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A Career as a Police Investigations Technician

Crime SceneIf you watch police dramas, you’ve no doubt seen those guys in the background taking pictures of crime scenes. You may have even thought to yourself, “That looks like a pretty cool job. How do I get a gig like that?”

“Police investigations technician” is just one of the many specialties in the larger field of criminal investigations. It’s also one of the few jobs in that field that may not require a background in science or public safety. Yes, the hours tend to be unpredictable, the working conditions taxing and the pay less than exemplary. But if you’re looking for a job that is rich in challenges and variety, one that can be instrumental in helping solve crimes and putting criminals behind bars, then a career as a police investigations technician is something you might want to explore.

Here are some steps to take to launching a career as a police investigations technician:

Develop a professional-level portfolio in both indoor and outdoor photography. If you are going to pursue a career as a police investigations technician, it’s important to already be an experienced photographer and be able to work in a variety of indoor and outdoor conditions. You’ll also need your own equipment including at least one high-resolution single-lens reflex (SLR) digital camera, a variety of lenses, a light meter and flash attachments.

Check with your local public safety agencies to determine their job qualifications. Every public safety agency has its own hiring criteria and may require additional training. Smaller agencies are likely to hire freelancers and may only require them to have associate degrees in related fields, while larger organizations may hire photographers to work as police investigations technicians full-time and may require more advanced degrees.

Make sure you have a clean record. If you’re seeking a job related to public safety positions, you can’t have a criminal record, a bad credit rating or other “dings” on your record that could cast doubt on your honesty, judgment or reliability.

Get the necessary education. Many public safety agencies require employees and contractors to have some kind of formal training in police science and/or criminal investigations. If you want to be a police investigations technician, you may be best served by earning a minimum of an associate degree in the criminal investigations field.

Ask to do a “ride-along.” One of the best ways to determine if you’ll enjoy a job is to shadow someone who is already doing it. Ask your local police or sheriff’s department if you can ride along with their investigations technician on a given day. You’ll not only get a chance to see what an average professional’s day is like, but you may also have a chance to talk with him/her about the job’s pros and cons and how best to get an entry-level job in the field.

Know your limits. A police investigations technician’s career can be taxing intellectually, physically and emotionally. Hours are erratic, so it can be difficult to maintain a “normal” social life. Hours can be long, and you may find yourself pulling all-nighters. And, perhaps most challenging of all, you’ll often be dealing with the after-effects of extreme violence in less-than-ideal environments. Before committing yourself this career, make sure you have the stomach for it.

Earn Your Associate Degree in Criminal Investigations at Everest University Online

If you are interested in pursuing a career as a police investigations technician or a related career field, consider earning your associate degree in Criminal Investigations at Everest University Online, a division of Everest University. This two-year program is designed for working professionals who want to earn their degree at home on their own schedule and at their own pace.

Courses in the Criminal Investigations program include crime scene photography, criminalistics, fingerprinting classification and latents, technology crimes, graphics, and documentation and biological evidence.

For more information on this program or other career-focused degree programs including associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, contact Everest University Online today!

Tagged with: Articles, Criminal Justice

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