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Career and Education Opportunities for Forensic Investigators in Las Vegas, Nevada

Forensic investigators can find many career and educational opportunities in the Las Vegas, Nevada area. The national trend for forensic investigators sees this job pool growing by about 19.6% over the next eight years. In general, forensic investigators collect, identify, and analyze physical evidence related to criminal investigations.

The average wage in the general category of Life Science Technical jobs is $17 per hour or $35,618 per year in Nevada, and an average of $19 per hour or $38,571 per year nationwide. People working as forensic investigators can fill a number of jobs, such as: ballistician, latent fingerprint examiner, and crime scene investigator.

There are nineteen schools of higher education in the Las Vegas area, including one within twenty-five miles of Las Vegas where you can get a degree to start your career as a forensic investigator. Given that the most common education level for forensic investigators is a Bachelor's degree, it will take about four years to learn to be a forensic investigator if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Forensic Investigator

Forensic Investigator video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, forensic investigators collect, identify, and analyze physical evidence related to criminal investigations. They also perform tests on weapons or substances, such as fiber, hair, and tissue to determine significance to investigation.

Forensic investigators keep records and ready reports detailing findings and laboratory techniques. They also testify in court about investigative and analytical methods and findings. Equally important, forensic investigators have to take photographs of evidence. They are often called upon to operate and maintain laboratory equipment and apparatus. Finally, forensic investigators talk with ballistics or metallurgical experts concerning evidence and its interpretation.

Every day, forensic investigators are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to think through problems and come up with general rules. It is also important that they solve different sorts of problems in different ways depending upon circumstances.

It is important for forensic investigators to visit morgues, examine scenes of crimes, or contact other sources to obtain evidence or data to be used in investigations. They are often called upon to collect evidence from crime scenes, storing it in conditions that preserve its integrity. They also use chemicals and other substances to examine latent fingerprint evidence and compare developed prints to those of known persons in databases. They are sometimes expected to ready solutions and sample formulations needed for laboratory work. Somewhat less frequently, forensic investigators are also expected to testify in court about investigative and analytical methods and findings.

Forensic investigators sometimes are asked to identify and quantify drugs and poisons found in biological fluids and tissues and at crime scenes. They also have to be able to examine physical evidence such as hair, fiber, wood or soil residues to obtain data related to its source and composition and decide on types of bullets used in shooting and if fired from a specific weapon. And finally, they sometimes have to train new technicians and other personnel on forensic science techniques.

Like many other jobs, forensic investigators must have exceptional integrity and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Las Vegas include:

  • Environmental Technician. Perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health. Under direction of an environmental scientist or specialist, may collect samples of gases, soil, and other materials for testing and take corrective actions as assigned.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Forensic Investigator Training

University of Nevada-Las Vegas - Las Vegas, NV

University of Nevada-Las Vegas, 4505 S Maryland Pky, Las Vegas, NV 89154. University of Nevada-Las Vegas is a large university located in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 28,618 students and an admission rate of 73%. University of Nevada-Las Vegas has a bachelor's degree program in Forensic Science and Technology which graduated three students in 2008.


Certified Cyber-Crime Expert: High-profile cases of corporate malfeasance and increased attention paid to cybercrime and cyberterrorism have elevated electronic evidence discovery to an indispensable component of any organization's security plan.

For more information, see the E-Business Process Solutions website.

Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator: Computer hacking forensic investigation is the process of detecting hacking attacks and properly extracting evidence to report the crime and conduct audits to prevent future attacks.

For more information, see the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants website.

Licensed Penetration Tester: The licensed penetration tester is a program which trains security professionals to analyze the security posture of a network exhaustively and recommend corrective measures authoritatively.

For more information, see the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants website.

Certified Forensic Video Technician: Forensic video analysis is an important science that can have a significant impact on the investigation process.

For more information, see the Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Video Association website.


Polygraphic Examiner and Intern

Phone: (775) 687-3223
Website: Office of the Attorney General Private Investigator's Licensing Board


Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada photo by Lasvegaslover

Las Vegas is located in Clark County, Nevada. It has a population of over 558,383, which has grown by 16.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Las Vegas, 91, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Las Vegas are priced at $111,300 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, 1,085 new homes were constructed in Las Vegas, down from 2,356 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Las Vegas are accommodation and food services, arts, entertainment, and recreation, and health care. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and arts, entertainment, and recreation. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 18.2% of Las Vegas residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Las Vegas is 13.3%, which is greater than Nevada's average of 12.6%.

The percentage of Las Vegas residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 36.2%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Las Vegas is home to the Tule Springs and the Union Pacific Station as well as Jaycee Park and Dexter Park. Shopping centers in the area include Spanish Oaks Shopping Center, Wonderland East Shopping Center and Shadow Hills Shopping Center. Visitors to Las Vegas can choose from Doubletree Club Las Vegas, The Las Vegas Gambler and MGM Grand Hotel Casino-The City of Entertainment - Human Resources for temporary stays in the area.