The 10 Best Online Crime Scene Technician Certificate Programs in 2023

Crime scene technicians have one of the most exhilarating, meaningful, and demanding jobs. Often called forensic science technicians or crime scene investigators, these experts were the basis for several well-liked television shows, including CSI and Dexter.

Best Online Crime Scene Technician Certificate Programs - fact

The job market, however, for this field is rising and continues to be much more competitive than before. While the traditional way to launch a career as a crime scene technician is to obtain an undergraduate or graduate degree, earning a certificate and getting the training you need to prove your competency and dedication is also necessary.

The Lowdown

Featured Programs

Crime Scene Technician Certificate programs are becoming more in demand because employers today seek more credentials on top of their degrees. These certificate programs are short 6-18 months programs required for entry-level crime scene occupations, which typically require 18 to 30 credits.

A certificate in crime scene technology educates students on how to manage various types of evidence, plan out crime scenes, and take precise images. Beyond that, the program also teaches students about browsing through government databases and how to create latent fingerprints and categorize them.

However, because Crime Scene Technician Certificate programs are rare, we also included closely-related certificate programs, such as criminal justice and crime scene investigation.

Thanks to technology, interested students can now obtain a certificate through online learning. But before earning one online, check the program’s accreditation to ensure that future employers will acknowledge the certification you’ll be receiving. It’s also necessary to see if the training and schedule match your needs and goals.

Methodology

This list encompasses schools that offer certificate programs in Crime Scene Technician and similar areas of study, such as Criminal Justice and Criminal Investigation and Security. These cover both in-person and online courses, as well as programs that combine the two. However, you must note that certificate programs rarely offer financial aid opportunities since they are short, cheap programs. 

Every online/hybrid Crime Scene Technician Certificate program listed was selected based on the following criteria:

  • Have earned accreditations from regional accrediting agencies, like the SACSCOC or Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges, the Higher Learning Commission, the MSCHE or the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and the New England Commission of Higher Education. 
  • Offer online and hybrid learning formats for added flexibility.
  • Provides experienced faculty with years of experience in the field. 
  • We also included on the list various certificate levels, such as certificate programs for students with no prior college education and those with a bachelor’s degree. 

Please visit our Methodology page and review our detailed ranking process.

The 10 Best Online Crime Scene Technician Certificate Programs

Purdue Global University

Purdue Global University

Online Crime Scene Technician Certificate

Purdue Global University is one of the best online education schools. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Purdue Global offers an Online Crime Scene Technician Certificate that accepts students with no prior college education. 

  • This online certificate program teaches students the analytical techniques crime scene technicians use and the methods for recording, gathering, and preserving physical evidence.
  • The program has multiple start dates, allowing students to enroll with flexibility. 
  • This certificate program can be completed in 11 months if students enroll full-time and dedicate 15–18 hours per week. 
  • The credits earned from this degree program can be used toward Purdue’s online associate and bachelor’s degree programs.  

What Makes This Program Unique:

This online Crime Scene Technician Certificate has a 10-week term that builds on the student’s framework for their future careers and degree programs. This is a 41-credit hour program that involves courses in crime scene investigation and the criminal justice system, including Forensic Chemistry and Trace Evidence Analysis, Homeland Security, Supervisory Practices in Criminal Justice, and more.

Additionally, this certificate program allows students to apply for financial aid opportunities. Military and employees of Purdue global partner organizations are eligible for tuition discounts.

Did You Know?

You may be eligible to obtain credit toward the Crime Scene Technician Certificate if you have completed National Peace Officer Standard Training and are a sworn law enforcement officer with certification.


St. Petersburg College

St. Petersburg College

Online Crime Scene Technician Certificate

St. Petersburg College, accredited by the SACSCOC-Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges, is one of the US’ first accredited schools to offer an online Crime Scene Technician Certificate. This online certificate program is designed for students and professionals who want to get a jump start on their skills in crime scene investigation. 

  • The certificate program will equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to become a crime scene investigator. 
  • It requires 28 credit hours, which include courses in Crime Scene Photography, Latent Fingerprint Development, Crime Scene Safety, and more. 
  • Students will be equipped to retrieve, recognize, analyze, and preserve crime scenes. 
  • Students will also be trained to present the data in court and testify about their findings. 

What Makes This Program Unique:

This program offers unique academic pathways each enrollment, which allows students to have more flexible online learning. Additionally, all courses of this online certificate program are transferable to the college’s online AS in Crime Scene Technology degree. 

Did You Know?

St. Petersburg College offers plenty of advanced training for applicants currently employed in public safety fields. One of its popular professional development training is the Public Safety Advanced Training, which uses cutting-edge technology and the best practices in education and training to create web-based, video, broadcast, and in-person training. 


Wake Technical Community College

Wake Technical Community College

Hybrid Crime Scene Technician Certificate

Accredited by the SACSCOC-Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Wake Technical Community College offers one of the most affordable Crime Scene Technician Certificates. This certificate program is designed for students who want to gain hands-on experience in addition to online courses. 

