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Career and Education Opportunities for Forensic Investigators in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

There are many career and education opportunities for forensic investigators in the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma area. There are currently 130 working forensic investigators in Oklahoma; this should grow by 28% to 160 working forensic investigators in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for forensic investigators are expected to grow by about 19.6%. Forensic investigators generally collect, identify, and analyze physical evidence related to criminal investigations.

Forensic investigators earn about $27 hourly or $56,380 yearly on average in Oklahoma and about $23 hourly or $49,860 per year on average nationally. Earnings for forensic investigators are better than earnings in the general category of Life Science Technical in Oklahoma and better than general Life Science Technical category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: forensic analyst, forensic ballistics expert, and fingerprint classifier.

There are forty-four schools of higher education in the Oklahoma City area, including one within twenty-five miles of Oklahoma City where you can get a degree to start your career as a forensic investigator. The most common level of education for forensic investigators is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years studying 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 Oklahoma City 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.
  • Forestry and Wildlife Manager. Compile data pertaining to size, content, and other characteristics of forest tracts, under direction of foresters; train and lead forest workers in forest propagation, fire prevention and suppression. May assist conservation scientists in managing, improving, and protecting rangelands and wildlife habitats, and help provide technical assistance regarding the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Forensic Investigator Training

University of Central Oklahoma - Edmond, OK

University of Central Oklahoma, 100 N University Dr, Edmond, OK 73034. University of Central Oklahoma is a large university located in Edmond, Oklahoma. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 13,724 students and an admission rate of 69%. University of Central Oklahoma has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Forensic Science and Technology which graduated eighteen and seventeen students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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.

LICENSES

Polygraph Examiner

Licensing agency: State of Oklahoma Board of Polygraph Examiners
Address: P.O. Box 11476 Cimarron Station, Oklahoma City, OK 73136-0476

Phone: (405) 425-2778
Website: State of Oklahoma Board of Polygraph Examiners

Polygraph Intern

Licensing agency: State of Oklahoma Board of Polygraph Examiners
Address: P.O. Box 11476 Cimarron Station, Oklahoma City, OK 73136-0476

Phone: (405) 425-2778
Website: State of Oklahoma Board of Polygraph Examiners

LOCATION INFORMATION: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma photo by CPacker

Oklahoma City is located in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. It has a population of over 551,789, which has grown by 9.0% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Oklahoma City, 82, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Oklahoma City cost $142,600 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, 1,474 new homes were built in Oklahoma City, down from 2,559 the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Oklahoma City are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, public administration, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 21 minutes. More than 24.0% of Oklahoma City residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.1%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Oklahoma City is 6.5%, which is less than Oklahoma's average of 7.1%.

The percentage of Oklahoma City residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 65.7%, is more than both the national and state average. Grace Place Baptist Church, Grace Presbyterian Church and Grace United Methodist Church are some of the churches located in Oklahoma City. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Oklahoma City is home to the Colonial Square and the 50 Penn Place as well as Rotary Park and River Park. Shopping malls in the area include 240 Plaza Shopping Center, 74 South Shopping Center and Council Crossings Shopping Center. Visitors to Oklahoma City can choose from Rodeway Inn Oklahoma City, Harvey Janitorial Sales and Market Source for temporary stays in the area.