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How do I become a blood spatter analyst?

Updated February 21, 2017

Blood spatter tells investigators crucial details about a crime scene. For instance, by measuring the distance between spatters, investigators can tell where injuries occurred and how someone might have initiated the injuries. This helps them piece together events and may lead to the conviction of a criminal and a case closed. People who specialise in getting details from blood stains are called blood spatter analysts. To become a blood spatter analyst, you must get an education in forensic science and then specialise in blood spatter analysis, working with recognised training organisations.

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  1. Following completion of high school or GED work, enrol in an accredited academic institution. Major in general forensic science if possible -- it is not necessary to specialise at the undergraduate level, and a general forensic science degree gives you greater market flexibility, says Forensicscience.net. If your institution of choice does not have a forensic science program, major in a science-related field such as biology.

  2. Enrol in a graduate program and pursue forensic study specific to blood spatter analysis. A PhD is necessary only for teaching and administrative positions, but you should have a master's degree to show expertise in your specialisation.

  3. Find an experienced blood spatter analyst with whom you can do additional on-the-job training. The analyst should be a registered member of the International Association of Blood Pattern Analysts.

  4. Enrol in blood pattern analysis training courses through IABPA or other recognised forensic or law enforcement agency.

  5. Apply to become a member of IABPA. There are four membership levels from which to choose: associate, provisional, full and distinguished. Associate membership is for those pursuing general interests, so the lowest membership level you should get is provisional. This membership level requires a letter of recommendation from an IABPA member -- you can use the person with whom you do on-the-job training -- and the completion of at least 40 hours of blood stain analysis coursework approved by IABPA. You may get full membership after being a provisional member for one year and become a distinguished member by contributing significantly to the field.

  6. Get certified as a blood spatter analyst through organisations such as the International Association for Identification. Requirements for certification vary by organisation, but most require blood spatter analysis coursework. You may use the same coursework you get through IABPA in some instances.

  7. Apply for jobs as a blood spatter analyst through law enforcement agencies, laboratories, forensic-oriented universities and similar organisations. Once you have experience and have some standing in the field, you can work as an independent analyst -- that is, a blood spatter expert who takes cases for various agencies as needed.

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About the Author

Wanda Thibodeaux

Wanda Thibodeaux is a freelance writer and editor based in Eagan, Minn. She has been published in both print and Web publications and has written on everything from fly fishing to parenting. She currently works through her business website, Takingdictation.com, which functions globally and welcomes new clients.

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