  • This online CST certificate program uses a hybrid learning method, combining in-person lectures, training, and online courses.  
  • Students must complete 15 credit hours, including Crime Scene Processing, Trace Evidence, Crime Scene Processing, Footwear and Tire Imprint, and Forensic Biology courses.
  • Students can complete the certificate program in as few as three months. 
  • The program, however, has no financial aid opportunities available since it is offered at a very affordable cost and has low credits required. 

What Makes This Program Unique:

The Crime Scene Technician Certification program at Wake Tech Community College trains students for jobs that support the judgments made by law enforcement. Students attending the day classes can participate in Public Safety Education sessions.  

Did You Know?

Wake Tech Community College is a multi-campus higher education institution with over 69,000 students. This makes WTCC one of the most prominent community colleges in the United States and the biggest in North Carolina. 


Eastern Florida State College

Eastern Florida State College

Online Crime Scene Technician Certificate

Eastern Florida State College is a SACSCOC-accredited institution offering a certification program in Crime Scene Technician. The certificate program is made to get students ready for entry-level jobs in criminalistics.

  • The program requires students to complete 28 credit hours that build on their interests in working in the crime scene investigation field. 
  • Students are required to attend on-campus classes. 
  • Students undergo a series of rigorous coursework that will help them earn their future undergraduate and graduate degrees in crime scene technician and other related fields. 
  • American Criminal Justice, Advanced Crime Scene Technology, Latent Fingerprint Development, Fingerprint Classification, and Courtroom Presentation of Evidence are some of the majors in the program. 

What Makes This Program Unique:

This hybrid Crime Scene Technician Certificate offers various financial aid opportunities, especially for students interested in using the credit hours toward an AS degree. 

Did You Know?

The courses offered in this certificate program are part of the school’s Crime Scene Technology AS degree program. 

Candidates must possess strong reading comprehension, critical thinking, and oral and written communication skills. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate their keyboard and computer skills before gaining admission.


Genesee Community College

Genesee Community College

Online Criminal Justice Certificate

Genesee Community College, accredited by the MSCHE-Middle States Commission on Higher Education, offers a 100% online Criminal Justice Certificate program. This certificate program is best for students who want to gain a general understanding of the criminal justice system while gaining knowledge about the crime scene investigation process.

  • This online criminal justice certificate is one of the most demanding online programs, requiring students to complete 30 credit hours. 
  • This program can be completed in one year. 
  • This certificate program prepares students for future undergraduate degrees in criminal justice and closely-related fields. 

What Makes This Program Unique:

GCC aims to help its students enroll in a bachelor’s and master’s in criminal justice or crime scene investigation program. GCC has several transfer agreements with over ten four-year colleges and universities, including SUNY Colleges and Niagara University. 

Did You Know?

The AS and AA programs at GCC were created as a part of the SUNY seamless transfer initiative. This initiative gives students more ways to affordable learning. Students complete the first two years of a bachelor’s degree as a freshman and a sophomore at GCC, then transfer smoothly to a SUNY four-year institution to complete their bachelor’s degree.


John Jay College

John Jay College

Online Advanced Certificate in Criminal Investigation

The MSCHE-accredited John Jay College offers an online Advanced Certificate in Criminal Investigation explicitly designed for bachelor’s degree holders. This interdisciplinary certificate program has courses from the JJC’s Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program. 

  • Students are trained to develop an awareness of the Constitution applicable to criminal investigations, how to efficiently apply evidence to case studies, and have keen skills in analyzing various crime scenes. 
  • The program requires students to complete 12 credit hours. 
  • Financial aid opportunities are available. 

What Makes This Program Unique:

Because this is a post-baccalaureate certificate program, students should expect more rigorous coursework. This is one of the best certificate programs for students seeking a mid-level position in a law enforcement agency and homeland security. This program will also favor students who want to participate in field research.

Did You Know?

Students can pursue the certificate program while completing JJC’s master’s in criminal investigation program. 


Boston University

Boston University

Online Criminal Justice Graduate Certificate

Boston University is one of the country’s esteemed institutions accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. BU offers an online Criminal Justice Graduate Certificate focusing on courses students will encounter in a master’s degree program. 

  • This graduate certificate equips students with the necessary skills and knowledge to administer and evaluate criminal justice policies and programs.
  • Students must complete 16 credit hours in 8-12 months. 
  • Students will explore several topics, including policing, the legal system, and corrections, through an engaging online classroom taught by leading experts in criminal justice. 
  • The program includes courses that can help with crime scene investigations, such as Forensic Behavior Analysis.

What Makes This Program Unique:

On top of offering an experienced faculty, online students can network with a global community of criminal justice professionals in the online classroom.

Did You Know?

Boston University is a reputable top-ranking institution that is best known for its Master in Criminal Justice programs.


Stevenson University

Stevenson University - Online

Online Graduate Certificate in Crime Scene Investigation

Stevenson University is an MSCHE-accredited institution that offers various online certificate programs, including an online Graduate Certificate in Crime Scene Investigation. This certification is best for students planning to enroll in a master’s degree program in the future. 

