Office has a number of different units that offer forensic laboratory science and CSI jobs.  They include the following:

    • Scientific Services Division
      • Chemistry unit
      • Criminalistic unit


  • Technical Services Division
    • Evidence services unit
    • Crime scene unit
    • Firearms certification unit
    • Computer forensics


Requirements for CSIs and Forensic Laboratory Scientist in Philadelphia

The requirements to become a forensic laboratory scientist and crime scene investigator with the Office of Forensic Science vary greatly depending on the position being offered.

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An associate’s degree or certification from a medical lab along with lab experience is required to be a criminalistics technician.

A higher level of education is required to be considered for a job as a forensic scientist I.  The department requires a bachelor’s degree. The specific fields vary depending on the specialty that the scientist will be examining:

    • Biology Specialty
      • Biological science
      • Biomedical engineering
      • Chemistry
      • Forensic (or a related science)


    • Chemistry Specialty
      • Chemistry or one of the following with 24 semester hours in chemistry or biochemistry
        • Applied science
        • Biological science
        • Chemical engineering
        • Forensic science
        • Physical or natural science


  • Pattern Evidence Specialty
    • Applied science
    • Biological science
    • Chemistry
    • Engineering
    • Forensic science
    • Physical or natural science

The following technical positions require a high school education along with experience:

  • Crime scene examiner
  • Firearms examiner trainee
  • Firearms examiner
  • Fingerprint identification specialist 1 and 2

Although there is no requirement to have a college education, there is a lot of competition to obtain CSI and technical forensic jobs.  Many applicants obtain degrees in criminal justice that often have coursework on CSI techniques.

Forensic Laboratory Science and CSI Degree Granting Schools in Philadelphia

Individuals who live in the Philadelphia area and want to get criminal justice or forensics training locally have a wealth of options.  They can get a bachelor’s degree in forensic science from a college located in Philadelphia.

Criminal justice degrees available from local schools include the following:

  • Certificate – criminal justice profession training
  • Associate of applied science – justice
  • Bachelor of Arts – criminal justice
  • Bachelor of Science – criminal justice
  • Master of Arts – criminal justice
  • Ph.D. – criminal justice

For students who prefer the flexibility of online learning, an array of criminal justice degrees is available from a number of online colleges.

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