Becoming a Criminalist: How to become a Criminalist
To start a career as a criminalist, or someone who analyzes physical evidence as part of a criminal investigation, you must complete a specific degree program from a four-year college or university. After earning a Bachelor’s degree, you will also probably be expected to take refresher courses or continuing education classes to stay current in forensics, biology and other science fields. To improve your chances of getting a good job as a criminalist, you may also want to consider becoming certified by the American Board of Criminalistics or another organzation.
Top Schools Offering Criminalist Degree Programs:
The links below will allow you to request free enrollment information directly from top national schools that offer a Criminalist degree program:
Degree Requirements to become a Criminalist:
Criminalists are expected to have a four-year degree in the biological or physical sciences, or in forensic science. Since this profession is highly specialized and very scientific, students must also take a minimum of 24 semester hours of chemistry or biology, and some math classes. After graduation, you may also want to apply for professional certification, though it is not required. During your career, it is also important to take continuing education classes in order to stay abreast of new scientific studies and standards, as well as industry trends that affect your job.
Duties of a Criminalist: What are the duties / traits of a successful criminalist?
Criminalists can be employed by federal agencies, medical examiners’ offices, in the private sector and in forensic labs hosted by all types of businesses and law enforcement organizations. Daily duties include evaluating physical evidence uncovered at a crime scene and delivering unbiased reports that reveal test results, types of material found, and when the crime was committed. In some cases, criminalists may also be expected to be an expert witness during a court hearing or trial.
Criminalist Salary: How much does a criminalist make?
Depending on the geographic location and type of business or agency a criminalist works for, he or she can earn between $35,000 and $50,000. Working for the DEA or FBI, however, may mean a higher paycheck.