How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator Forensic Scientist in South Charleston, West Virginia

The primary Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) lab in West Virginia is located at the State Police department in South Charleston. While West Virginia does not have anywhere near the highest crime rates in the country, there is always a demand for people with forensic science and CSI skills and experience. In 2012, the state had 62 murders and 4,586 assaults, which is much lower than the national average.

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In West Virginia, the average CSI Forensic Scientists earns an annual income of $49,220, according to the salary aggregation website The salary is below the national average, but that is to be expected when considering the lower than average crime rates in the state. Salaries do range depending on the position held within the South Charleston Crime Lab with the more technical jobs being paid more than other positions within the various departments.

Forensic Science CSI Jobs in West Virginia

The CSI career field includes a variety of different position, including:

  • Crime Scene Analyst
  • Crime Scene Technician
  • Evidence Technician
  • Forensic Investigator
  • Fingerprint Technician

Each position requires a variety of different requirements and qualifications, which includes education and training among other things. The South Charleston Crime Lab is also separated into various departments that are required to collect and examine different types of CSI Forensic Science work. The departments in South Charleston are Drug Identification, Central Evidence Receiving, Central Evidence Processing, Firearms and Toolmarks, Questioned Documents, Trace Evidence, Biology, Latent Prints and Toxicology.

Forensic Science and Crime Scene Investigator Schools, Degrees and Programs in South Charleston

All CSI and Forensic Science careers in West Virginia require that a person have at least a bachelor’s degree in a field related to the job. Popular university programs available in the South Charleston area include chemistry, biology, physics, molecular biology and criminal justice.

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How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator Forensic Scientist in South Charleston, West Virginia

Other than a bachelor’s degree, there are other requirements and qualifications needed to become a CSI Forensic Scientist with the South Charleston Crime Lab. Many of the jobs have only one requirement- a bachelor’s degree- but, there are some sections of the Crime Lab that require additional requirements.

  • Central Evidence Receiving and Processing: Four years of training can be substituted for a degree.
  • Firearms and Toolmarks: Four years of full-time related experience can be substituted for a degree.
  • Questioned Document Section: In addition to a degree, a person seeking employment in this department is required to complete a two-year apprenticeship program. Certification from the American Board of Questioned Document Examiners is also required.

The application process includes a series of interviews, examinations (written and oral,) and background checks (education, work history, criminal, etc.) Many of the positions also require enrolment in training programs, certification programs and a cadet academy in some instances.

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