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Forensic Investigator Miami florida

Forensic science is the application of science to criminal and civil laws. Forensic scientists collect, preserve, and analyze scientific evidence during the course of an investigation. While some forensic scientists travel to the scene to collect the evidence themselves, others occupy a laboratory role, performing analysis on objects brought to them by other individuals.

In addition to their laboratory role, forensic scientists testify as expert witnesses in both criminal and civil cases and can work for either the prosecution or the defense. While any field could technically be forensic, certain sections have developed over time to encompass the majority of forensically related cases.

A forensic investigator works with police departments to solve crimes. Becoming one usually requires a bachelor's degree in biology, chemistry, or a related field, although having several years of education and some experience may also be enough to get a position in this field.

The first thing that a forensic investigator does at a crime scene is to create a sketch of the scene, including the victims, evidence, and anything else crucial to the set-up. This process requires an investigator to determine what the crime was, and then create a drawing of the crime scene as close to scale as possible. This drawing, in addition to the crime scene photographs, is used to help record the original state of the crime scene for investigative and court purposes.

After determining the crime and drawing a sketch, the next step is for the investigator to collect any evidence that may be a part of the crime scene. This can be a complicated process, and some crimes have evidence spread over a wide range of territory. Other crimes involve microscopic evidence, such as DNA or clothing fibers.

Once a forensic investigator collects the evidence, it is carefully bagged, sealed, and recorded. This starts the chain of custody, which is used to keep a record of where the evidence is at all times. The investigator then begins to formulate a hypothesis about how the crime took place and how the evidence points to that theory. This will help lead investigators to a suspect, or group of suspects, and will eventually solve most crimes.

People employed in this job work in a very physically, emotionally, and mentally draining field. There is a lot of heavy lifting and potential danger. They need to pay very close attention to even the smallest detail of a crime scene, and investigators use advanced technology to find and recover the tiniest pieces of evidence, including fingerprints, blood and other bodily fluids, and trace evidence. They will use trajectory analysis to determine the path of a bullet, along with where and what the bullet was shot from. Investigators will also need to make castings out of impressions, such as footprints or tire marks, left at the scene of the crime.

When a forensic investigator is not investigating crime scenes, she may be found filling out paperwork or testifying in court. Her work is often done as part of a team, especially in larger police departments. Smaller departments might share one or two investigators amongst themselves.

One to three years of supervised work are usually required to become a criminal investigator. New investigators typically act as assistants to established professionals, learning more about the job firsthand while performing less essential investigative tasks.

Forensic anthropologists typically work as part of a team, along with homicide investigators, forensic dentists, and forensic pathologists. The expertise of a forensic anthropologist is legally sufficient for determining age, sex, height, and ancestry based on human remains.

Educational requirements for the aspiring forensic investigator

Forensic detectives need a bachelor’s degree in forensic science or a natural science such as chemistry or biology. They may also have started their careers as sworn police officers who transferred to forensics after obtaining the appropriate education. New investigators receive extensive on-the-job training by apprenticing to more experienced detectives. They learn collection and testing procedures that pass muster at trials. Training can last from six months for DNA analysis to three years for firearms analysis. The position requires constant learning to keep up with advances in forensic technology.

Forensic investigators typically enter the workforce with a bachelor's degree in either forensic science or another natural science. Some courses typically found in a forensic science curriculum include:

  • Organic chemistry
  • Physics
  • Genetics
  • Crime scene investigation
  • Criminal justice
  • Statistics

Some schools facilitate internship programs that allow students to receive hands-on training at a local company while completing their classroom hours at the regular university. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), participation in such programs can significantly bolster your employment prospects.

Forensic investigators should be good at science and math, and possess a real love for the step-by-step process of working toward a goal. A strong sense of justice also helps, as this brand of work requires dogged perseverance.

Experts in this field usually train to work in one speciality, such as DNA testing, speech, or engineering.

Job outlook and salary information for careers in forensic investigation

The BLS has excellent news for those considering the field of forensic science. Jobs for forensic investigators are expected to increase by a staggering 20%, much faster than average for all occupations. This prodigious growth can be attributed to state and local government's increasing reliance upon forensic techniques to solve crime. Candidates with highly developed technical skills who hold diplomas in an applied science should find themselves well-prepared to take advantage of this booming job market.

