How Do You Become a Forensic Investigator After Military Service?

Forensic InvestigatorMost veterans aren’t aware that it is very easy to become a forensic investigator after military service. Major law enforcement agencies prefer to hire former members of the military because they have excellent training, education and discipline.

What is a Forensic Investigator?

A forensic investigator is a law enforcement professional who investigates and documents crime scenes. They typically have an academic background in the natural sciences. However, active police officers also obtain additional training in order to become a forensic investigator. Therefore, veterans with an MOS related to science or law enforcement are pre-qualified to work as a forensic investigator through obtaining additional training and applying to one of the agencies below.

Local Law Enforcement – On-Site Forensic Investigator

Most people are familiar with scene investigators (CSI) through popular police procedural TV shows. However, anyone that wants to become a forensic investigator after military service should start with their local law enforcement agency, which include city, county and state police. There are generally two types of forensic investigator positions available: on-site and lab-based forensic science technicians. At crime scenes, forensic science techs collect evidence, take photographs and make sketches of crime scenes. Therefore, they often must travel to different crime scenes inside and outside their jurisdiction in every possible type of weather. They also work staggered schedules that cover holidays and weekends. At the crime scene, everything must be carefully cataloged, preserved and transported to the crime scene lab for further analysis.

Local Law Enforcement – Lab Forensic Investigator

Since law enforcement officers typically collect evidence, lab forensic investigators perform the majority of forensic investigation work in crime labs and police departments. They perform a wide range of scientific tests, including chemical, biological and physical experiments. For example, this could include chemically analyzing body fluids or physically analyzing ballistics. Many crime scenes now employ forensic lab techs who primarily work with computer programs to reconstruct criminal events, analyze information and access national criminal databases. Lab forensic investigators tend to work a regular schedule. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that forensic science technicians need a bachelor’s degree in the natural sciences, such as biology, medicine or chemistry.

The FBI Police

The FBI maintains an active force of uniformed law enforcement officers. They perform a variety of law enforcement duties similar to local police. However, they also investigate federal crimes and crime scenes. There are basic requirements to become a FBI police officer. First, the applicant must be a U.S. citizen, possess a valid driver’s license and pass a background check. However, applicants with military service may be exempt from this requirement and start at a higher grade level. Next, there is an online application, written test, panel interview, medical exam and comprehensive FBI background check. Finally, the applicant must successfully complete training at the FBI’s training center and Training Academy in Quantico.

The American Academy of Forensic Sciences

Students wishing to pursue a career as a forensic investigator should consider exploring and even joining the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. This will provide exclusive training resources, networking events and employment opportunities. The American Academy of Forensic Sciences also offers students valuable resources and lists of accredited online and on-site programs.

Related Resource: Become a Translator After Military Service

In closing, veterans who wish to pursue a forensic investigator career have plenty of excellent job opportunities. Former military members can become a forensic investigator after military service with the additional training or formal education.