How Do I Become a Latent Print Examiner?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 31 December 2019
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You may become a latent print examiner by applying for an open position with a local government agency advertising such a position. Specifically, check with local law enforcement agencies to determine if a job opening for a fingerprint expert is available. Before you can be considered as a candidate to become a local print examiner, however, you will need to have successfully completed a certain amount of college-level forensics training, as well as have previous experience examining fingerprints. Some jurisdictions even require applicants to have a science degree or a degree in a field related to criminal justice. It is also not uncommon for individuals applying to become a latent print examiner to be required to become certified as fingerprint examiners first.

Learning how to conduct crime evidence examination, such as lifting, comparing and classifying fingerprints is necessary before you can become a latent print examiner. In many instances, law enforcement agencies require latent print examiners to possess an associate’s degree in a field related to criminal justice. Often, it is preferred that applicants have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a science-related subject in addition to being certified as a latent print expert.


If you plan to become a latent print examiner with an agency requiring certification, you will need to complete a certain amount of classroom training in subjects related to latent print examination. Such may be required in addition to college-level courses and relevant work experience. After all of these qualifications are met, candidates must undergo a rigorous written testing and oral review process before becoming certified as a latent print examiner.

Volunteering to assist a fingerprint examiner may also help you eventually become a latent print examiner. Depending on the length and extent of your involvement as a volunteer, such may count as work experience. At the very least, you will learn how to work with latent prints and gain valuable insight into someday becoming a fingerprint expert.

When applying to become a latent print examiner you will be subjected to an in-depth background check. It is, therefore, necessary that you have a clean criminal record, be a legal citizen and be able to demonstrate a professional reputation for honesty and trustworthiness. You must also meet all of the standard requirements for employment with the agency you are applying with. Such requirements will likely include a good driving record and a solid work history.


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