How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator Forensic Scientist in Seattle, Washington

According to the Seattle Police Department, major crime trends in Seattle for 2013 show that the number of burglaries have increased by 23 percent while vehicle theft has increased by 15 percent over 2012 figures. However, according to Department data, violent crimes in Seattle were at their highest rate in 1988, while the total number of violent crimes was at its lowest rate in 2012.

As the rate of violent crimes decrease and the occurrence of property crimes increase, crime scene investigators and forensic laboratory scientists throughout Seattle have been able to shift their focus to collecting and processing evidence related to theft, home invasions, and business break-ins. This has allowed crime scene investigators and forensic laboratory scientists with the SPD and other area law enforcement agencies to give more attention and resources to resolving property crimes than ever before in the history of these departments.

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Forensic Laboratory Science and Crime Scene Education Options in Seattle

A relevant degree is mandatory for the majority of forensic science and CSI jobs in the Seattle area. There are many degree programs in this discipline offered at both online and campus-based schools throughout the greater Seattle area, including:

    • Associate of Applied Science in Criminology and Forensic Technology – This degree can help one attain an entry-level criminology or CSI job in the Seattle area, such as Evidence Technician or Latent Print Examiner. Courses include (but are not limited to):
      • Introduction to Criminal Justice
      • Criminology
      • Investigations
      • Fundamentals of Law Enforcement
      • Criminalistics
      • Computer Forensics
      • Forensic Technology
      • Fundamentals of Criminal Law


    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a Forensic Science Specialization – A degree such as this is vital for most forensic scientist jobs in law enforcement in Seattle. Courses include (but are not limited to):
      • Criminal Justice Research Methods
      • Anatomy and Physiology
      • General Chemistry
      • Quantitative Analysis
      • Criminal Procedure
      • Victimology
      • Criminal Profiling
      • Crime Scene and Medico-legal Death Investigation
      • Forensic Anthropology


  • Bachelor of Science in Forensic Psychology – This type of degree is suited for Seattle CSI jobs as criminologists and criminal profilers. Courses in this program could include:
    • Abnormal Psychology
    • Criminal Justice Organizations
    • Psychopath
    • Forensic Science
    • Criminal Profiling
    • Anatomy and Physiology
    • Forensic Psychology
    • Criminal Justice Statistics


Forensic Laboratory Science and CSI Employers Located in Seattle

Washington State Patrol CODIS Laboratory – This laboratory in Seattle processes DNA from criminal offenders for the national CODIS database (Combined DNA Index System). Anyone convicted of a felony in Washington must provide a DNA sample for the CODIS database. In Washington, those convicted of the following must also provide DNA samples:

  • Persons required to register as a kidnapping or sex offender
  • Persons who violate a sexual assault protection order
  • Persons convicted of sexual misconduct with a minor 2
  • Persons convicted of patronizing a prostitute
  • Persons convicted of custodial misconduct 2
  • Persons convicted of assault 4 with sexual motivation
  • Persons convicted of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes
  • Persons convicted of harassment
  • Persons convicted of stalking

Seattle Police Department Forensic Support Services – This division of the city’s police department includes the following units:

  • Video Unit, where jobs such as Video Specialists are found
  • Photo Lab, where jobs such as Crime Scene Photographers are found
  • Evidence Unit, where jobs such as Evidence Technicians are found
  • AFIS Identification Unit, where jobs such as Identification Data Specialists and Identification Technicians are found
  • Latent Prints, where jobs such as Latent Print Examiners are found

Washington State Patrol Crime Lab – The State Patrol’s largest crime laboratory in Washington is located in Seattle. It works with the Seattle Police Department’s CSI Unit as well as with law enforcement agencies throughout the Seattle area and the state.

EMSL Analytical, Inc. – This nationwide laboratory company’s Seattle laboratory offers analytical testing services to law enforcement agencies and others requiring contracted forensic laboratory services. Jobs here include Asbestos Microbiological Laboratory Manager.

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