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Career and Education Opportunities for Forensic Investigators in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Forensic investigator career and educational opportunities abound in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There are currently 600 jobs for forensic investigators in Pennsylvania and this is projected to grow by 16% to 650 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for forensic investigators, which 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 $18 per hour or $37,998 per year in Pennsylvania, 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: forensic science examiner, latent print analyst, and forensic computer examiner.

The Philadelphia area is home to 156 schools of higher education, including four within twenty-five miles of Philadelphia where you can get a degree as a forensic investigator. Forensic investigators usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years training to become 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 Philadelphia include:

  • Agricultural Technician. Set up and maintain laboratory equipment and collect samples from crops or animals. Prepare specimens and record data to assist scientist in biology or related science experiments.
  • Biological Sciences Technician. Assist biological and medical scientists in laboratories. Set up, operate, and maintain laboratory instruments and equipment, monitor experiments, and calculate and record results. May analyze organic substances, such as blood, food, and drugs.
  • 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.
  • Food Science Technician. Perform standardized qualitative and quantitative tests to determine physical or chemical properties of food or beverage products.
  • 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

Arcadia University - Glenside, PA

Arcadia University, 450 S Easton Rd, Glenside, PA 19038-3295. Arcadia University is a small university located in Glenside, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,872 students and an admission rate of 69%. Arcadia University has a master's degree program in Forensic Science and Technology which graduated sixteen students in 2008.

Camden County College - Blackwood, NJ

Camden County College, College Drive, Blackwood, NJ 08012. Camden County College is a large college located in Blackwood, New Jersey. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,951 students. Camden County College has a one to two year program in Forensic Science and Technology which graduated two students in 2008.

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine - Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, 4170 City Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19131. Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine is a small college located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 2,167 students. Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has a master's degree program in Forensic Science and Technology which graduated twenty-six students in 2008.

Drexel University - Philadelphia, PA

Drexel University, 3141 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104. Drexel University is a large university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 21,754 students and an admission rate of 68%. Drexel University has a master's degree program in Forensic Science and Technology which graduated thirty students 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania photo by Apollo1758

Philadelphia is located in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. It has a population of over 1,447,395, which has shrunk by 4.6% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Philadelphia, 102, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Philadelphia cost $212,900 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, five hundred forty-five new homes were constructed in Philadelphia, down from five hundred ninety-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Philadelphia are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 32 minutes. More than 17.9% of Philadelphia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.5%, is lower than the state average.

The percentage of Philadelphia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 53.4%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Boulevard Church, Mount Herman Church and Saint Michael Mission Center are all churches located in Philadelphia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the American Baptist Churches in the USA and the Muslim Estimate.

Philadelphia is home to the Five Points and the Academy Gardens as well as Durham Park and Cloverly Park. Shopping malls in the area include Roosevelt Mall, Andorra Shopping Center and Red Lion Shopping Center. Visitors to Philadelphia can choose from Comfort Inn, Concordia Worldwide Hotel Reservations and Embassy Suites for temporary stays in the area.