How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator Forensic Scientist in Richmond, Virginia

Fully one third—120—of the forensic science technicians employed in Virginia in 2012 worked in Richmond that year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Forensic Science Lab Jobs – Most of the forensic science technician jobs in Richmond are for bench scientists.  The Central Lab of the Virginia Department of Forensic Science employs about 100 people to analyze the following types of physical evidence:

  • Biological
  • Controlled substances
  • Digital and multimedia
  • DNA
    • Databank
    • Mitochondrial
    • Firearms and toolmarks
    • Latent prints and impressions
    • Toxicological (including DUI and DUID)

There are many different types of positions in the Forensic Science Lab.  They represent separate career tracks.  For instance, a person applying to examine latent prints would be expected to have a different background than one applying to be a forensic DNA analyst.

The types of jobs available in this lab include:

  • Forensic science specialist I – III
  • Forensic Scientist I-III

CSI Jobs – Other types of forensic science jobs in Richmond are for crime scene investigators (CSIs) with the Richmond Police Department.  This work entails collecting and preserving forensic evidence in the field.  CSI work in Richmond is under the auspices of the Major Crimes Unit.

The Richmond Police Department has two Forensics Teams in this unit.  Team A is composed of a Sergeant, 3 Detectives, and two civilian CSIs.  These civilians were previously known as field evidence collection specialists, but are now considered to be forensic technicians I or II.  Team B is composed of a Sergeant and five Detectives.

The decision of whether or not to call the specialists to a scene is based on the technical requirements of the site.  CSIs investigate the scene of all homicides in Richmond.

How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator Forensic Scientist in Richmond

To become a civilian forensic scientist in Richmond requires a bachelor’s degree.  A degree in a hard science such as forensics or chemistry is required to obtain a position with the state’s Department of Forensic Science.  This type of position also typically requires lab experience in the specialty that the applicant has chosen.

The requirements for the bachelor’s degree to become a forensic technician with the city of Richmond are less restrictive.  This degree can be in forensics, police sciences, or a related field like criminal justice.

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Forensic Science and CSI Colleges and Degree Granting Schools in Richmond

Students who want to study forensic science or criminal justice have a wealth of opportunities in Richmond.  They can obtain the following bachelor of science degrees at a local school:

  • Criminal justice
  • Forensic biology
  • Forensic chemistry
  • Forensic crime scene investigation

Another degree option is to get a master’s in criminal justice or forensic science locally.  Criminal justice degrees are also available from online colleges for students who prefer the flexibility of obtaining a degree in this manner.

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