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How Much Can a Crime Scene Investigator Earn?

The salary for a crime scene investigator has been gradually increasing over the past ten years. Some of the reasons for this salary increase are directly related to the growing number of homicide cases. In cities like Detroit and Atlanta for example, homicide cases are growing at a rapid rates, which most people blame on the economy. As a result of these growing homicide numbers, local county sheriff and police offices are in constant need of additional crime scene investigators.

In regards to currently salary figures, many criminal investigators today earn between forty three and seventy five thousand dollars per year. This is about a three percent increase from 2010. Since most criminal investigators generally work forty plus hours per week, they feel that this salary increase is totally justified.

In addition to base pay, a crime scene investigator salary also typically includes a generous pension plan, paid vacation and sick days, and in most cases fully paid healthcare benefits. In order to get the higher paying salaries however, it requires having a bachelors or master degree in crime scene investigation.

At most schools that currently offer crime investigation degree programs, a preliminary test is required before a student can be registered. In order to make the studying and degree process much easier, most of these schools are offering online programs. These online options have proven to be very convenient for full time working adults and also for stay at home parents. In an effort to ensure that all students are fully trained and prepared for a crime scene investigation career, class courses have been updated to reflect the recent increase in crime.

The primary duties of a criminal investigator include gathering criminal evidence that can be used in court, taking photographs of the crime scene, assisting medical examiners, creating crime sketches and diagrams, retrieving physical items from the crime victim's body, writing up administrative reports, and also testifying in crime related court courses. Most of the crimes investigated generally fall under categories like armed robbery, homicide, sexual assault, home invasion and aggravated battery.

With regards to program courses, students are trained and tested in areas such as fingerprint processing, photography, crime scene processing, arson investigation and forensic pathology.

In 2013, the average crime scene investigator salary is expected to increase by another two or three percent. This increase will largely be for investigators working in large urban cities. However, those with master degrees and special certification will probably earn about three to four thousand dollars more per year.

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