How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator Forensic Scientist in Charleston County, South Carolina

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Forensic science in Charleston County is a team effort, creating a net force that puts criminals behind bars as well as bringing closure and justice to victims. This work must be conducted by well trained and educated professionals who strengthen the evidence with their credibility through expert witness testimony during criminal trials. Last year in the city of Charleston alone, forensic professionals provided their services in 12 homicide cases, 21 sex offense cases, and 399 burglaries.

Some of the main employers of forensic lab scientists and CSI specialists in Charleston County include:

  • Charleston Police Department
  • North Charleston Police Department
  • Mount Pleasant Police Department
  • Summerville Police Department
  • South Carolina Law Enforcement Division
  • Charleston County Sheriff’s Office

Preparing for Forensic Science and CSI Jobs in Charleston County

As candidates explore what it takes to become a crime scene investigator or forensic laboratory scientist in Charleston County, the inevitable question of education will arise. The oldest university and the largest two-year college in the state are both located in Charleston, along with at least four other schools that offer relevant degree programs in forensic science fields. There are also opportunities available with online colleges and schools spread throughout the rest of the state.

Education requirements vary according to a professional’s area expertise:

  • Criminalists: Although these professionals may at times interrogate suspects and liaise with CSI agents, they primarily conduct analysis in a controlled laboratory environment on evidence obtained from the scenes of crimes. Positions in this field require a bachelor’s degree in any relevant field of science or in forensic science and criminalists specifically.

  • Forensic Technicians: Receiving, cataloging, and storing evidence is part of the job description for these technicians, however a large portion of forensic science jobs in this field deal with the lab analysis of crime scene evidence. Entry-level candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in forensic science, which will allow for greater job prospects and also help to fulfill experience requirements.

  • Crime Scene Investigators: These agents hail from law enforcement agencies and include everyone from detectives to forensic photographers and digital evidence recovery specialists, all of whom work at crime scenes to recover evidence that will generate leads and be presentable in court. Two and four-year degrees in appropriate fields are good for career mobility and credentials, and certification programs are also offered in areas such as:

    • Crime Scene Reconstruction
    • Forensic Photography and Video Production
    • Fingerprints and Latent Prints
    • Forensic Art
    • Crime Scene Reconstruction

Forensics at Work in Charleston County

The Charleston Police Department’s Forensic Laboratory and Crime Scene Unit is one of the busiest in the state and provides critical services to its partner law enforcement agencies. Last year it released the following noteworthy statistics:

  • Latent Print Division analyzed 10,080 latent prints from 1,206 cases
  • 348 digital devices were examined from 149 cases
  • 209 events were recorded by forensic photographers
  • Crime Scene Technicians recovered 3,260 pieces of evidence from 1,817 calls for service
  • Forensic Laboratory examined:

    • 2,153 cases involving suspected controlled substances
    • 15 serology and DNA cases
    • 17 fire debris cases
    • In total 6,752 specimens from 2,185 cases

Recommended degrees for these fields include:

  • Forensic Science
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • DNA and Genetics
  • Molecular Biology

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