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Programs exist for people who wish to land a job in evidence collection, but the job market is limited by the size of the agency. Many employers require crime scene technicians to be sworn personnel, but some larger police departments do not. In seeking independent evidence training, it is best to look for courses at an accredited college or university. For those working as law enforcement officers, professional training and consulting firms provide evidence training classes through their respective agencies.
Those seeking a position within a law enforcement agency will likely need a degree from an accredited university in criminalistics or a related field. Coursework in photography, forensics, and physical sciences, such as biology or chemistry, is desirable. Evidence training workshops will most likely be provided to entry-level technicians or new hires. Any law enforcement experience will give the candidate an advantage in the hiring process. Larger agencies are typically far more likely to employ crime scene technicians.
Job seekers sometimes find training with specialized schools to obtain certification. Care must be taken to avoid paying for an expensive course that offers no real credentials. Schools that promise easy distance education, shortened programs, guaranteed job placement, or are difficult to research should be avoided. A good program offers close review of coursework by qualified faculty as well as scientific literacy and research qualifications.
Graduates who have completed a legitimate evidence training course can find jobs with law enforcement agencies, crime labs, or in private and corporate positions. Those working in the field can apply for a voluntary certification from the International Association for Property and Evidence (IAPE). Two certificates are available, one for law enforcement and the other for private sector personnel. A membership and at least one year of employment in evidence processing plus completion of IAPE's Property and Evidence Management Training Class is required to obtain certification.
Most police departments and federal agencies with crime scene units will provide evidence training to sworn personnel during their initial instruction period. If the officer is assigned to a specialized unit, additional education will be contracted with training specialists. These may include outside training firms or a higher jurisdiction’s facility, such as the FBI laboratory or Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in the US. Officers seeking additional instruction may choose university courses or those offered through professional associations. Membership in these is typically limited to law enforcement personnel.
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