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

Tacoma, Washington, and Pierce County have played host to many nationally recognized violent crimes in recent years. The Beltway Sniper, John Allen Muhammad, was a Tacoma native who coordinated shootings with a partner, killing 10 people on the east coast in October 2002. Serial killer Ted Bundy, who confessed to 30 homicides in the 1970s, was also a Tacoma native. Tacoma Police Chief David Brame killed his wife and himself in 2003, making national headlines.

It is clear that forensic laboratory science professionals and crime scene investigators in Tacoma have been kept busy over the years, not just with these high-profile cases but also with many others that have gone unnoticed by the national media.

Forensic Science and CSI Education Options Available in Tacoma

In order to obtain a job in the crime scene investigation and/or forensic science realm in Tacoma, a degree or certificate is necessary.

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Within the Tacoma area, degrees in this field of study include:

    • Associate of Science in Forensic Science – This degree is a stepping-stone to entry into the forensic science employment realm, as most forensic science jobs in Tacoma require a minimum of a bachelor degree. Types of jobs that an associate degree can help to prepare students for further study include:
      • Forensic pathologist – will require a Ph.D. or M.D.
      • Forensic psychologist- requires a minimum of a bachelor degree
      • Forensic psychiatrist – requires a M.D.
      • Forensic odontologist – requires a dentistry degree (D.D.S)
      • Forensic nurse – requires an RN degree
      • Forensic entomologist – requires a bachelor degree in biology
      • Forensic biologist – requires a bachelor degree in biology
      • Forensic anthropologist – requires a bachelor degree in anthropology
      • Forensic toxicologist – requires a bachelor degree in chemistry or biology


    • Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science – This degree is the standard for most forensic science jobs in Tacoma. It is necessary for the following jobs:
      • Forensic scientist
      • Forensic investigator
      • Forensic technician


  • Bachelor of Science in Forensic Psychology – This degree is necessary in order to become a Forensic Psychologist Associate. (To be a psychologist usually a Ph.D. is required). Forensic psychologist associates work with convicted and accused criminals in conducting forensic investigations and in the gathering of evidence.


Employers of Forensic Laboratory Science and CSI Professionals in Tacoma

Washington State Patrol Forensic Laboratory Services – Located in Olympia, about 25 miles from Tacoma, the official forensic laboratory services of the Washington State Patrol provides forensic services to law enforcement officials throughout the state.  In addition, in Tacoma there is a multi-service Crime Laboratory operated by the Washington State Patrol. Forensic science and CSI jobs in Tacoma found here include:

  • Latent print analyst
  • DNA analyst
  • Toxicologist
  • Crime scene analyst

Pierce County Sheriff’s Department Criminal Investigation Division  – Forensic Investigation Unit– The Forensic Investigation Unit of the county Sheriff’s Department in Tacoma provides laboratory and crime scene processing services for the Department. Jobs within this unit include:

  • Forensic Technician
  • Forensic Investigator
  • Forensic Intern
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