First, review two States and identify the requirements to become a forensic investigator. Identify the minimum requirements and if licensing is needed in those States.
Requirements for becoming a forensic investigator
Requirements in the state of Florida
The first state chosen for analysis in forensic investigation is Florida. For becoming an expert in forensic science it is essential that any individual has to undertake the educational programs on forensic science. In Florida there exist sixteen schools that provide programs in forensic science for students. Out of these sixteen schools there are ten schools that help the students to learn forensic science by giving lessons in chemistry, biology and some other sciences that can help them gather knowledge on enforcement in law. There are also some academic measures that have forensic courses on law, criminal justice, behavioral analysis and clinical psychology.
The experts in forensic science are generally trained in crime scene investigation or analysis that is done in the laboratory (Breur, Kommer, Nijboer & Reijntjes, n.d.). The primary work of the crime scene investigators is to examine the scene where the crime has taken place and collect adequate evidence that includes the collection of weapons, samples of blood and other essential substances, or clothing (Edwards, 2006). They also collect fingerprints, make sketches and take photographs in the crime scene (Horswell, 2008).
The educational requirement in the state of Florida varies according to the different positions an individual holds in the forensic department. These educational requirements vary from a simple high school diploma to a bachelor’s degree. Further consultations with the local police department also help to give information on becoming a forensic expert. The officers would be able to throw light on the requirements that is available in their departments or agencies for forensic experts. For technicians in the area of forensic science it is not essential to have a degree as is the case in a number of agencies. However, when special technological experts are required generally individuals with degrees in biology and chemistry are preferred.
A degree in forensic science is always more helpful as it increases their chances for getting jobs as well as promotion in future. Colleges in Florida such as Hillsborough Community College allow students to obtain degrees and certificates in fingerprinting, technologies associated with crime scene investigation and analysis of crimes. In order to complete the course one has to complete six credits for crime analysis, four for fingerprinting, and technology for crime scene requires 28 credits (Csiacademyflorida.com, 2015).
Another college the Palm Beach State College also provides degree on crime scene technologies. Some of the other courses available here include courses on photography of crime scenes, classification of fingerprints, safety issues in crime scenes and taking of evidence. Florida also situates the American Academy of Forensic Sciences that is a professional society that is totally involved with the application of science and law. There are some institutions that is governed by this organization and which offers a number of degrees in forensic science (Csiacademyflorida.com, 2015).
Individuals who have worked as a police officer in the criminal are or have served as an officer in the military the chances of getting a job in this field increases. This is primarily because the experience one gains in the criminal field can be extremely helpful in this department. After a person is chosen to become a forensic investigator he or she is made to go through a training program that is supervised by the seniors in the department (Millen, 2000). In some cases it is a training session or sometimes it is a kind of an internship.
With regard to licensing in this area it must be noted that there exist no particular licensing for forensic experts. However, the license exists for private investigators. It should also be noted that investigation in computer forensic is a significant part of the private investigation and controversy exists as to whether the licensing for private investigation applies to the computer forensics as well. The relevant statutes in the Florida does not mention anything regarding licensing of the forensic investigation experts.
Requirements in the state of Ohio
The next state chosen for analysis of forensic investigation is the state of Ohio. In this state there lies a good variety of education as well as career opportunities for the investigators specializing in forensic science. This field of forensic science has a number of diverse methods for individuals specialized in different fields of forensic study ('Forensic Evidence and Crime Scene Investigation', 2013).
The role of the forensic experts is more or less the same in all the states with very minor modifications. In the state of Ohio, the scientists analyse and uncover the physical evidence for the cases. Mostly the work of the experts is in laboratories. The expert also is required to maintain data, give reports and appear as witnesses in the courts when required (Ohioattorneygeneral.gov, 2015). Hence it is also essential that the experts are well-versed with the procedures in court and also have strong skills in communication. Forensic investigators are further classified in to crime scene investigators or forensic investigators and ballisticians.
The state has the Department of Job and Family Services that gives details about the trend of forensic jobs in the recent future. The forensic jobs include the jibs of forensic scientists as well as that of the crime scene investigators. There exist a number of forensic laboratories that employ forensic experts in a regular basis. The forensic experts are categorized as evidence technicians, or as forensic analysts or as lab technicians for the forensic departments (Smith, 2007). The police department of the state also hires forensic experts.
With regard to certification and licensing it must be noted that generally no license or certificate is required by the forensic experts. However this criterion is subject to the specializations of the experts. For instance, in case of forensic odontologists license and certificate is required since they are dentists. Further forensic experts in computers also can get a certification by going through training programs. However, it is not a necessity in this field (Ohioattorneygeneral.gov, 2015). The primary advantage of certification is that it gives better chance for the individuals with certification to get opportunities in forensic investigation. For specialized fields of knowledge the certification becomes essential (Janovsky, 2003). The state of Ohio offers certification to the individuals who have high and special qualifications in the different fields of forensic research and investigation. The Ohio Identification Officers Association is the organization that offers certification to specialized officers. With regard to licensing of the forensic experts they are no particular licensing requirements in the state for them individually.
Comparative Analysis and Recommendations
When a comparison is made between two states it can be observed that basic requirements are similar in both Florida and Ohio. Firstly, both the states provide ample opportunities to study forensic science in their territories. Comparatively it might be seen that the state of Florida offers wider opportunities in this regard. Secondly, with regard to certification firstly it needs to be noted that most of the states in United States do not provide for licensing of the forensic investigators. Therefore in both of the states mentioned here the certification and licensing is not required. However, in this regard the state of Ohio still recommends for certification of some of the specialized experts. It is suggested that all the states make licensing a vital criteria and a necessary part of the requirements. With the increasing number of experts in this field and also looking at the significance of the work they are involved in it is necessary to certify them. Further it is essential to carry out training sessions for the forensic experts since this would give them an outlook of the work they would be involved.
Breur, C., Kommer, M., Nijboer, J., & Reijntjes, J. New trends in criminal investigation and evidence.
Csiacademyflorida.com,. (2015). CSI Academy of Florida | Hands-on Forensic Training. Retrieved 16 March 2015, from https://www.csiacademyflorida.com/
Edwards, C. (2006). Science at the scene of crime. Engineering & Technology, 1(2), 24-25. doi:10.1049/et:20060201
Forensic Evidence and Crime Scene Investigation. (2013). J Forensic Investig, 01(02). doi:10.13188/2330-0396.1000004
Horswell, E. (2008). Crime scene investigators. Seced. doi:10.12968/sece.2008.1.1073
Janovsky, T. (2003). Forensic Science - Society is Depending (Dependent?) on Us. Australian Journal Of Forensic Sciences, 35(1), 161-169. doi:10.1080/00450610309410575
Millen, P. (2000). Is crime scene investigation forensic science? Are crime scene investigators forensic scientists?. Science & Justice, 40(2), 125-126. doi:10.1016/s1355-0306(00)71957-5
Ohioattorneygeneral.gov,. (2015). Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine - Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Retrieved 16 March 2015, from https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Law-Enforcement/Bureau-of-Criminal-Investigation
Smith, R. (2007). Crime scene investigators. Nature, 445(7129), 794-794. doi:10.1038/nj7129-794a