The top-paying states for this occupation are dispersed quite evenly throughout the country, and include, in order of descending mean annual wage, Illinois, Virginia, California, Connecticut, and Florida.

Regardless of where you call home, the field of forensic science holds exciting prospects for talented and experienced individuals. Enroll in a forensic investigation program now to take advantage of these excellent job opportunities.


The salaries of forensic detectives could start below $15.75 per hour or $32,760 per year, or go beyond $40.86 per hour or $67,160 per year. However, mean wages ran $26.76 per hour or $55,660 per year as of May 2011, states the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). These investigators determine how and when a crime occurred and who perpetrated it by collecting weapons, bodily fluids, fingerprints and other evidence left at the scene. They take photographs of crime locations, make sketches, write notes on their observations, bag relevant samples for later analysis and run scientific tests. They write reports and may testify in court about their findings.


In 2011, almost 60 percent of all 12,560 forensic detectives worked for local government, such as in police departments and coroner’s offices. They earned a mean $26.44 per hour or $54,990 per year. About 8 percent were employed by state government at an average $26.23 per hour or $54,550 per year. The highest paying positions were with the federal government at a mean $45.79 per hour or $95,240 per year. This was followed by architectural and engineering services at a mean $30.15 per hour or $62,710 per year.


California, the most populous state, offered the best opportunities for forensic detectives in 2011. The state contained more than 13 percent of the jobs, at mean wages of $33.12 per hour or $46,820 per year. Florida ranked second for jobs with 11 percent, averaging $22.51 per hour or $46,820 per year. With metropolitan areas, Phoenix, Mesa and Glendale in Arizona topped the job list with 4 percent of the positions, at a mean $27.27 per hour or $56,720 per year. Washington, D.C., was next with 3 percent of the total, at a mean $38.43 per hour or $79,930 per year.

Forensic Career in Miami - Florida

Miami is located in Miami-Dade County, Florida. It has a population of over 413,201, which has grown by 14.0% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Miami, 140, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Miami cost $273,500 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, thirty-seven new homes were built in Miami, down from seventy-three the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Miami are health care, accommodation and food services, and educational services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 28 minutes. More than 16.2% of Miami residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.7%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Miami, Florida State is 12.5%, which is greater than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Miami, Florida State residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Church of Resurrection, Church of the Ascension and Church of the Incarnation are all churches located in Miami. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

Miami is home to the Edison West Little River Neighborhood Center and the Miamarina South Pier Light as well as Belle Meade Park and 54th Street Mini Park. Shopping malls in the area include Central Shopping Center, Northside Mall and Northside Shopping Center. Visitors to Miami can choose from AmeriSuites Miami / Kendall, Four Seasons Hotel Miami and Airways Airport Inn & Suites for temporary stays in the area.

Forensics Salary for Lab Technicians and CSIs in Florida

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides information that shows that Florida is one of the best states in the country to look for forensic science jobs:

It has the second highest level of employment of any state in the country.

Based on the number of forensic science positions per employee, it has the fourth highest concentration of jobs in the country.

In particular, two cities in Florida have the highest concentration of forensic scientist jobs of any metropolitan area in the country.  Tallahassee has a sizable number of forensic scientists employed there.  It had twice as many jobs per 1000 employees as the city with the second greatest concentration of jobs.  Pensacola had the fifth greatest concentration of jobs.

Annual salary data for forensic science technicians in Miami - Florida:

Florida City                             

  • Miami$58970

Average Annual Salary

  • $58970           

Top 10th Percentile Salary

  • $87500

For those living in the Miami, Florida area, there are many career and education opportunities for forensic investigators. There are currently 1,390 jobs for forensic investigators in Florida and this is projected to grow by 30% to 1,820 jobs by 2016.

The Miami area is home to ninety-eight schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Miami where you can get a degree as a forensic investigator. Given that the most common education level for forensic investigators is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years training to become a forensic investigator if you already have a high school diploma.