  • The certificate program is composed of 18 credits, which include Survey of Forensic Science, Crime Scene Photography, Safety/Quality Control/Quality Assurance, Pattern Analysis, Physical Evidence at Crime Scenes, and Crime Scene Investigation courses. 
  • Students will boost their skills in documenting, collecting, preserving, and analyzing evidence. 
  • Students will learn how to investigate forensic evidence and submit reports of their findings in an ethical manner.

What Makes This Program Unique:

Stevenson’s online graduate certificate has many benefits. Credit earned is 100% transferable to the master’s degree in crime scene investigation program. Additionally, students will have convenient online sessions to help them complete the program while working full-time. There are also various financial aid alternatives to make the program accessible and inexpensive. 

Did You Know?

In addition to the crime scene investigation certificate, Stevenson offers valuable certificates in Digital Forensics, Forensic Accounting, and Forensic Investigation.


South College

South College

Online Certificate in Investigation and Security

South College, accredited by the SACSCOC, offers a Certificate in Investigation and Security designed to be completed entirely online with guidance from exceptional faculty. This certificate program accepts students with various educational and professional experiences. 

  • The program uses interactive educational tools and offers rigorous coursework that promotes teamwork and critical thinking.
  • Students can complete the program in 12 months. 
  • Students will obtain the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to ensure physical security, prevent the loss or damage of tangible assets, stop or identify cybercrime, and carry out legal investigations. 
  • The certificate program covers several topics, including the legal and practical ramifications of conducting investigations, the practical logistics of surveillance, and the collection of physical and digital evidence.

What Makes This Program Unique:

The Certificate in Investigation and Security program at South College is affordable for anyone looking to advance their expertise in private security, investigation, and asset protection.

Did You Know?

Students who complete the certificate program can use the credit hours toward associate, bachelor, and master degrees. 


Sta. Fe Community College

Sta. Fe Community College

Hybrid Criminal Investigation Certificate

Accredited by the HLC, Sta. Fe Community College offers a Criminal Investigation Certificate that requires students to complete online and on-campus coursework. This program aims to help students obtain employment as professional investigators. 

  • This is an 18-credit certification program that allows students to tailor their degrees based on their current needs and future goals.
  • The program will prepare you for an exciting career in the sector, from combating cybercrime to command-level law enforcement supervision.
  • Students will be introduced to forensic science, criminal law and procedure, federal law enforcement, criminal justice, and criminal investigations. 
  • Students can forward the certificate’s credits towards SFCC’s associate degree, which dives into research topics in community prisons, parole, and police procedure and patrol.

What Makes This Program Unique:

This certificate program has one of the most extensive course options. Students can choose four of the program’s twelve major courses and two of the seven related requirements. The program aims to help students identify offenders, solve fraud and computer-related crimes, or help with missing person situations. It will also help students work in the judicial system or other closely related jobs.

Did You Know?

SFCC is one of the best community colleges for military-affiliated students and veterans.

Benefits of Earning Certification in Crime Scene Technician/Investigation

Test The Waters

Some of the certificate programs above are tailored for students entering with a high school diploma. Those programs give a chance to check out college-level work. A certificate is helpful to see if a full degree program suits you and may count toward degree requirements if you decide to apply later. Most certificate programs encourage you to enroll for the certificate and stay for the degree.

Boost Job Opportunities

Earning a certification is a wise way to stand out and prove your expertise in retrieving, recognizing, analyzing, and preserving data from the crime scene. A crime scene technician/investigation certificate will help you boost your skills in explaining to non-expert audiences how you came up with your conclusions about the crime scene. Certification will help you apply for jobs in police departments and other government agencies related to the criminal justice system and public safety.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a Crime Scene Technician and a Crime Scene Investigator?

Technicians and detectives at crime scenes have different responsibilities. Crime scene investigators correctly identify, record, gather, and bag evidence. On the other hand, crime scene technicians use the information collected by detectives and run studies to learn more about how illegal behavior took place. 

How much do Crime Scene Technicians make?

Crime scene or forensic science technicians have a median annual salary of $61,930. You must obtain at least a bachelor’s degree in crime scene technician or investigation to earn more. 

Are online certificate programs better than traditional on-campus ones?

There’s no saying which one is better. It all boils down to your needs. 

Online certification is best for people who have other obligations and want more flexibility in learning. On the other hand, on-campus certification programs are best for students who prefer to learn face-to-face and have active peer engagement. You can enroll in hybrid learning if you want a mix of both. 

When pursuing an online certificate, the most important thing is to ensure that the school is accredited, so employers and other schools acknowledge your certification. 

Summary Points

  • Online Crime Scene Technician Certificates provide overviews and foundational knowledge of the US criminal justice system and investigation methods.
  • These certificate programs sharpen students’ skills in gathering facts and proof necessary for felony convictions.
  • With an Online Crime Scene Technician certificate, students can decide whether or not they should pursue next-level degree programs.

Additional Info: