According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, eighty forensic science technicians were employed in the Norfolk area in 2012. Slightly more than half of these forensic scientists were employed at the Eastern Laboratory of the Virginia Department of Forensic Sciences located in Norfolk.
Forensic science technician positions include both forensic scientists who analyze data in a lab and those who work at crime scenes.
Forensic Laboratory Science Jobs – The Forensic Lab in Norfolk provides jobs for approximately 45 people. They have forensic scientists who specialize in one of these particular areas:
- Controlled substances
- Forensic biology
- Forensic toxicology
- Firearms and toolmarks
- Latent prints
- Trace evidence
Crime Scene Investigation Jobs – In Norfolk, detectives of the Norfolk Police Department’s Forensic Section investigate crime scenes. These crime scene investigators (CSIs) are part of the Investigative Services Bureau. In 2011, these forensic investigators processed 3,000 crime scenes. They were able to match over 900 latent fingerprints to known suspects.
Forensic Laboratory Science and CSI Colleges in Norfolk
Prospective forensic science students in Norfolk seeking to obtain a bachelor’s degree have their choice of several state schools. They can obtain a BS in forensic science or a chemistry degree with a concentration in forensic chemistry.
Residents of Norfolk who want to obtain a degree in criminal justice have their choice of several colleges located in the city or a number of online accredited schools. Degree types available in Norfolk include the following:
- Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor’s of Science in criminal justice
- Bachelor of Arts in applied sociology with a concentration in crime and criminal justice
- Master of Arts in criminal justice
- Ph.D. in criminology and criminal justice
How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator Forensic Scientist in Norfolk
The career paths to become a forensic scientist in the lab and a Norfolk crime scene investigator are very different.
Forensic Laboratory Scientist – To become a forensic scientist, a bachelor’s degree in a hard science such as biology, chemistry, or forensic science is typically required. Candidates are generally required to have experience in the specialty they will be working on. For instance, a forensic scientist—latent print applicant is expected to have experience with fingerprint pattern recognition.
The Virginia Department of Forensic Sciences has revamped its forensic job classifications. Some of the current positions are listed below, along with their previous class titles.
- Forensic science specialist I
- Fingerprint technician
- Fingerprint technician senior
- Forensic science specialist II and Forensic scientist I
- Forensic photographer
- Forensic scientist trainee
- Fingerprint technician supervisor
- Forensic science specialist III and Forensic scientist II
- Forensic scientist
- Forensic scientist senior
- Forensic scientist supervisor
Crime Scene Investigator – To become a crime scene investigator in this city, individuals must join the Norfolk Police Department and be promoted to a detective. The minimum requirements to join the force are a high school diploma or GED, but being chosen to become a police officer is a competitive process. Applicants frequently obtain a degree in criminal justice to increase their chances of being chosen.
Once investigators have been assigned to the Forensic Section of the Detective Division, they receive a mix of on the job training and education at technical schools on how to become a CSI.