CSI Frequently Asked Questions

What makes the CSI program different from intelligence and operations?

The Crime Scene Investigation program focuses on the documentation and preservation of the crime scene, the proper collection of the evidence and the analysis of the evidence collected. Unlike operations or intelligence, crime scene is focused on the space where a crime takes place not the criminal(s) who committed the crime. Catching who committed the crime is a byproduct of the evidence. Although there are other types of evidence, our students’ main focus is the physical evidence in a case. The Crime Scene Investigation degree at FSU PC provides students with the scientific knowledge that is the basis for proper collection and preservation of evidence. Understanding what needs to be done at the scene to prevent contamination, what testes are performed at the lab and how to do the analysis allows students to recognize why proper handling is essential. In a field that has undergone public scrutiny, our curriculum will yield students with an appreciation for objective, solid science. People lie, scientific evidence doesn’t.

What types of things will I study?

Our courses will cover all of the forensic disciplines that are currently viewed as acceptable science in a court of law. These include things like fingerprints, forensic anthropology, ballistics, blood spatter, fibers, and toxicology to name a few. Our students learn how to detect these items on scene, properly collect them so there is no loss or contamination and then how to analyze them so that identification can be made.

What sets the FSU Panama City CSI program apart from anywhere else in the world?

We spoke with many and various types of law enforcement agencies to find out what they were looking for in a crime scene investigator. We took all of those characteristics and skills most desired and built a program that will develop those qualities and abilities in our students.

What types of jobs can I apply for with this degree?

Jobs are available in Federal, State and Local law enforcement agencies as well as private labs and within private security departments. Some positions include crime scene investigator, crime scene analyst, fraud investigator, forensic science technician, crime laboratory assistant, medical examiner technician, death investigator, property and evidence personnel, criminal investigator, criminalist and more.

Do any of your current students have a law enforcement background?

Yes, we have several students who are working in law enforcement now and continuing their education for upward mobility within their agency.

Are the students in the CSI program traditional or non-traditional students or both?

We offer face to face classes and online classes in all academic course work. With the exception of the first Forensic course, Forensic Science in Investigations which has a lab for online students that is a 3D virtual simulation, all lab labs are offered only in person so that our students have hands on experience and know how to actually perform the skills needed in crime scene investigation. We offer these labs in an accelerated summer semester. Students come and work a 40 hour week to complete a lab course.

What is the expected pay in the field and what is the job outlook?

According to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook the 2012 median pay was $52,840 per year or $25.41 per hour. Employment is projected to grow 6 percent from 2012 to 2022 but there is never a shortage of crime so job security is excellent. Also due to backlogs in State crime labs many private labs are being contracted to process evidence and provide additional employment opportunities.

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