How to become a CSI detective

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How to become a CSI detective
Study forensics to increase your chance of becoming a Scenes of Crime Officer. (PaulFleet/iStock/Getty Images)

Many people have become fascinated with crime scene investigation due to the popular American "CSI" television show that screens in the UK. Perhaps you may even have an interest in becoming a real CSI detective. The UK equivalent of a CSI detective is a Scenes of Crime Officer (SOCO). Becoming one isn't an easy process, however, and you need to know what is expected of you before you take steps to make SOCO work your career.


  1. 1

    Be certain that crime scene investigation is something you really want to do. It is not for the squeamish or faint-hearted. You will have to see things that might be extremely disturbing, deal with criminals and work long, hard hours. The job involves dedication, discipline and a fair amount of courage. If you still believe you have what it takes, then move forward with your plans to work in crime scene investigation.

  2. 2

    Go to and finish university, as most police forces will require you to have at least a degree in a field like forensic science. If you want to have an "edge" over other applicants and earn more money, then obtaining your Master's degree will be very helpful.

  3. 3

    Apply to join a police force, where you will be properly trained. Most Scenes of Crime Officers serve as police officers first. While there are civilians who can become investigators, they make far less money than their peers and have limited arrest powers.

  4. 4

    After completing your basic police training and passing all necessary requirements, start applying for jobs. Make sure that you provide a professional-looking CV and that you are adequately prepared for job interviews. It's wise to know something about the specific police force or department you are applying to, and being knowledgeable about the community you would be serving, if hired, is a big plus.

  5. 5

    Be prepared to wait. Don't expect to instantly become a SOCO. The reality is that you will have to put in some time doing "regular" police work, prior to being considered for a job. Once you have "served in the trenches" and got more experience, then you can apply to become a Scenes of Crime Officer.

  6. 6

    Get ready for additional training. If you are fortunate enough to be chosen, after you have applied for a SOCO position, you will then be expected to serve an apprenticeship in order to learn the specifics of the job. Again, this is something that will take time, but it is well worth it to achieve your dream of becoming a crime scene investigator.

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